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Old 09-17-2008, 05:04 PM
Zeuss Zeuss is offline
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Thumbs up Surf fishings Dark side

I was reading this on another website, and thought it would be good to copy it on to here, because everything he says is true.
It might make some of you think twice about certain habits you may have.

Written by Bill Nolan

Surf Fishing and the dark side of the sport

Everything can have a dark side, not many people talk about it but our sport is certainly not immune from danger. Not everyone will head down this path but, a lot will, for those on this road, its time to stop at the red light and read on, and donā€™t say I didnā€™t tell you so!
Surf Fishing is a wonderful sport, however like anything else excess has its price. I know first hand the changes it can have on the body and left unchecked can have you paying a hefty price later in life it can also destroy family, friendships and a host of other social aspects of life. Its easy to withstand the punishment when youre young, who cares about 15 years from now? Thats never going to come? Thats the mindset I had and then in the blink of an eye I was 41 and dealing with a host of health issues directly related to my habits that started in my late teens I also suffer from guilt of the things I should have done differently in my family and social life. The years of sleep deprivation and horrible eating habits along with selfishness finally sent me the bill.
How about the social problems? I can rattle of more than a few names of friends I know whose marriages ended in divorce and fathers who missed many of there childrens younger years due to an obsession with being at the waters edge above all else. I have missed important family functions due to a tide I just had to fish. I have missed weddings, funerals, cookouts birthdays, the list goes on and on. I regret all of it and I can never get any of it back. My mother once told me not to expect many people at one of my events because of my selfish behavior. I look back now and to tell you all the truth, many of those cant miss tides ended in a skunking! It wasnt worth it at all. Please dont make the same mistakes! Its amazing what maturity can do for a person, I was told these things when I was younger but never listened, now I wish I had. Remember the fish will always be there but kids grow fast and once in a lifetime events never come back, so be there!
Its funny because the very nature of Surf Fishing is great exercise; I would walk miles night after night in pursuit of Striped bass, Seven Months out of the year at least six nights a week. My weight has always been good and thats due in no small part to the endless walking and casting involved in surf fishing. So, what is the problem? First lets start with sleep deprivation; we all know its not healthy to starve the body and mind of sleep. Experts agree that adults need at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep each day. I dont know about you but during the course of a season I used to be lucky if I averaged 3 or 4 hours a night and a lot of the time it was restless sleep, there was work the next day, a child that wakes up at 6am no matter what, family obligations that need attention on weekends and a host of other things that make sleeping all day a bit impossible. The world runs by day not by night and thats when most of the other activities need our attention. Our brains never really re-charge and most of the time we surfcasters walk around in that fog of tiredness all day. My doctor told me the body does many useful things during sleep to help us maintain an even balance, when sleep is lost we lose that balance. I also was told by my wife that without the sleep I was just miserable to be around all day. Its certainly not fair to be grumpy all day to your loved ones for something we bring upon our selves. What are the other problems associated with pushing the sleep envelope? The first thing that comes to mind is Safety, Making bad choices can be costly when we are not thinking straight, one might venture a little further when wading or take risks we would not normally take because of lack of sleep. Another words, you dont think straight. One other problem is the fact that its easy to fall asleep at the wheel and injure yourself or someone else on that long drive home at 3am after pounding the suds all night. One night I was on the way home from a night in the suds at Cape Cod, I must have nodded off in the car because I was shocked back to life by the pounding of a car horn! That was terrifying to me so; I pulled over and went to sleep. After a few nights it caught up to me and I could have been killed, I slept for about 5 hours waking up on the side of the road and feeling like a truck had run me over! It wasnt pretty. This is just one example of how fast something can go wrong. Another friend of mine was killed in an automobile accident two years ago. You guest it, falling asleep at the wheel. There is no fish in the world worth that price, get your sleep. Its far better to fish a few hours alert than to fish in a daze and risk death from nodding off at the wheel.
