By Guest Writer Gene Eisenmann
Fishing may be viewed as a laid back activity, however, tournament bass fishing is anything but. We often go about our season ignoring the obvious hidden dangers and not considering the long-term effects of things we ignore. In my time fishing I have learned a lot from the guys at the top and here are some of the things that anglers have taught me.
- Ear Protection – I was fishing as a co-angler and drew James Niggemyer on lake Hartwell. Absolutely one of the nicest guys I have ever met and I am proud to now call him a friend. At take off he offered me some orange Home Depot earplugs. Never have I considered how much noise running a boat can produce. I wore them the entire day and it changed my view. Literally, after one day I could not imaging running without them. The engine and wind noises were wiped out and the best part was that I did not have my usual noise headache at the end of the day. When I talk with the old timers they all say that their hearing is shot due to the years of not protecting them.
- Eye Protection – While fishing with Jeff Kriet one day he explained to me how serious he takes his eye protection. Being a novice, I asked him to go into detail. He told me that over the years, glass lenses had become popular because the eyewear industry has convinced anglers that they are a must. His comment was that they are “eye suicide” when fishing. First is protection and no one can argue that putting a piece of glass in front of your eye with objects such as weights, hook and other fishing related hazards is a good idea. My first thought was “well, that’s a no brainer”. He said that unless your lenses are ANSI Z87.1 rated, you might as well not be wearing them. It was that day that we got involved with Ampibia Eyegear to develop the perfect fishing eyewear. Over the years we have perfected the visual quality, polarization, comfort and most importantly, they are ANSI Z87.1 rated. Over the years since I have had dozens of customers reach out to tell me that if it were not for their Amphibia Eyegear they would be blind due to weights hitting their lens and saving their eye. On the other hand, I have seen and equal amount of anglers losing their vision due to glass lenses shattering upon impact. The moral to the story is, don’t stick a piece of glass in front of your eye. Pretty simple.
- Hot Foot Location – The TH Marine Hot Foot is one of the best inventions in bass fishing history, however, it must be placed properly. I see so many anglers stretching their leg and sitting awkwardly in order to reach it. When you do this it puts your back in a bad position and will do long term damage when running long distances and hitting waves. Don’t settle for the dealer just screwing it in hoping that it will fit. Spend a few extra dollars and get the Hot Foot Slide offered by TH Marine and customize the setting. Easy fix that will save your back and make your runs much more comfortable.
- Stretching – The best advice on comfort seems to always come from Mike McClelland. It sounds silly and is truly not something anyone wants to do at 5am trying to get out the door for a derby. However, stretching your hamstrings eliminates the backache that we all get at the end of the day. Standing awkwardly running a trolling motor in the waves puts significant pressure on your back and you hamstrings pull even harder on it when not properly stretched. Take a few minutes. On a side note, he also taught me to drive like a granny close to the wheel so that your right leg is not extended. Since then I am pain free on those long drives between derbies.
- Exposed Skin – Simply put, the sun is hazardous to our health. Mark Menendez really drove this fact in to me. It also makes you look like an old sea hag over time. Cover every inch of your body. TH Marine, Aftco, Huk and others sell premium gear to cover you up. Hooded moisture management shirts, buffs, sun gloves and long pants have become a standard when dealing with the exposure while fishing. Don’t be a sea hag.
These are just a few simple things that will make fishing less of a hazard to your health and well being.