As a follow-up to the article on protecting shoulders, I thought I’d share some fitness for fishing tips I’ve collected from my doctors, other fishermen, and my fitness trainer. Many do not think of fishing as a physically demanding activity. However, we all know how the weather, water, and casting can wear us out. There are some very simple things we can do to endure the physical stressors of bass fishing. As with any new workout regimen, check with a doctor before starting. I also recommend speaking or working with a certified, experienced trainer to get the most out of a new routine.
Fitness for Fishing – Core Strength
Standing on the deck of a bass boat can be taxing on the back. It gets especially grueling when the bite is slow and fewer opportunities to move around. One of the best (and easiest) ways to shore up the aches and pains in the lower back is to strengthen the abdominal muscles. The upper torso represents the bulk of a human’s body weight. Anything we can do to help the trunk distribute and manage upper body weight helps prevent any one particular muscle group (like the back) from being overworked. There are hundreds of ab exercises easily done without the expense of gym memberships or equipment. A few minutes a day spent developing some abdominal strength can be a significant help for those long, tough days on the water.
Fitness for Fishing – Orthotics
When I first started fishing tournaments I gave little thought to what kind of shoes I wore. My first choice was a pair of topsider deck shoes. They were easy to put on and comfortable. Getting them wet was never a concern. Then the foot pain started. Slight at first then intense enough to keep me off of my feet and the water. Over time I developed a strain in the connective tissue in the bottom of my feet. As I fished through the initial pain those strains developed into small tears. The doctors call this plantar fasciitis. It hurts. As I was going through the rehab and healing, I did a little research on line and learned the lack of sound orthotics in shoes is a key cause of plantar fasciitis and other foot ailments. While flats and flip-flops look and feel cool in many cases, they are the worst dressing for feet, especially when standing for 8 or 9 hours straight. I switched to shoes with solid arch support and cushioning and it fixed the problem. There are lots of smart options on the market today. Some companies are even marketing shoes specifically designed to help with the rigors of fishing. All of these options have a balance of support and cushioning. A smarter pair of shoes can prevent wear and tear on the body.
Fitness for Fishing Cardiovascular – Fitness
My running days passed when I retired from active duty and with the drop in cardiovascular activity came the weight gain. I was pretty careless about how and what I ate for the first couple of years. Worse yet, I didn’t fill the activity void created when I hung up my running shoes for good. My doctor recommended walking. Once again I did some on-line research. There’s tons of evidence out there attesting to the benefits of walking. For me, the difference was almost immediate. The weight started coming off and I had more energy during the day. I noticed I hurt less while fishing and had more endurance during those multi-day outings. My partner and I added a short power walk – a fast-paced stroll – at the end of every practice day. We might go only a mile or two but it’s made a huge difference in how we perform and felt. There are lots of low-impact indoor options when the weather gets bad or there is a need for a change up. Striders, elliptical, stair-climbers, and treadmills all offer the opportunity to develop cardiovascular health. A workout routine including three or four days of cardio per week goes a long way.
Fitness for Fishing – Diet
I’m the last one to offer advice to anyone on eating habits. Mine have been bad for the past few years. However, allow me to offer a few suggestions on what not to do:
- Do not eat heavy or spicy meals before an outing, especially during hot weather – greasy, rich meals will drain the water from the bodies system and mess with sleep cycles
- Do not avoid eating during outings – the body needs energy throughout the day so fuel it with healthy foods
- Do not overindulge in alcohol, especially during extreme hot or cold weather – another great way to dehydrate
- Do not pass on water in lieu of soft drinks – there’s no dietary value in them so consider sport drinks as an alternative when needing a break from water
Fitness for Fishing – Sleep
I get pretty amped up before an event, so much so I often lie awake in bed thinking about the coming day. I just can’t get the excitement out of my system long enough for a good sleep. Then I pay for it on the water. My partner and I use a simple curfew system when we’re out for a tournament – eat dinner at a reasonable hour and in the rack early.
Fitness for Fishing – Putting It Together.
None of this is breaking news or revolutionary. It’s just a combination of common sense and planning. A simple workout regimen will help stave off some of the aches-n-pains and build endurance. Good gear for the feet is an essential component of any fishing kit. Smart meals and a good night sleep will ensure the body is fueled and rested for the big day. A little wellness goes a long way.
For more get bass fishing fitness articles visit the Health section of Ultimate Bass
See you on the water,