How about eating habits? I can say without a doubt that my eating habits over the course of my surfcasting tenure have had a direct result on some of the problems I now have High Cholesterol, Type 2 Diabetes etc the price for this now is a needle I have to inject twice a day for the rest of my life. I hate to admit it but I have brought much of this upon myself with the choices I have made. How many times have I left the house in a hurry without grabbing a bite to eat, in my haste to get to the shore I simply didnt eat? After fishing for 6 hours I was hungry so what does a surfcaster eat at 2am? You got it, the all night burger joint, not good and it sits there while we sleep. It adds up over time and suddenly the Doc orders your blood work one day and tells your cholesterol is though the roof! Wow I said but I am in good shape! Then I look at my eating habits and it hits me, night after night of run and gun fast food and doughnuts take there toll. Combine this with endless caffeine to keep going and its a recipe for disaster. While some of my type two diabetes is genetic, a lot of it was brought on by my own disregard for doing whats right but, when youre young who cares? Take it from me, if this is the road your on, sooner or later it will catch up. The largest problem I faced was surgery this year to correct my intestines from the abuse of eating junk all those years! Surgery is not something fun trust me.
So now that the bad news is done with, what changes have I made for the positive? First and foremost, I decided about 5 years ago that if I cant catch the fish I am looking for in a couple hours I am heading home, fighting that urge to try one more spot has gotten easier over time and now I limit myself to a few hours a night and I begin fishing earlier, very rarely fishing beyond 11 pm anymore. But what about tide? You ask? I have learned to have places where I can do well at every tide stage, there is always a place for me to go with a reasonable chance at catching fish, I have freed myself of the need to chase tides like I use to. I have also found that my fishing has actually improved; it has forced me to think more about tide and its relationship to stripers. So now if its low tide at dark I fish that sand bar that gets me closer to that structure I could not normally reach at high water, if its high tide I fish that hole near the beach or that structure that gets covered which produces at high water, you get the picture. I am much more rested and actually enjoying the sport more. When it gets compulsive as it once did for me, it is no longer a sport; its an addiction like anything else and a host of problems result from it. I also make it a point now to eat a healthy dinner before venturing out for a nights fishing, it has made a difference and my numbers are improving I also feel better! If I do have the urge to eat, I pack along fruit or an energy bar now instead of the stop at the grease pit. I also bought a boat and it was worth the every penny I paid if it helps my health. I do a lot of daytime fishing now and actually enjoy being among the living again and seeing the sun shine! I am not suggesting you do that but I am suggesting you dont become caught in the compulsion trap of the sport to where it affects everything from your family life to your health, it just isnt worth the price. I now savor a Sunday afternoon cookout with my family, I like watching my daughter enjoy the pool and I like engaging in conversation with friends with the subject matter being about anything other than fishing related. I jump at the chance to spend a Saturday with my wife and daughter poking around the yard and heading out for dinner and a movie finally freed by the tide and the bass controlling every aspect of my life. Its like being born again and I now enjoy fishing so much more because I want to go, not because I have to go! No more grumpy weekends where I wake to find a note telling me my family is out for the day and I missed it. I could care less now who catches what, I am as happy catching nothing as I am if I hit them good, its all a perspective.
If you think all of this is hogwash, think again, I have several friends who are in the same boat so to speak. Two of them had by-pass surgery at young ages, one had a heart attack at age 42, several are divorced and left all alone, all of them are rabid surfcasters and all have paid a hefty price. We all had horrible eating and sleeping schedules and we were all victims of putting the fish above anything else. Nothing is good in excess. If you learn at a young age to take the sport in moderation youll fair much better in the long run. Many of my friends have made the same changes I have and we are all happier people for it.
Remember fishing is foremost an activity that is supposed to be pleasurable not an all out compulsion, make the right choices and do the right things and above all else learn to put the sport of surfcasting in its proper prospective.Dont make the same mistakes I did, learn to enjoy all things in life, you will thank me in the long run!
Bill Nolan
(This was not meant to depress people, just to give a perspective as I saw them)
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Old 09-17-2008, 05:17 PM
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The Point The Point is offline
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Default Re: Surf fishings Dark side

