Fishing League Worldwide still planning tournament in Massena later this year
Friday, May 22, 2020 - 9:28 am

BY ANDY GARDNER
North Country This Week

MASSENA -- Fishing League Worldwide are trying to hold their tournament in Massena later this year, adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, over the summer.

Don Meissner, with whom the town contracts to promote local fisheries, filled in the Town Council during their Wednesday, May 20 meeting held online via Facebook Live.

“The FLW is very, very aware of what New York state is doing and they’re willing to compromise, to adapt, to do anything we need to do to ensure safety comes first,” Meissner told the board.

The tournaments are classified as entertainment under the state’s four-phase reopening plan, which falls into the last phase.

“If those phases fall in line, then our first tournament … will be July 9-11 and phase four is due to begin July 1,” Meissner said. His estimate is based on each phase of reopening the North Country going off without a hitch every two weeks.

Councilor Bob Elsner said local health authorities will be in on the decision to hold or not hold it.

“I think Public Health will be involved. Right now, the design and what they’re looking at is to allow viewing online, or through that mechanism. They’re not looking at having any onshore activities,” he said, adding that anglers would weigh their catches on the water. Spectators would watch online via a live stream.

In addition to the tournament, Meissner said the FLW wants to hold a “kids fishing school” in Massena during their championship the last week of August.

“We’re trying to cover all the bases that will make us adaptive to the policies of New York state … no more than 10 kids in any one group with one instructor, all distanced with the social distancing parameters apart,” he said.

Meissner said the town may be able to harness the after-effects of the pandemic as a means to attract tourists to the area as a “retreat destination” once it is safe for people to travel freely.

“Most imp thing of all … there are articles coming up around the country about the sensation of fishing. It’s almost become obsessive in so many places. [People are] turning to fishing as a way to release so much,” he said. “We need to do this with the understanding that we’re building a foundation for things that are happening in the future.”

“This is what we want to be, the premier fishing tourism destination. Hopefully we can work around the restrictions and have a great summer,” Town Supervisor Steve O’Shaughnessy said.

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