Cabin Fever

The past six weeks has seen some horrendous weather across the whole of the UK. It’s been a succession of gales, storms and more gales coupled with torrential rain and severe flooding for many. My local coast, facing due west here in North Wales, takes the brunt of it, and we’ve no sheltered water as such, so once a period of bad weather sets in, it’s a case of waiting it out until things settle down again.

After six weeks with just two shore fishing trips made, cabin fever has seriously set in. When younger I’d have tried to fish on regardless. I’d have happily put up with dragging in huge clumps of weed, battling storm force conditions and, it has to be said, sometimes even been rewarded for my endeavours with a decent fish. These days though, I’m more inclined to take a step back and apply some commonsense. Looking back, for the most part, those days out in weather you wouldn’t sensibly fish, didn’t actually produce that much of note, to be honest. Not locally anyway. Being younger then, it was the expectation that it might that drove me on. With hindsight, and age, I’m now more selective and will only fish severe weather if I can get out of the worst of it and fish known productive ground.

Cabin fever is hard to fight mind. It can only be described as a nervous restlessness within the body. You can’t concentrate, your mind keeps wandering to scenes of surf beaches, rock ledges, gentle rolling sea swells, the cry of the gulls, wooded river banks and scenic lake sides. You become fixated with weather forecasts watching not just the TV, but compiling numerous online weather links steadfastly checking each and every one every few hours for signs of a chink in the weathers armour. Just a window in the weather and a few hours fishing would be enough to quell the pain. But there has been no chinks, and no windows.

Once the fever sets in no drugs or medicines seem to cure it. A very short term pacification is to clean and service reels, tidy up the tackle boxes and lure bags, tie a few flies, sort out and replace rigs, and check over the rods you commonly use. But when you’re house bound for weeks, these chores quickly run out and you’re left with no obvious antidote. The fly-tier has the best of it. You just keep tying, but this too, then becomes a labour and you desperately need to feel the fly rod flex and the line swish out to the waiting trout.

It’s a big mistake to watch TV fishing shows too. The good ones make you want to go fishing, and that just adds to the agony. The bad ones just make you ill tempered. Good fishing books are just the same, spawning a strong desire to fish. Sitting in the pub talking fishing with your mates does, briefly, cool the fever, but again it will only come back stronger the moment you leave the congenial surroundings of your local hostelry and face the reality of the weather outside.

So what to do? We note there is no quick fix cure. We have to endure, get through the bad weather period how ever long it lasts. We can prepare like a warrior waiting for battle, plan like a General massing his forces, but it is not enough. To a true angler, time only matters when you’re fishing, and we resent the elements when they restrict us.

These past few weeks I’ve spoken to a fair few anglers all around the country, and the fever is at epidemic levels. I’ve written this so that those who have the fever do not feel alone in their suffering. The winds will abate, the rain will stop, the floods will ease, and the sea will settle. It’s just a matter of time!

Cabin Fever