The Armchair Athlete
On some of my fishing trips, I resemble more of an “armchair” athlete. You know, we are crappie or bass fishing from the boat, with some nice padded seats and cooler full of drinks and a bag of Cheetos never out of arms reach. This in fun times and not demanding angling.
But what about the trip that is more demanding of your focus, time and energy? How about multi-day excursions on a river or the flats with the elements tugging at you and rests or breaks are few and far between? I have been on many of these demanding trips and actually seek them out. And have learned lessons the hard way.
One such trip was a remote coastal steelhead river. I went solo and floated a stretch in my pontoon boat without getting a shuttle to move my truck (very remote). I figured I could run back to the truck after my day of fishing. So I threw in my tennis shoes and fished my way down about 6 miles. After fishing 10 hours that day in strong currents casting my spey rod and catching a couple fish, I was ready for my run back to the truck. One hour later, I arrived at the truck, drenched, dizzy and dead legged. After an hour drive to a local hotel, I could barely walk into the lobby to check in. This was a good wake-up call.
Due to that and other experiences too embarrassing to share, I spend more time in preparation for my trips. I realized that as I age, my mind still thinks I’m in my 20’s but my body says different. You know, our bodies get used to what we demand of them. And if we don’t put time into the most important piece of equipment we own (our bodies) they won’t be up to the task. I send clients to amazing destinations to catch fish and in that process I inquire about their physical condition to make sure the trip demands match up with their abilities. But regardless of this, we all should consider the time and money we will spend on a trip and in our preparations, make sure we are in shape for the adventure.
I work out year-round, because I hate starting over… it is too sore. But if you are not working out or exercising, it is easy to start. Just get moving, take walks, get in the pool, and do some light weights. Visit with a trainer/physician or take some exercise classes. The key is to start slow, don’t over-do it, and as your body adjusts you can increase your routine. Remember, your body gets used to what you demand of it. In no time, you will feel more energy and have the ability to maximize your next fishing trip. You may even lose a few pounds and feel more energy for everyday life tasks.
So, are anglers athletes?
I think so! We deal with weather, endure the rivers, put in long hours searching for that moment when we connect with fish. So, if you see a guy running in the dark on a remote logging road, give him a ride, it could be me.