I start a new and time-hungry job later this month, meaning my angling will be severely curtailed all Spring. I need to face up to little angling this side of the Mayfly other than occasional outings on Sundays. The new job is close to home, so the amount of long distance travel and periods away from home will all but disappear in 2016. This should present opportunities for short evening sessions through the summer and autumn. That’s the plan at any rate.
Some of you may be aware that I have been struggling with arthritis for some time and last summer I reached a very low point with any movement in my ankles leading to excruciating pain. Wading in particular became torture and I despaired of ever being able to fully enjoy my angling again. Faced with this level of debilitation I turned to Google and started to research my self-help options. Many, many hours were spent during September, October and November researching surgery, diet, exercise and myriad other facets of the medical world. I began to perceive a glimmer of hope and decided to make some lifestyle changes which commenced 10 weeks ago with a complete change of diet and some light exercise.
I am not cured, let’s get that out of the way. I still have significant pain in both ankles and many of the joints in my feet. But, the level of pain has reduced and I have gone from being barely able to walk in September to walking 5km every day now. Only muscle wastage (due to lack of use last year) is slowing me down and I can build that up gradually with exercise. So for those fishers who are struggling with similar arthritic issues, here is how I did it. Arthritis pain comes from inflammation of the joints, so if you can reduce the inflammation you reduce the pain. What is it that causes the inflammation? – usually what we eat. By changing my diet I reduced the pain. At first I was sceptical, but within days of starting my new diet the pain began to reduce. Here is what I cut out:
All dairy products, all tea and coffee, all wheat (breads, pasta, breakfast cereal etc), all processed foods, all red meat, all sugar and artificial sweeteners. Quite a list!
I replaced all those bad foods with oily fish, rye, pulses, brown rice, fruit and veg. I use only extra virgin olive oil for cooking. It sounds very draconian and uninspiring but I am loving both the food and the positive effect the new diet is having on me. My weight is down (I’ve lost 24 pounds in ten weeks) and a medical examination just before Christmas showed I was in pretty good shape for my age. So, if like me you are suffering joint pain I would urge you to make some changes in your diet.
I spent an evening sorting through fly lines this week. A lifetime of fly fishing inevitably leads to hoarding of tackle and for me fly lines have become a bewildering and ever expanding cornucopia. My previously stated love of fly reels and the dubious delights of ebay led me to acquire assorted trout and salmon reels over the years, many of them arriving with lines still on the spools. As I normally run on my own lines the ‘old’ ones were taken off and wound on to rolled up newspaper, the intention being to sort them out later. Of course ‘later’ never arrived and the bag of orphaned fly lines began to bulge ominously. I needed a plan of action here. So a few evenings ago I sat down with the bag of lines and sorted through them all.
Some were in more or less perfect condition, others needed cleaned and maybe a few inches trimmed off the ends and the remainder despatched to the shed for use in tying up sweet peas in the garden. I knew the profile/density of some lines so these were easy to deal with. I checked all my fly reels and had to replace a couple of floaters. That was quickly accomplished. Careful examination of other lines gave me a good idea of the sizes but not densities, so these have been set aside for trial before committing to keeping or discarding them. Three lines are a complete mystery and I have no idea what they are, nor how I came to have them in the first place. All three look like salmon lines with different coloured tips. By the end of the evening I had re-spooled all my fly reels, made numerous repairs and alterations and fitted stiff leader butts to all my lines in readiness for the new season.