More Minnesotans Hooked On Fishing Amid Pandemic
Local bait shops believe the global pandemic has sparked a love for fishing among Minnesotans. Kuzeng Lee has been fishing since sunrise on Wednesday. It’s the first time the Brooklyn Park resident has been out on the water this year.
“We’re just doing a little catfishing,” Lee explained. “I like the action of it, once you catch it, you don’t know what’s in there, it’s a surprise element for me.”
In walking distance, you can see Henry DeFoe trying out the sport.
“There’s nothing better to do. I fished once or twice as a kid but never really got into it,” DeFoe said.
Now, DeFoe said fishing is his go-to hobby.
Joel Betker, manager at JR’s Tackle and Bait shop in Brooklyn Park, said this season he’s seen a lot of customers with the same story as DeFoe.
“Tons of new faces,” he said. “We’ve seen a huge increase in our bait and terminal tackle traffic right? Things like bobbers, sinkers, hooks and baits.”
Everyday Betker needs to restock the shelves because new customers are in high demand.
“The first day of shutdown, I was here by myself and the phone rang for bait, ‘hey can I get some bait?’ You know? So, I think everybody was ready to go,” Betker said.
According to the DNR, fishing licenses are up 48 percent statewide. Betker believes the pandemic renewed a sense of family connection.
“I think being cooped up right? And the scare or whatever puts family back to perspective,” Betker explained.
Lee agreed, as he brought his wife and two kids with him to enjoy the outdoors.
“You can’t go anywhere else, might as well come and enjoy the sun,” said Lee.
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