After my epic fly-fishing trip to the Bitterroot Valley of Montana in July 2012, there was ear surgery. Nothing severe - allergy-related, no big deal. A week later I had to have an unforeseen surgery on my hip. It was probably an old softball injury that had caused necrosis in the bone. This one set me back quite a bit, keeping me out of my kayak for a full year. It's really hard to write about something when you're not getting to do it and don't have any pictures to go along with a story! In fact, I found it was really hard to even read about or be around kayaks and fishing. I thought it rather easy to just lose myself during this time.
The last six weeks or so I've been able to put my Hobie “Outback” on the water six times. To sum up the trips:
- Six smallies on the Elkhorn in Georgetown on black grubs with a red jig head.
- Three crappie and two largemouths on my second trip of the same water. (crappies were on 2" black grubs, bass on hula poppers, late in the day).
- I spent a day in Owenton on Elmer Davis Lake where I caught two bass and five crappie, all on various sizes of black grubs that I now call Ol' Faithful.
- There was an outing on Taylorsville Lake of about eight hours, but on this trip I did get skunked.
- During an eight-hour trip to Cedar Creek Lake I caught a couple of bass that were 3.5 to 4.0 lbs. and a couple of squirts.
- My first tournament of 2013 was a Yakmasters tournament at Guist Creek Lake in Shelbyville. The day was brutally hot but I didn't get skunked. I caught an 11" bass and a catfish that was even smaller - nothing to write an article about!
- Labor Day weekend was spent at Cumberland Lake, trolling for stripers early in the morning to almost noon, then putting the kayak in below Wolf Creek dam for an afternoon of fly fishing. I caught several really nice rainbows, one large brown and a couple that went about 12”, and countless brookies. Man, I love fishing that river!
Now I'm "movin' on up" with last week's purchase of a Hobie “Mirage ProAngler 14”! (more about that in my next article). The ProAngler - specifically that comfortable Vantage seat - made my seventh outing last longer than the other trips, at a little over ten hours. I had thought about it a lot before buying it, and believed the raised seat might be more comfortable and get my rump off of the more rigid kayak surface, but also to get my pedals out of direct alignment with my hips. I had tried a Skwoosh gel cushion and an air cushion. They both helped considerably, but didn't prevent me from having a stiff hip joint the day after. This trip was on the Kentucky and Dix rivers, where I caught a 12" gizzard shad (the biggest I've ever seen), a 15" smallie, and several brown trout.
It's good to be back. Aches, pains, and injuries do come up in life, especially as we all get a little older. Even after I started feeling some relief from my pain, I still found it hard to get back on the water. I didn't have much confidence in being able to sit in any position for very long, and was so afraid I would make matters worse. I finally decided that I had to try to get back to being me, doing the things I've always done, spending my time doing the things I love. I sure hadn't been doing much living during the past year. I don't know if you can "make up" lost time, but I'm sure going to give it a shot!
For anyone who has had to take a break from an activity you thoroughly enjoy, try focusing first on building some strength and stamina back up. Then the rest of it comes back to you.