Fishing industry seeing signs of recovery after COVID-19 closures

Posted at 5:49 PM, Jun 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-22 17:48:09-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The COVID-19 pandemic left few spared when it first hit the Coastal Bend: People lost their jobs and businesses shut down.

Capt. Mitchell Dean's fishing company, Laguna Madre Anglers, was not spared either.

"I had a bunch of bookings that were for people coming down through different months," Dean said. "Pretty much, simultaneously, they all canceled."

Dean has been a guide in the Coastal Bend for six years. When the novel coronavirus pandemic hit, it threatened his income, as well as many other guides' in the area.

"For some people, this their sole means of income," he said. "I use it for my income, as well, but I'm retired."

The reopening of the Texas economy has brought some life back to the tourism industry here in the Coastal Bend.

Dean and his fishing peers believe they have an opportunity to take charge in showcasing what the area has to offer, and getting tourists to get the economy up-and-running again.

"The whole draw of the Coastal Bend is about having this great body of water to go fishing on," he said. "It is a tremendous asset."

Another way people help stimulate the economy is when they buy a fishing license. Those can be bought at gas stations in the area and they cost about $11 for a one-day pass.

Along with allowing people to get back to work and helping the tourism industry thrive, being out on the water for a day of fishing can bring plenty of people peace of mind -- especially after being at home day after day.

"It is a huge stress relief," Dean said. "I mean, you are out on the water, it is peaceful, it is calm, and then you start catching fish and you forget all about that anxiety."

Dean is hoping those dark days of canceled bookings and empty afternoons are behind him. He said things already are starting to look up.

"It's been really good," he said. "My phone has been ringing constantly; all the time."

For those looking to get out on the water and catch some fish with Dean, you can reach him at (36`1) 549-7381.