In a nutshell, yes…at least some are athletes. One of the beauties of fishing is that there are many ways to undertake the pursuit of fish. For some, relaxing lakeside while drowning worms and basking in the sun is what it’s all about. For them to be called athletes, at least as it pertains to their fishing, would be a stretch at best. But there is another type of angler that, without a doubt, IS an athlete…the hardcore basser. They may not all fit the physical description of a typical athlete, but their on-the-water physical prowess certainly does.

I’m in the late stages of healing an elbow…my casting elbow to be exact. I injured it on a bass fishing trip to Texas, and the injury is consistent with “tennis elbow”…only I added a side order of “bone spur” just to be sure. Six weeks…no fishing. X-rays, rehab, ice, support…it all sounds like fun, right? Well, no…and it would have been easy to prevent. You see, like any athletic endeavor, if you haven’t been doing it for a while, a little warm up would be good. Perhaps some stretching, too. Geez, a sure ’nuff workout routine would have really helped. But no…I sat around all winter with a two foot pole, staring down a six inch hole, and basically doing no “real” fishing at all. Then I hopped a plane to Texas, grabbed my heaviest rod/reel/line, and proceeded to make a gillion powerful casts the first day out in three months. Brilliant…but now I know better. In fact, I’ve had plenty of time to think about it, and how to avoid this mess again.

Bottom line is this; a basser makes a ridiculous number of casts using fairly stiff and long fishing rods on any given day, and often days on end. Picture swinging a tennis racket, baseball bat, or golf club continuously, several times per minute, for 10 hours straight…yep, that’s bass fishing…only we do it balancing in a boat.

So, like all good athletes, I’ll now take 15-20 minutes to stretch and warm up my muscles before hitting the water. I’ll ease into the day, not jump in with both feet. And I already eat well, but I’ll also add an exercise routine to next winter’s calendar. It will be designed to stretch and tone muscles and keep joints working smoothly over the down time. All in all, I bet it will make me a better angler, but more importantly, I’m hoping to prevent further injury.

Sure not all anglers are athletic, but I bet those that are catch more fish! CL