GOLDSBORO, Pa. — The Susquehanna River is one of the great smallmouth bass fisheries in the United States and now with guided fishing tours operating, local operators are looking to catch what was lost due to the coronavirus.
"Great relief to be able to get back out," says Dave Shindler, owner of JST Fishing Guide Service on the Susquehanna River. His business took a hit with Pennsylvania’s stay at home order.
“It definitely hurts. It is a big strain on everybody's bottom line. That April - May, into June is our busiest time of the year and we lost basically half of that."
Under the states’ limited reopening May 1st businesses must follow updated federal guidelines so that “recreational industries can resume activity.” For fishing guides that means two people plus a guide per boat tour. A tight bag limit for many operators according to Shindler.
“If they can only take two that is going to impact them. Our costs are fixed what we do for a trip, if you have two buddies or three or four on bigger boat trips they split those expenses. Now if two have to pay for four they probably are not going to come (out).”
Another snag in making up for losses. Most tour bookings take place way in advance and had to be cut loose.
“We had no idea when we were going to open again so we basically put those off. Some of them said no I am not coming back, or I will reschedule for next year. Some of them said whenever we can get back in we will do it."
“ But we won’t be able to make it up obviously because you can’t make up a month."
Still during this time Shindler finds at least one positive, more time on water with friends and families.
“As a guide you don’ t have a chance to your buddies or your kids out often. When the weather is decent and you have an opportunity, it is a guided trip."