Fly Fishermen and Women need to be in Good Shape
Too many fly fishermen, and women, don’t think they need to stay in shape. Well if you’re under 30 or do your all fly fishing from the couch watching YouTube videos, I’ll let you off the hook. If that is not the case, listen up. You’ll fish better, longer, and with less injury if you spend time keeping in shape. I’m in the gym 3 times a week for that very reason.
The three most typical injuries faced by fly anglers are: tennis elbow, shoulder issues, and low back pain. All three can be quite painful. Ouch! And all three can knock you out of the game. But all three can often be prevented by keeping in shape.
Preventing Tennis Elbow: The repetitive motion of fly casting can tear the tendons in your forearm, especially with fast action rods. To avoid this injury you need good muscle tone in your forearm. One of simplest way to go about it is squeezing a rubber ball. Do it palm up and palm down. Not only is this method cheap and easy, it can be done anywhere, even at work. Believe me it works. **** Here’s a tip. Between casts, loosen your grip on the rod. This gives the muscles in your forearm a chance to rest. They’ll thank you for it.
Preventing Shoulder Issues: Not only is casting a repetitive motion, it asks you, at times, to raise your arm upwards. Both movements put stress on your shoulder and can lead to pain or even a serious injury called a torn rotator cuff. Very bad news. To prevent it, build your shoulder strength now. A simple exercise with a resistance band is useful. Here is a link Be sure to watch this video too! It will offer better insight into how the shoulder works.
Preventing Low Back Pain: Low back pain is a real nuisance, especially if you like to fish from a kayak. Typically this type of pain is caused by being overweight, or having weak abdominal muscles, or both. Losing weight is the key first step for many anglers. Diet and exercise will do that. But strengthening your “abs” is critical too. Crunches and planks are effective, but an “ab” roller is even better. They are cheap ( I got one for $10 from amazon). Be aware that the smaller the diameter of the roller’s wheel, the harder you’ll work. And avoid rollers that come spring loaded; they quickly fail. But whatever one you get, it will work far better then either crunches or planks, but you must use it properly. Do not do full rollouts at first! Hell no, you’ll hurt yourself. Halfway is plenty until you are in good shape.
Warning: The above advise is not intended for people who already have tennis elbow, or shoulder problems, or a bad back. If that is you, consult your doctor first, especially if you have swelling, serious aches, pain raising your arm, or a preexisting injury.