Over the last few years my body has been telling me I'm pushing it too hard. You may or may not have noticed I have had several breaks in my filming and writing. I'm now in my fifties and as much as I have tried to ignore it, my body has been telling me to ease off.
I guess it happens to us all. The inevitable ageing and the incessant march of time takes its toll. Try as we might, we inevitably have to adapt. I will admit that I have not dealt with this very well. I simply hate not being able to go fishing, as and when I want. I've tried to plough on through and ignore it, but to no avail. It's not just a physical challenge but a mental one to boot.
So what are the challenges I have faced? Well without boring you too much with my medical history, my joints are not what they used to be. I can no longer take them for granted and go rock hopping several times a week. Wether it be a dodgy back, popping knees or tendon issues in my arms, I have taken my body for granted for far too long. I suspect if I could look back and tell my younger self to take things a bit easier, I would have still done exactly the same. Oh what would I give to once again have the carefree, exuberance of youth.
The physical problems are certainly a major factor as we get older but are nothing compared to the mental. My over large ego just would not accept it and to a degree it still will not. Who said getting older makes you wiser? I think I have just become more stubborn. I just couldn't accept that I needed to think about the consequences of over doing it. Im only in my fifties I kept telling myself. My mind wouldn't accept what my body was telling me. I will always have a need to go fishing. You see fishing for me has always been my sanctuary, something that centres me, gives me a purpose, helps put things into perspective, eases my worries and generally improves my mental health. I can so relate to the excellent work being done by "Tackling Minds". Fishing gets my mind buzzing, gives me focus, but at the same time it somehow helps me appreciate even more the other good things I have in my life. Over recent years I have needed it more than ever as life hasn't been kind, but lets not digress. The problem has been reconciling the limitations of my ageing body with my fishing aspirations and non accepting, macho ego. I've always been physically and mentally strong, someone to lean on, always there for others and until recently extremely lucky to have not had cause to lean on them. Oh how this is starting to sound like the wines of an arrogant, self important middle aged man. This is not my intention at all, I just wish to convey how this man has grappled with his own vulnerabilities, whilst having I guess, a mid life crisis. Time and recent events have tempered my youthful arrogance and helped me eventually realise that as I get older I need to do things differently, otherwise my ageing body will not allow me to carry on fishing. They have also made me appreciate my friends and family even more. You know who you are and if it wasn't for your support over these last few years I really do not know how I would have coped.
A recent lure caught Thin Lipped mullet. Taken on my BFS gear.
Well having realised how important fishing is to me I needed to put some sort of plan in place. I am fortunate enough to enjoy all forms of fishing, so I can switch between static and mobile fishing. I still want to be able to repeatably cast lures off the rocks whilst chasing wrasse and bass, so I shall either not go as often or fish shorter sessions when conditions are favourable. No more fishing hour after hour on some ridiculously hard to reach rock mark for one bite in the middle of winter. I shall also fish more with lighter lure outfits, so as not to put too much strain on my shoulders etc. If I have had a few hours lure fishing for pike my next trip might be sat on my derrière waiting it out for a carp, or dead baiting for said pike. Rather than holding a float rod for hours on end chasing mullet, I will sit on my hands and improve my legering skills. Some say the biggest mullet are always caught whilst legering? If I'm not up to fishing on the rocks, I will fish off piers instead. I will Carp fish on the warmer winter days instead of doing gruelling overnighters. I much prefer carp fishing in the winter as the banks are less crowded and the bite time is quite condensed, meaning there is no need to be there all day freezing your tits off. It's all about adapting whilst trying to find a balance between what I am able to do and what I want to do. Surely this is a better approach? Im sure as hell not giving up. At times I am sure I will get this balance wrong. Maybe I will take a break more often to take in whats around me. I might also then grab some cinematic shots and improve the quality of my videos. I may even take a note book to write down an idea or observation, so as I might incorporate them into a future blog. Maybe I will write more about actual fishing rather than winging about not going as much. Do you see the way this is going? This is only possible as I have finally accepted what my ageing body has been telling me. Without this acceptance there is nothing but a downward spiral. Instead I am now feeling positive about fishing and the future. Fishing was becoming a chore, a battle between it and my body, not at all good for my mental health.
I am now fishing again and enjoying my time on the bank. Please don't be stubborn like me and run yourself into the ground, it does you and the people around you no good. Do not take friends and family for granted, you cannot get time with them back. The friends I have made through fishing have helped me immensely of late.Their kind words and actions have helped me hold things together. No man is an island, we all need the support of others.
Now who can do something about this horrible weather we are having. It has really messed my mullet season up.
I hope some of you can relate to this. We all get things wrong from time to time. We all struggle with life.
Cheers The Constant Angler