by Mark Littleton
It started in late July. A sharp pain just below my elbow. It
would hurt for a couple of days after each time I went fishing.
Tennis elbow, or tendonitis - Latin for "your elbow will hurt like
the devil if you try to use it". I had seen this before, Randall
had it last year. He took a trip to Idaho in July and caught over
a hundred fish in one day - instant tendonitis. His arm hurt until
spring, but he never stopped fishing.
I ignored the pain as long as I could. It hurt, but wasn't as
bad as having a tooth pulled. By October it really started to hurt.
It would throb all night after a day of fishing and I switched to
a new, less painful casting style that involved keeping your elbow
locked in position close to your side and casting with your wrist.
I lost distance and accuracy, but it was slightly less painful.
It was a miserable way to fish, but it was still fishing. The new
casting style was no help when you have a fish on however. Every
time I set the hook it felt like someone was simultaneously stabbing
me in the elbow with an ice pick. Fighting a fish was almost as
painful and lasted a lot longer.
You are probably thinking, "why didn't this moron rest his arm
for a while". I know this would have been the wise course of action.
The problem is that the Blue Winged Olives (BWO) hatch in October
and November, and this is my favorite hatch of the year. If the
BWO hatch this year had been like the one last year, I could have
saved myself a lot of grief, but the hatch was fantastic this year.
I couldn't help myself, it's a sickness. It was fish, fish, fish,
then go home and throb, throb, throb.
By the second week in November I couldn't pick up a coffee cup
without wincing. Simple things like buttoning my shirt caused pain.
That was enough. The BWO hatch was almost over anyway and I decided
to give it a rest. I thought that a week or two off and I would
be good as new. Its now late December and I'm still waiting to the
arm to heal.
You don't get much sympathy when you hurt your arm flyfishing.
It seems impossible to hurt yourself casting a 2 ounce fly rod.
It sounds like an injury only wimps and sissies get. Today someone
said, "Oh, poor guy fishes so much that that he hurt his arm". Like
they wish they had that problem.
One more thing, if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't change