Sunday, 30 March 2014

Spinning " The Monkey on your Back / Shoulder ".

Having fished for most of my life one gets used to knocks and falls while fishing, be it either falling down a bank or in a slippery river bed due to lack of traction we all get the odd knock or injury but casting a spinning rod or fly rod can cause other issues. Repeative strain injury comes from constantly casting and putting stress on ones shoulder muscles ( deltoids ) and also fishing in very cold weather or in my case pushing the distance out by hammering my fishing rod to achieve maximum distance. In tennis they have tennis elbow and in fishing we have anglers shoulder, to see if you have this issue all you have to do is raise your casting hand straight up in the air and if you get a slight pull in the shoulder then you have the starting signs of anglers shoulder. The more predominant signs are not being able to put ones casting hand as far up behind ones back as ones non casting hand or in bad cases having shoulder pain after an hour or so of fishing. There are three main areas that one can suffer pain from, one is the front deltoid the second is the side deltoid and the third is the area in your upper back between or around  the shoulder blade. This injury in my estimation was caused the previous season and over the winter months has shortened the range of muscle movement of the casting arm and as we all start fishing in the cold weather we are only irritating an already shortened muscle which tears and thus creating more shortening and damage. If you think of it as an angler i spend all day casting and in my case really pushing my rod to its limit so it is similar to an athlete throwing a javelin but in my case about 1,200 throws a day, i'd like to see the state of the athlete that can throw that many javelins.

To combat this issue one has to warm up ones shoulder muscles prior to fishing similar to any athlete before a race etc., but the best advice is that when one finishes fishing at the end of the season one should visit a massage therapist or physiotherapist and get one or two good rub down sessions to get rid of the knots or scar tissue that has built up over the fishing season and thus stopping the injury from developing any further. Having many years of weight training and martial arts under my belt i have a few exercises that strenghten and stretch the shoulder muscles but with using both fast and slow twitch muscle fibres while casting to the extreme one still needs a good manipulation session by a physiotherapist on those muscles to avoid further damage and the worst thing is i'm not getting any younger so injuries like those take longer to heal and my philosophy of life is prevention is a lot better and cheaper than cure.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Salmon Fishing Ireland 2014. " Off the Mark ".

                       My First Spring Salmon of the 2014 Salmon Season.

Fishing from beat 1 to beat 4 with my 6wt switch fly rod i covered every lie but failed to see or meet any salmon. The water was very low but clear so it was easy to see every rock in all the pools on the way down to beat 4 and i must admit that they were all vacant, no fish at home. Heading back up to beat 1 i heard the siren so i knew that heavy water was on the way, back to spinning. The dam opened three sills which  generate a height load of about 3ft over normal levels, ideal for both fly or spinner. Having fly fished all morning i changed over to my spinning outfit and put on a size 3 black and silver flying c because water levels weren,t high enough to use a size 4 and using the larger spinner would only mean getting constantly stuck on the bottom.

The salmon hit the spinner and started rolling and spinning in the water so i knew from the start that something was wrong and at one stage thought that i had hooked a very good pike but then the fish erupted into the air and then i knew that we were off to the races. The fish tried to wrap itself around several large rocks but with the non stretch quality of braid i was able to turn the salmon away from the rocks and not allow it to get back down into the deep water. I always play my salmon out on top of the water as it tires them out faster and allows me to return them in good condition but this salmon fought differently and even at one stage i thought that it would fall off, looking back i think that it was just nerves at possibly losing my first fish of the 2014 season. On landing the salmon i noticed that the hooks were stuck in both the upper and lower jaw and in my experience that makes the salmon go wild and fight very eratically. I took the salmon because of the damage to its mouth and luckily it was a hatchery fish weighing about 15lbs with fresh sea lice. Normally i return the first salmon but the damage done to the fish would not have allowed it to survive if i had released it back into the river. Well i'm  off to a good start and hopefully a good 2014 season. Best thing about fishing in cold wet weather is staying dry and having good gear keeps one dry and warm, having issues with other waders last year i am enjoying fishing this season in my new Sonik SK4 waders that i bought from Ned at Ardaire Springs Fishery, they are so comfortable that you'd hardly know that you had them on.