Having been indoctrinated into fly fishing at an advanced age, there’s not enough time left for me to become that ‘old timer’ who can dispense advice between cigars and streamside naps. This is fine with me; I don’t like cigars and naps only make me grumpy.
What I don’t like is this getting older business. That I even know about and have a personal acquaintance with patellar enthesopathy is unsettling. It’s bad enough that there is no quick remedy for this ‘syndrome.’ It comes and goes, sometimes interfering with my regimen of walking eight to ten thousand steps every day. The idea that it could prevent wading into my favorite streams is unacceptable, though I may not have a say in the matter.
It’s annoying more than anything, but there’s hope that I’ll soon stand in those streams in which the cool, therapeutic water was snow just days before. The fish may not miss me, but it’ll be good for my body and soul to remind them I’m still around.
Fly fishing amplifies one’s observations of the aging process. Any difficulty tying knots can be dismissed to poor lighting. But when it begins to seem that the eyes on hooks are smaller than they were last year, it’s time for bifocals. Then the noises start. While silence is golden when wading to avoid signaling your presence to the fish, each step now elicits some sort of involuntary creak. Slowly, grunts become a necessary component in bending over to tie boot laces. The short hikes to secret spots seem longer. Banks become steeper.
Even with age, all is not lost when it comes to fly fishing. Wading in cool trout waters is excellent therapy for sore knees. Aches and pains fade away with one’s focus on the flies, even if that means watching an indicator (aka bobber). If it ever comes down to needing a more sedentary mode of fly fishing, I’m lucky enough to enjoy stillwater nymphing and have suitable waters not too far away.
I know a few guys who have quite a few years on me and still thoroughly enjoy fly fishing. I’ve been on three- and four-day trips with some of them. They fish every day: perhaps an hour in the morning and another hour or two in the evening. In between they tell stories, slap together a sandwich, drink beer, chew on a cigar and maybe take a nap.
These guys make becoming an older fly fisher seem not so bad.
May 11, 2016 at 9:01 am
I went out on the net to find out what patellar enthesopathy is. Seems I need to be in 4th year medical to understand. Unfortunately the older you get, the more you creak. Hitting the 70 mark this Summer, I have to tell you I creak all the time. Like the old timers you know, couple hours in the morning and I’m through for the day. It’s hell getting old.
May 11, 2016 at 9:12 am
The upside is that by slowing down, one experiences more of the outdoors. At least that’s what I tell myself.
May 11, 2016 at 2:25 pm
Keep telling yourself daily Patrick that slowing down one experiences more of the outdoors. To not do so would hasten finding the bottom of that slippery slope we’re all careening down at breakneck speed. Perhaps the most satisfying part of this fishing and blogging thing is I’ve met “those that have and those that will” eventually find that bottom. Wonderful people like Chris over The Fading Angler who fly fishes while dealing with Parkinson’s Disease. I haven’t stepped foot into the water since my heart surgery but fly fishing for me has at least temporarily slowed down the descent. I actually feel sorry for the young bucks, so full of life and energy because they don’t see it coming.
May 11, 2016 at 2:31 pm
It’s only through seeing it coming do we finally appreciate what we have. And thanks for introducing me to The Fading Angler, BTW.
May 11, 2016 at 2:36 pm
Since he couldn’t seem to log in to post his comment, I thought I’d share what Kirk from UnaccompliedAngler.com shared on Facebook regarding the words above:
Thanks for the reassurance Kirk. And does pricking myself with the hook of a fly count as acupuncture?
May 11, 2016 at 6:49 pm
Patrick, if pricking yourself with a hook counted, we’d be Superman.