Lately my life, like many of yours, has been consistently diverse and problematic. I learned yesterday that a pesky upper back issue requires surgery, and soon. Persistent pain indicated something was not right.
Well geese! Surgery? I will miss out on fishing after surgery. I thought I better get in a little fishing while I could. Silvers, late Summer Steelhead and a few Chinook were pushing up the river. Out I went. I would don my waders and try the two hander. I hadn’t had any chance to use it since last Winter.
When I put on my waders and packed away the needed tools and prepared the rod, I felt pretty relaxed. I walked to the river’s edge and felt energized and care free. I had very nice conversations with some fellow fly fishers and lit my briar. What an afternoon…yes, indeed.
There was a hint above: my spey rod hand not been used since last Winter. The Skagit line and 15′ cheater were still on the reel. I gave no consideration to the balancing of the line to the water’s depth etc. I stood out there attempting to get the hang of it all and frankly I sucked. I did not have the proper line on…where was that Scandi…oh, back up at the truck. Too impatient to re-rig or study in advance and re-rig.
I could not get the proper movements down and soon felt this odd sensation in my upper back. Next lesson: passion for fishing…the obsessive drive once on or near the water is a force we praise and cherish. But, sometimes common sense suffers. What a bozo! I had just, this day, received word from the Ortho Surgeon about the need for surgery….he explained why. Definitive…no nonsense advice to ‘take it easy’.
Nope…hear I am on the river needing to wet a line because I could foresee it being a cold day in hell…or December before I fish again. And, by then I will be cold, further out of shape and struggling….yes better to get out there now!
Soon the pain intruded each time I lifted the rod to raise the line and recast. Eventually, I was making a sound like a tennis player who yells each time they hit the ball. I looked about to see if anyone was looking at me. I think they were if only for the crap casting.
Eventually, I did the unthinkable. I decided to leave the water at the prime time for the salmon bite. My gut wrenched. My brain quaked. My damn spine was ready to explode. I considered getting the single hander rigged and slinging some egg pattern beneath a strike indicator. Hello!!!
All those considerations went by the wayside as I felt nausea and broke out into a cold sweat. I hiked up the embankment and made it back to my truck. It took all I had to break down the rod. I put it in back with out putting it into its case. I struggled to get into my truck. I didn’t take off the waders. I knew I couldn’t. It was a long drive home. Terrible pain. My guardian angel guided me to safety this evening.
So, as obvious as it appears: balance your gear to the waters at hand. Be prepared. And, recognize fishing’s OCD vs. Common Sense (Risk Avoidance) Dynamic. I am writing this today, slightly medicated….I hope it makes sense.