Essays and Musings

Fish or Cut Bait

There often comes a point in life where one must say, “It’s time to fish or cut bait!” Not being a bait fisherman I long ago cut out the bait, but recently I redecided it’s time to fish.

Things have been a little weird in my life over the last year or two. For nearly 25 years fly fishing has been my life’s obsession. My muse. My balm. I spent hours reading about it, writing about it, thinking about it and actually doing it. And then, in what seems a flash, most of that came to a stop. For no apparent reason, desire left me.

How can a passion end so abruptly? I do not know. All I know is that in the past two years I’ve written almost nothing. I have not read one iota of fishing related things online (blog or otherwise) during this time. I’ve read one book related to fishing (only because it was given to me by a dear friend). I’ve only fished a handful of times. And it wasn’t simply a lack of doing these things, it was a clear avoidance.

A couple of years ago, in the heyday of my fly fishing nirvana, a few of us interested in fly fishing writing started Rise Forms. And then a short time later I crashed. I got to the point where I loathed the idea that something would be in my email related to Rise Forms. I slowly started to skip checking my Rise Forms account for a week or two. Then months at a time.

I have multiple email accounts and I dreaded opening my personal ones for fear that I would see something fishing related. Then, I just stopped opening all my personal accounts and only accessed the one related to work. I completely disabled my email account associated with this blog. I disabled my RSS feed readers because I couldn’t bear the thought of having to see something related to fishing.

Luckily I didn’t curl up and blow away entirely – it seems like a fishing-apoplexy only. I threw myself into my job (I’m a teacher) and spent most of the time I freed up by not fishing with school related stuff. In the summers I’ve thrown myself into yard work (a definite clue as to the madness that consumed me).

I’m not a big, not small, but by no means big either. I’m 6’-1”ish. During this past winter I hit 226 lbs on the scales. I’d been hovering around 220 for a few years. I’d noticed along with the bit of weight gain that I seemed to be a bit sleepy all the time too—I’d want to take a nap shortly after getting home from work each day.

All of these little signs seemed to add up to some depression.

I’m not a New Year’s Resolution kind of guy. I figured they were for sissies. But when January 1, 2012 came rolling around, in my mind I said, “Gee, I really ought to lose some weight.” But it kind of stuck there for a bit without really doing anything. Then one day in early February I swung past a gym about a mile from where I teach. They had memberships for $10 a month, so I figured, what the heck, and signed up. I started going after school for about an hour.

After a couple of weeks I thought, “Gee, I’m not really going to lose much weight by just working out but keeping the same lousy eating patterns.” So I started to count my calories religiously for a couple of weeks and read a bunch of stuff about losing weight. I then cut my caloric intake in half and upped my protein intake and by June 1 I had dropped to 190 lbs and lost 4.5” off my waist.

And I was feeling good! Things were really humping along. And then I was silly and thought I could play a little rugby with the youth group I work with at church. Oops! As I was making a move on the guy with the ball, I planted my right foot. He cut to my left so I pivoted left. There was a “pop-pop” in my right knee and I buckled. I eventually hobbled off the field.

A doctor’s visit and orthopedist’s visit later and they have me convinced that it’s ACL/MCL and meniscus issues. An MRI will sort that out (stinking health insurance has me at a $2000 deductible, so I’m seeing if things will mend on their own).

So I guess what I’m saying is that despite the hobbley leg, I’m feeling pretty good. Am I 100% back? I don’t know. Right now, this very moment, I feel great. Tomorrow? I don’t know. I’ve fished twice in the past week and plan on leaving here in an hour or so to fish some more. Dan and I are leaving for our southwest trout trip in about three weeks. I have some pictures of fish ready to be uploaded. Yeah, I feel good.

We spent this past week talking as a family about improving the talents we have. My wife is a great artist, but she hasn’t painted for years. My daughter loves doing things with photographs, but she ends up spending most of her time Facebooking instead. I like to write but I haven’t done anything about it for at least a year. So we made goals.

My goal was to get a fishing post on my blog about last week’s trip. I was supposed to have it up by yesterday. I figured I’d write this little piece first to explain my absence. Not that I need to explain myself to you, but I really needed to explain myself to me. It’s been cathartic. Isn’t the one of the first steps of AA to admit that you have a problem?

“Hi! My name is Scott, and I’m a recovering non-fisherman.”

I plan to have a post(s?) and pictures by the end of this week on my recent fishing escapades. Especially the amazing day in the deserts along the Utah/Idaho border.

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12 comments for “Fish or Cut Bait”

  1. Sounds like you were burnt out to me– you needed a break. I took a couple of months off blogging (and reading blogs to a degree) when I moved up here to Oregon and it was wonderful.

    Regardless, welcome back. 🙂

    Posted by Brian | June 26, 2012, 9:20 am
    • Definitely burnt out. And over. It’s good to be (mostly) back. We’ll see how long I can keep it up before I declare myself officially “back”. However, thanks for welcoming me back into the ff fold. I hope you’re liking Oregon – beautiful place!

      Posted by Cutthroat Stalker (Scott) | June 26, 2012, 4:47 pm
  2. Welcome back Scott! It’s great have you back in the blogosphere and wetting a line.

    Posted by Bob bruns | June 28, 2012, 10:27 am
  3. Am I glad to see you are back! Been checking every so often and when nothing was posted for so long I was concerned that something serious had happened. Good to hear that you are doing ok.

    Posted by Harry L | July 10, 2012, 10:48 am
  4. Retirement is great, it’s just getting caught up on all the things that I let go that is the issue. Doing some volunteer work with the park dept-just did a teach a kid to fish event today, doing a fly casting event tomorrow, joined the photography club and getting back into that. Started target shooting again-so I am keeping busy. Don’t miss work at all (except for the $$’s)

    Posted by Harry L | July 13, 2012, 7:43 pm
  5. Heya prodigal son! Glad to see you got your mojo back! Looking forward to your CO/NM trip report, that must’ve been a hoot~. Mike

    Posted by Mike | August 3, 2012, 11:29 am
    • Hey Mike! I’m glad you haven’t forgotten me. Just got back in town (another 4 days on the Greys and rafting the Snake). We were rolling through the backwaters of north eastern Arizona when I had the “Doh!” moment and thought, “Shoulda contacted Mike to see if we could hook up somewhere in NM,” but by then it was too late. It might take a week or so to wade through the pics and get caught up to the AZ/NM trip. Thanks for stopping in.

      Posted by Cutthroat Stalker (Scott) | August 10, 2012, 7:08 am
  6. I understand how you felt. Being until recently on the other side of the education divide, the end of summer usually meant an enforced end to my fly fishing for the year. One learns to cope with moving from the high sierra to Los Angeles by diving into anything else but the painful reminder that the ol’ flyrod in the closet provides. Sooner than you’d think, the desire just fades away…
    For me, anyway, it takes maintenance and a reconnect with the wilderness to spark it anew. Glad to hear yours is rekindled as well. Looking forward to diving into this site, with the promise of fresh writing ahead!

    Posted by Nick | February 20, 2013, 10:04 am

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