Winter Maintenance

Winter Maintenance
Winter Maintenance
Wellthis is a topic that on the surface looks like a great rod and reelstorage opportunity. It is vital to care for our gear and make sureit's ready when we get it out come spring time. Up here in AthabascaAlberta, we can forget about fishing for November, December, andsometimes into January because the ice is just not safe enough toventure out. This year we have had a warm streak that has the iceseason off until at least mid January. So I at least have plenty oftime to prepare my gear and clean not only my fishing gear but alsomy hunting rifles. As long as I have the gun oil out I might as welldo everything, and that I did. While doing all of that I had time tothink about the season we just had, and my wonderful wife winning her4th Field team title and sweeping all the honors, she is a real MVPfor JFL. So as I was cleaning and thinking and at the same timemaking sure not to miss my shoulder rehab appointment it dawned on methat the real equipment we need to get in order is our very ownbodies. Yep us the angler, is there a more important piece ofequipment we have than our very own selves? Of course not!
Whenwe looked at Laura's posture here she is in good position andeverything low, close and in front and her, rod tip up, yet hershoulders are square and in position to fight a fish.

It'sno secret I got banged up this season, and suffered some very soreoutings, and as fun as fishing is a sore joint or muscle can make itvery uncomfortable. The end of my season was filled with ups anddown's and for a while we thought Imight not get to fish again until the middle of next year if I waslucky. I did not care for my body the way I should have and it got mewith a shoulder injury that nearly cost me a season of fishing.Believe me the idea of not fishing was such a bitter thing for a guylike me who has made his life out of fishing. But after going toEdmonton and actually finding a doctor who also loves to fish, thesun is shining on 2012 for ol #69. So the better part of winter willbe spent working my body into shape, and preparing for spring fishing, thatis my goal. I plan on being out there for the MLWT and not just beingthere but winning.
Hereagain Laura in good position.

Sowith this blog I would like to encourage you all who read this tomake sure to care for your body!! Make sure to care for the mostimportant equipment we have with us at all times. Because I can tellyou when something happens it will be hard to fix and time consuming.Take care of your joints in your shoulders and elbow, keep your kneesin shape and your ankles. A sprained ankle can be a very tough thingto come back from. As well a shoulder injury can result in surgeryand months and months of rehab. Painful rehab, the kind where youhave to have a towel in your mouth to grit your teeth and also makethe odd swear word a little softer. Believe me you don't want to gothrough it, and I know some of you are younger. I am in my early 40'sand I got hit hard, never thought It could happen, well, yes it canand it can FAST. I also know some of you are out like me almost everyday doing something fishing related. It's Gal's also and guy's likeus who are very at risk of developing something that can get youdown. Arthritis and other joint related things can creep into ourlives if we don't care for ourselves.Therepetitive action of fishing and presenting lures, the repetitivefighting of fish and other factors can be very hard on our bodieswithout us knowing it right away. You can still very easily feelgreat but have done some damage. I have to from now on do a routineof exorcize to loosen up my muscles and get my joints moving. I haveto carry this on into winter, it's a daily routine for me now. Ithas changed my life quite a bit, and takes some getting used to andthe mental awareness that it has to be done. With a little careeveryday you can avoid most injuries and keep your most vital part ofyour fishing equipment in prime shape for fishing season every year.
Herethe doctor noticed I have the reel out to far in front of my bodywhich creates the lean I have going on here. As well my hand is noton the cork in the proper place. I have a habit of holding the rodwith the reel handle up creating stress in the elbow and on the veryjoint I injured in my shoulder. How I developed this habit is amystery to me but I did this and it's part of what lead to my injury.My body is totally out of position to handle a fish right now. In thedoctor office I had the bottom half of a St Croix rod like the one Iuse most of the time. When we positioned myhands and body like this photo I could feel all the areas of stressand the doctor marked them all out. What an eye opener!
Nowhere because I was not positioned properly to tackle a fish like yousee in the other photo. Here is a prime example I am out of positionand destroying my shoulder. It was on this exact fish I aggravatedthe shoulder to the point I had to make my first visit to the doctor.First, now I have a backward lean happening, the reel is now to high.My elbow is out to the side and all the pressure set to hit myshoulder, which it did. When the fish took off for the bottom by theboat it pulled hard and my shoulder could not handle the pressure andI got injured here. This was the action that got me, and it'sinteresting that Laura was shooting photos here and caught this partof a disastrous yet fun day of catching Pike in the wood cover. Thishappened because I did this repeatedly over and over fish after fish,and here it caught up to me, on one fish, on one day, boom done! Youmight remember these photos from the Pike in Wood cover blog I did awhile back.

Weare all of us different in many ways, different shapes and sizes andso on. So the routine that works for me might not be right for you,for me it's a lot of upper body work. For others I have met in thelast couple of months they have lower body work to do. So I am notgoing to post a plan on here but. I do want you to empower yourselfto think about this topic. To come up with an exorcize plan that bestfits your needs and body type, ask your doctor and or check theinternet for ideas on how to keep yourself in shape for our sport offishing. In some cases the doctor will want to look at some of yourphotos of you in action to see if there is something to look at asfar as your mechanics go. I know my doctor found several things forme to work on. With the lower half of a rod we practice hook sets andfights in the new frame set out for me to work within. I have to saywith practice this is going to work for me and I am looking forwardto on the water work. As a result I am willing to bet it makes me abetter angler, so the will to try and develop better skills to workwith my own body  has become a passion for me personally. And plenty ofinspiration from my wife Laura and my bud Willis will keep me goingfull tilt.

Take Care of Yourself, like you take care of your other gear, your body must be on top of the list!

AnywayI want to wish you all a great Holiday season, filled with family andfriends and great memories. As well a wish for your success in 2012.  Remember as an angler we need to care for all of ourequipment and that includes us as individuals. I want to wish you allAmbassadors, WFN, and all anglers worldwide the very best in thecoming year 2012.

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