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Thread: The Dark Side of surf fishing

  1. #1
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    Default The Dark Side of surf fishing

    This came from another site,by the eelman Bill Nolan.

    Great read about what can happen when it becomes tooo much of an obsession, like anything else.

    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 don’t say I didn’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.

    It’s easy to withstand the punishment when you’re young, who cares about 15 years from now? That’s never going to come? That’s 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 children’s 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 “can’t miss tides” ended in a skunking! It wasn’t worth it at all. Please don’t make the same mistakes!

    It’s 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!



    It’s 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 that’s due in no small part to the endless walking and casting involved in surf fishing.

    So, what is the problem? First let’s start with sleep deprivation; we all know it’s 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 don’t 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 that’s 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. It’s 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 don’t think straight. One other problem is the fact that it’s 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 wasn’t 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. It’s 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 didn’t 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 it’s 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 what’s right but, when you’re 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 11pm 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; it’s 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 don’t become caught in the compulsion trap of the sport to where it affects everything from your family life to your health, it just isn’t 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. It’s 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, it’s 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 you’ll 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



    '

  2. #2
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    I've seen some friends get divorced over this, they thought their wives would be happy they weren't at the tittie bars. It's the same obsession, different object.

    Great read, some stuff in there is spot on. Thanks for posting.

  3. #3
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    This could have been me 5 years ago. I know I ruined more than one relationship because of fishing, not paying attention to her.

    Great post, thanks for posting.

  4. #4
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    yeh, had some girlfriends get mad at me for that. at least we're fishing, not throwing bills at the russian dancers.

  5. #5
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    Again this rings true. Had a friend tell me today he is fishing so much his wife wants them to go to couples counselling. Get it done, dude. Or start bringing flowers home with the fish.

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    How many guys here have lied and told the wife you had to work overtime when you were really going fishing? Or lied about how much you paid for your gear? I have

  7. #7
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    Sleep deprivation is my downfall. If the fish are calling nothing stops me. Dogfish's post is something that I should seriously consider.

  8. #8
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    Very timely article. I have had at least 3 friends over the years get divorced because their fishing and hunting was causing them to neglect their families.

    We all love this thing we do, but it's important to balance between the outdoors and family life.

  9. #9
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    I liked that article. If the fishing was as good every day as it was this morning I would be divorced and homeless, because I would never go to work or see my wife.

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    Great read. I know some guys that should definitely see this, I'll pass it along.

  11. #11
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    OK yes, I did see myself when I read this. Sent it to a friend who fishes 200 days a year. He thought they wrote it about him.

    Family and relationships are important too. The're like a garden, or an orchard. If you don't take care of them, those relationships will wither and die. Great article.

  12. #12
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    Some pretty deep stuff.

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    I have a friend who told me today he and his wife were entering a trial separation. He fishes 6 nights a week. Spot on article.

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    To quote Metallica: sad but true - great article.

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    I made a committment that I will not fish for more than 5 hours at a time anymore. Not much, but it's a start.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by clamchucker View Post
    Very timely article. I have had at least 3 friends over the years get divorced because their fishing and hunting was causing them to neglect their families.

    We all love this thing we do, but it's important to balance between the outdoors and family life.
    What he said. You can spend a crazy amount of time fishing, or waste it in other ways. I would rather be fishing.

  17. #17
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    I've read that before. I think awareness is the key. Awareness of an existing OCD. I know, I obsess. But I have priorities, today. And I value this life I have, and my family. As I like to to this thing we do, I know all too well, where the obsession can lead.
    EACH ONE, TEACH ONE !
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  18. #18
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    i guess i am lucky i can fish when and how long i want just as long things are taken care of at home first if not she can call an di go and take care of things

  19. #19
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    I learned to treat my girl with more respect. Maybe I realized what she has to put up with.

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    Been there done that one divorce now I have a wife that fishes sometimes, I do my morning thing for a couple of hours when I get the chance and then go home and fish the nights that she works.But still come November I put alot of time in and she is ok with that I take my 3 weeks vacation off then,and spend the other 2 weeks with her but she usually takes me to Montauk.

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