A Loss of Balance

Its 2 PM, middle of July, there are 3 fish in the livewell and the pressure is on. I can’t stop to take a drink because I can’t get bit if I don’t have a bait in the water. On the next cast I put the Jig I am throwing 2 foot up in a tree and get it caught on a limb. Now how did that happen?

The cascade of bad choices continue till 3 PM and all I can weigh in are the original 3 fish I caught before noon. I look back and begin to blame my ill-fated tournament on the weather and conditions, and that ignorant jet skier that kept doing donuts near my hole.

What if the problems weren’t external as with lure choice, water conditions, and that jet skier, but were INTERNAL at the cellular level? Could this be my fault?


Body water has multiple functions. Intracellular Fluid (ICF) provides the internal aqueous medium for cellular chemical function. The Extracellular Fluid (ECF) maintains blood volume and serves as the body’s transport system to and from cells. Body water cushions and lubricates, helps give the body  its structure, hydrolizes food in the digestive system, and acts as a reactant and medium for the chemical reactions that occur within the cell.

Adequate body water balance is necessary for 1.) the malignance of normal body temperature, which is achieved by distributing heat and by cooling the body via evaporation from the skin, 2.) the elimination of waste products, and 3.) all transportation within the body.

In the healthy human being, body fluids (water and electrolytes) are constantly being lost and replaced. The fluid that is lost is not pure water, but contains some electrolyte; thus both water and electrolytes must be replaced daily.

In Homeostasis (A balance of the body) body fluids are lost from the Kidneys, Lungs, Gastrointestinal tract, and Skin. Two processes demand continual expenditure of water: control of body heat, and excretion of metabolic waste products. The volume of fluids used in these processes depends on factors such as: External temperature, Humidity, Metabolic Rate, and Physical Activity. In normal fluid balance, output equals intake.

The human body uses a number of remarkable operations to closely regulate both the volume and composition of body fluids. Fluid and electrolyte balance depends on an adequate intake and output. This means that the intake must equal the output.

The Major organ controlling Extracellular Fluid (ECF) and Electrolyte balance is the Kidney. The kidney plays a powerful role in the balance of substances such as: sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, chloride, hydrogen ions (ph), glucose, and others. When the kidneys properly regulates the balance of water and ions, Homeostasis is achieved. This is accomplished through filtration, re-absorption, secretion and synthesis.

ADH (Antidiuretic Hormone) is a hormone produced by the hypothalamus and is released from the posterior pituitary gland. A loss of water causes the cells to shrink and stimulates the secretion of ADH. Angiotensin, narcotics, stress, heat, nicotine, antineoplastic agents, and anesthetic agents stimulate the secretion of  ADH as well.

ADH causes increased water re-absorption in the kidneys. The conservation of water increases blood volume and pressure and decreases osmolarity.

Potassium (an electrolyte) is very important in the conduction of nerve impulses and promotion of proper skeletal and cardiac muscle activity. Because of potassium’s role in the excitability of nerves and muscles, it is important that the Extracellular (ECF) concentration of potassium be maintained within the narrow normal range.

Now lets take all this “big word” information and apply it to a long hot day of fishing, (remember you are still using fluids on cold days as well, just not quite as much as a hot day).

We get up at 4:30 am, have a few cups of coffee and maybe eat breakfast. Headed for the ramp with a third cup of coffee in hand and we are already at a disadvantage. It turns out that coffee and caffeinated products as well as beer, all interfere with ADH. In turn, we urinate more frequently and lose body fluid. Heard the expression “gotta pee like a race horse”? On average a person urinates around 250 to 350 milliliters of fluid.

Skipping forward to around noon: Haven’t had anything further to drink, getting hot outside, and we are thirsty, but can’t stop now, no no. The fish are schooling all over the place like never before. The action is hot and heavy, schoolers off and on for over an hour now. We are catching fish on top water when they are up and when they go down, just throw that C-Rig out there with that black PowerWorm and continue to catch them.

Man my mouth is dry, and I can feel my heart pounding away at a hundred miles and hour, must be all the excitement though. Or is it??? Signs of Dehydration and ECF depletion are: dry mouth, increased heart rate, increased respiratory rate, weight loss (not the good kind either), low urine output, thirst, restlessness, loss of concentration, and if not corrected in time, Lethargy and coma.

There are two ways to prevent those “Bad” things from happening.
#1.) Prehydration- If you know you are fishing on Saturday, keep in mind that alcohol will dehydrate you. Start increasing your intake of water/sports drinks on Friday afternoon in preparation for Saturday, and eat a healthy well balanced meal. Coffee on Saturday morning is well within reason, and for some of us a must. All one has to  do is keep in mind that is will make you urinate, which will cause a fluid loss that you will need later in the day.

#2.) Hydration-The easiest part in prevention of Dehydration. According to Lori Fliegelman M.S.,L.D.N., R.D., Director of Nutrition at Cornerstone Hospital of Bossier City, the average person participating in sporting activities should be replacing 16 oz of  fluids for every one hour of activity. Ms. Fliegelman further adds that the fluids can be a combination of water/fitness water/sports drinks, 8 oz of water with 8 oz of sports drinks or fitness water (Propel from Gatorade) following,  she also recommends consuming sports bars with water soluble vitamins.

Dr. Stephen White M.D. Nephrologist with  Nephrology Associates agrees and adds “What do Bass and bass anglers both have in common? They both require water for survival.”

So, too much coffee and ADH was interfered with. I urinated allot of fluid that I needed, then I didn’t replace it as the day went on. Later, I lost my concentration due to dehydration and it cost me. It appears as if it was my fault after all.

Dehydration is easy to avoid. Remember Prehydrate, Hydrate, and In needs to equal out, and finally Fish Hard.

Fair winds and following seas
Dave the Dope Man
David Welch


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