January, new year and a new you. Theres no getting away from the fitness drive you are seeing everywhere. Offers for gyms, healthy eating and a new wave of keen fitness enthusiasts, it’s good to see. If you have known me longer than this new look website you will know that I wasn’t always in the best of shape for active salmon fishing, in fact I don’t think any shape could quite describe it.
Sometimes you have to address the elephant in the room, your fitness. Wearing the XXL King waders, trying to clamber over stiles and walk any length of river really isn’t ideal. Even though the waders might have kept you dry from the water getting in, you were often soaked from the inside out with sweat, not ideal at all if your fishing involves a bit of a trek. Then when you actually get to the pool, you are out of breath and can’t even focus on the fishing. I used to play the “ I didn’t have time” card frequently, trying to make the excuse I didn’t have the time to look after myself, what do you do? Make the time! and it dosnt’t have to be much to start having a benefit on your fishing. Remember that campaign that was all over tv a few years ago telling us all to go walking, its really as simple as that!
Fishing is a great form of exercise in itself, its surprising the amount of steps you take during your day at the river, but its even easier when you are fit for it. I spoke in a blog a few weeks ago about fishing the pools the other anglers didn’t want to fish, these are the kind of places I look for now, usually they are a few hundred yards further than most anglers want to go but the effort is often met with reward. Two seasons ago I was rewarded with my best spring salmon fishing moment yet, what produced the moment? Walking to the very bottom of the beat. Had I still been in the XXXL wading jacket I can tell you now I wouldn’t have went there, but a new lifestyle and size Large waders meant I could comfortably fish the pools that hadn’t been fished, six spring salmon later I walked back to meet up with the other anglers, they had nothing, the only difference that day was putting in those extra few thousand steps, being fit for it, it meant when I got to the pool I could really focus on the fishing.
I think we are spoilt in Ireland with the rivers we have, an angler is able to cover large stretches of water without being confined to just a few pools. My absolute favourite form of fishing is starting at the top and working down several miles of water, being able to cover the water in comfort without being a sweaty mess is a pleasure, the ability to clamber along rock ledges, around trees and down steep banks gives me access to pools that rarely see a fly. The fishing season is not far away and in truth it doesn't take much to get ready for it, a few brisk walks, add in a few hills and you will be surprised the difference it makes to your first day of the season, just being more comfortable when you arrive to each pool is worth the effort.
Its when you finish your days fishing on the likes of the Upper river Finn, you look up and realise you have to walk up the steep fields you really appreciate your new fishness regime.
Its fishness, not fitness !