BLOG: Watching from the sidelines

I HAVEN'T really been myself the past few weeks. Apart from the behavioural cues, the tell tale signs have been obvious: cobwebs on the boat, fishing rods neatly stored and my alarm clock's 4am buzzer staying silent.

I've done the proverbial "hammie" and sustained an injury which has relegated me to the position of benchwarmer for the past month. Watching from the sidelines really sucks.

It all started that fateful morning when I took a novice fisher out. It was a "sympathy session" and whilst injured, I felt obligated after making a promise; we managed a few fish, however, the water quality and general fishing outlook was poor. I was carrying quite a stiff and sore neck, which didn't react too well to an unexpected jolting as we hit a larger than average boat wake at speed – consistently being shunted about in a confused sea wasn't quite the rehabilative process that my body required.

Adding insult to injury, "old mate" knocked my sounder over back home – picture if you will, a sounder weighing a couple of kilos freefalling for over a metre onto concrete ... this  was followed by a ghastly shriek from yours truly. The sounder survived and because old mate was a decent chap he survived also. Whilst the neck pain subsided there was this persistent and obscure fingertip sensation that lingered for days. A visit to the doc suggested I would be off the water for a few weeks. I asked him for medication to manage hysteria - being off the water was sure to send me mad.

All jokes aside, I'm hoping to expect a full recovery shortly. What that transient period of pain and inconvenience has highlighted, however, is the plight of our friends who have a permanent affliction which renders them unable to set foot on a boat or fish for extended periods without discomfort. We sometimes mumble and groan if the weather is average, if we lose a favourite lure or miss an opportunity to head out on the water due to some unforseen event. We shouldn't take for granted, however, having the opportunity and ability to partake in the pastime we all cherish - injury and circumstance suggests that not everyone has that opportunity.

What do people do when they can't go fishing or how do they manage to get their fix if injured or have an affliction that keeps them off the water? I've watched DVDs, read fishing mags, organised my tackle collection, charged the batteries on the boat, wandered along the foreshore aimlessly, driven down to the boat ramp and stared blankly into the water...

What would you recommend to buck up the spirits of a keen fisher who's been grounded?

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