UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - James River

Dealing with Wear and Tear

Dealing with Wear and Tear
Larry Nixon

I just got some good news from my doctor. He said I shouldn’t need to have my shoulder operated on anytime soon. That suits me fine; I’m going hunting.

For a while earlier this spring it looked like shoulder surgery would be the next in a long line of repair jobs. It’s no secret that I’ve had a lot of problems with my hands, arms and shoulders over the years. I had surgery on my left hand last August, and it was supposed to fix a chronic problem that was affecting my grip. But then I injured that hand at Okeechobee in late January, and it was killing me by the time the Tour went to the Harris Chain. At Lanier it was so sore I had to get my co-angler to zip up my life vest. The doctor put a cast on my hand, and I eventually swapped that for a brace. It was all better by Lake Cumberland and doesn’t bother me a bit now.

Most of the cartilage in my right shoulder is gone. It’s the one the doctor was thinking about working on this fall. It hurts sometimes and feels like it’s going to fall out of the socket, but usually the pain goes away when I back off how I’m fishing and what I’m fishing with.

For me, that’s just part of the program. After 42 years of tournament fishing, things wear out. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop fishing, but it’s sure made me change the way I fish. For instance, I don’t throw big crankbaits, spinnerbaits or swimbaits anymore. If a bait weighs more than an ounce, I don’t tie it on. I can’t use a baitcaster with heavy lures because I can’t put enough pressure on the spool to cast. The same goes for topwater fishing. I try to avoid any type of bait that requires a lot of rod motion. I compensate by fishing a drop-shot rig, some kind of Yamamoto Senko rig, a shaky head or maybe just a Texas-rigged worm.

My right thumb went first, and I learned to cast left-handed – pitching and flipping. Now I mostly use spinning tackle, and there’s no doubt that it’s prolonged my career. Even so, I can’t set a hook like I used to – it’s more of a sweep set and definitely not a hard snap set. There’s no telling how many big fish I’ve lost over the years because I couldn’t get a hook in them good.

Arthritis runs in my family, and that made things worse for me as the years went by. My doctor said people with hereditary arthritis tend to have more joint trouble as they get older, and there’s not much else to do about it except eat right, take it easy and don’t overwork or overstress the joints that are most likely to fail. I try to follow that advice.

When I started tournament fishing back in the ’70s, I never thought about the physical wear and tear. Nobody talked about it or worried too much about it. If you got tired, you rested and went on the next day and the next tournament. We figured we were all bulletproof.

Turns out we were wrong; nobody is. Not even you. Take care of yourself.

Tags: larry-nixon  blog 

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