What’s an avid sportsperson to do when social distancing has shut down all sorts of sports to help prevent further spread of COVID-19?


“You can always go to work with a worm and a cane pole,” New Bern resident Jerry Ashley said.


In other words, people can still get their sports fix in by fishing.


Taking the bait and tackle to the water for some relaxing reel time is a “great option” for sports fans, said Matt Littleton of Casper’s Marina in Swansboro.


He added that while people still should practice social distancing amongst strangers, fishing is a good way for family to spend time with each other instead of being bogged down inside their homes.


Littleton said fisherman can practice social distancing by limiting the number of people on the boat, something he said he does by limiting trips to two people.


“It’s something you can do without being bear a bunch of people,” Littleton said. “There are so many limited options, sports-wise now, but fishing is something that you can do. Even boating in general. This is something you can do for fun.”


And something to do to make memories during what is otherwise a tough time for many people these days.


“Fishing is a past-time sport,” said Chris Petersen of Swansboro. “It’s relaxing, it gives you a little bit of freedom, just throwing the line in the water and enjoying nature, and it gives you a memory. This is something my kids will look back on, going fishing with their dad.”


Littleton said that Casper’s Marina is still taking local clients out for fishing, but that they are not taking anyone out of town out to the water.


But people don’t have to go the charter way to get a good fish in, he added.


“Anywhere that has a public park that allows fishing,” said Littleton, who added that he’s noticed more people fishing these days. “Grab the family and have a good time. Just get out there. It’s all about the comradery with friends and family.”


The coronavirus pandemic certainly hasn’t stopped Ashley from putting his line in the water.


“Old fishermen never die. They just fade away,” he said. “I have a friend who I fish with. We don’t hug each other, but we still go together. You can still go out and still keep your social distancing and enjoy the outdoors. It’s much better than sitting in your living room.”


Chris Miller can be contacted via email at chris.miller@jdnews.com or by calling 910-219-8472. Follow him on twitter @jdnsports.