Great article. Writen by the eelman. I think we all can relate in a way.
"My biggest worry is that my wife (when I'm dead) will sell my fishing gear for what I said I paid for it."
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Old 09-17-2008, 06:19 PM
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Jimmy Z Jimmy Z is offline
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Default Re: Surf fishings Dark side

It can be obsessive at times, if one claims the obsessiveness, and lets it direct ones path. If one is selfish, and not giving back or helping, that is the wrong. There is nothing wrong with doing this thing we do, but it can become an addiction, one that is unmanageable. And if one has OCD's, than be extra careful.
It was a good read.
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Old 09-17-2008, 06:47 PM
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jon006 jon006 is offline
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Default Re: Surf fishings Dark side

Originally Posted by The Point View Post
Great article. Writen by the eelman. I think we all can relate in a way.
It is a great article, however there are two sides to everything....while many guys may pound the surf hard when they do go, they don't do it every night.

I will sometimes fish for hours on end, little sleep, little food, waders or not, wet and cold, ect, ect....however put this article in context, I have known several Marines that have faced worse beatings on their bodies and have been fine....

Regarding the fast food and such, one makes a choice to be unprepaird in the food department and subsequently pays the price...

I will agree about driving home and falling asleep at the wheel...this is unacceptable, I have crashed a car from this and it wasn't fun, it almost Killed me, thank god I didn't hit someone else.

Moderation is key...with everything we do.
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Old 09-17-2008, 08:01 PM
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clopes clopes is offline
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Default Re: Surf fishings Dark side

Ever now and then someone (usually my wife) will ask me if I think about anything else but fishing...And more then not it's usually a no...I almost think of it as my other life-Fishing and then, everything else...I don't necessarily want to think that way but the sport draws us in...That feeling of success on the water, screaming reels, boiling water, birds crashing, and lifting that monster from the water seems to outweight a lot of the joys of our (or my) day to day life...A little moderation is defenitly very good advice. Great article
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Old 09-22-2008, 12:10 AM
candleburnerZ candleburnerZ is offline
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Default Re: Surf fishings Dark side

Every one at work knows im a rabid surfcaster.

"Hey whatcha doin tonight after work?" (11-11:45pm)

"Goin fishin."

I would go to work. 2:30pm.
Clock in 4pm
get out 11-11:45pm.
Fish 12am---------------after dawn. (6-7ish)
Sleep in my grand cherokee with the back seats down for a few hours at the fishing spot.
wake up up n go home.
wash myself and my equipment.
Go to work.

Don't even wanna get started on the 10+ servings of caffinated drinks a day. coffee, espresso, redbull, Bawls, Yerba mate, REDLINE!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 09-22-2008, 02:04 PM
schnellwilli schnellwilli is offline
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Default Re: Surf fishings Dark side

I am 77, a double cancer survivor with one kidney who has been surf fishing most of my life. Cut back on night fishing to about once/wk. Can't hack the sleep deprivation which makes me feel lousy for a few days and probably is damaging to my immune system.
My main problem is balance. Can't fish off rocks anymore and feel unsure of myself even while standing in sand with a light surf. Took to wearing a life jacket over my waders last year. Otherwise seem to manage OK.
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:09 AM
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Doublerunner Doublerunner is offline
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Default Re: Surf fishings Dark side

per Jim I am ing this thread because I thought it is a great read
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:46 PM
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GotHooked GotHooked is offline
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Default Re: Surf fishings Dark side

This is a BIG slap of reality. This is only my first year of huntin' the line-siders but I have already fought off the "necessity" to get out there and fish many times. At first it started out as something to relax and take my mind off the horrible day I had at work. Then I would want to get out even when I didn't work that day. One week, I hit the water 5 nights and that's when I realized what was happening. (fishing = alcohol???) The sleep deprivation was really the worst of it. On a day off with the family, I started to nod off at the wheel before I got a slap from my wife to move over so she could drive. Wives, we do take 'em for granted sometimes... and yeah they are the smarter ones... they live in the real world. Not our clouded delusions of circle hooks, plugs and fanatasies of 40# fish. So after having such and epiphany, I now limit my trips out to twice a week only. I allow myself one night of late fishing (2am) and that's only when I have the day off to myself the next day, otherwise I'm home by midnight. I have found spots that have produced for me at whatever tide so I no longer concern myself with the "right timing". If I make it, then great. I have gotten back to enjoying fishing as a "hobby" and not and addiction. Guys, this took me less than a season to develop and overcome, all because of dumb luck that I hooked up with a striper this spring while goin' for some winter flounder. So enjoy the sport for what it is and let it be that... a sport.

Tight lines... but more importantly tight families.

GotHooked aka Tae
I'm really not into fishing, I just like enduring hours on the water with nothing to show for it.
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