Thursday, January 02, 2014

Fishing through the pain barrier

There's another reason I haven't been out much lately. Pain as in sciatica, as in it hurts to drive, walk, bend down, cough or even fart. I didn't feel too bad last night as I checked over the bait rods and got the gear together.

This morning was so-so, as in might get better by the time I get there, might wish I'd stayed at home. But on the one decent day of the week, wind dropping round to south-westerly and no rain, I had to risk it. Let's face it, you would have.

I'm stiff as a board by the time I get to the pits and it seems to take an age to get the rods arranged in a reasonably accessible swim, with unhooking gear, net and everything on the mat. I reckon if I hook one I can net it without having to bend down too much, drop to my knees, get it on the mat and sort it without too much grief.

I get the odd twinge but it doesn't feel too bad standing there after the strongest non-prescription painkillers I could get my hands on kick in. The sun's up. The birds are singing. I sit down awkwardly on my cool box and let the day wash over me.

One of the blobs I've managed to get 30 yards out near an island keels over. I struggle onto my toes, grab the rod and ow, ow, ow, ow; why did I have to swivel around when I bent into it. It hurts even more by the time I've pumped the lanky-looking jack over the net.

No pain, no gain. At least I've caught one. I've beaten back the pain and decide another painkiller and a dose of deep and meaningful progressive rock track on Spotify's next on the agenda. Out come the hooks, back it goes. As I'm re-baiting the rod, a blob I've tucked under a marginal bush goes.

Back out comes the same lanky jack. I get a picture this time before I drop it back into the lake. I don't feel too bad now I've caught something. Even if it was the same one times two. I cast the rods back out, plug my 'phones in and scroll through 'Spotty until I find what I'm looking for. Comfortably Numb. That'll do.

OK, OK, I need some information. Just nod if you can hear me, sings Roger Waters. One of the floats nods and slides off. I think it's the same jack at first, but it's a different, tatty three-pounder. Time for a move - maybe to the swim where a decent fish came unstuck not long after I hooked it a few weeks back.

Out go the rods, big baits this time. The afternoon drifts past without another pull but I get quite into just sitting there, glad I've forced myself to come out and proved I can more or less beat the pain that comes back almost every time I shift position or get up to do something.

As the sun sets, I can hear curlews punctuating the raucous skeins of greylag geese that loft up from neighbouring pits. I remember I lost a big fish at last knockings here. One of the baits is in more or less the same place, where a shallow bar drops into 12ft of water.

From where I'm sitting, I can get a lovely HDR picture across the water on my phone. While I'm doing this, the blob waddling in the breeze over the end of the bar where I briefly hooked into a big fish falls flat and slides away.

It hurts all the way down one side as I lurch to my feet and grab the rod. I let the line tighten and sweep it back, connecting with fresh air. It hurts even more when I sit back down again.


  1. Happy New Year Norfolk and commiserations on the sciatica, that is misery. All that from a trapped nerve, even ale doesn't really help. Lovely picture of the pit that quite cheered me up as I listen to the wind and torrential rain this morning. All the best, John

  2. Hey Chris, just came across your blog, its a good read.
    Fancy meeting up somewhere before the season ends? Can't see an email address on here for you?

    Matt Drew.