I’ve guided a lot of anglers in the 60-to-almost-90 age bracket and I’m seeing some funny trends. Foremost: No one wants to admit their limitations, so I don’t usually know the real score until most of the trip is over.
I usually begin to hear about the medical, skeletal and aging issues they are hiding when I say something like, “You know, you look like you’re doing great, how old did you say your children are?” Since they’re proud someone has noticed, they’ll usually volunteer their age and more. “Yep, I actually have five grandkids and I’ve survived two heart attacks – one just a few months ago!” I’m thinking, yeah, I can appreciate that … I love doing CPR!
Now the walls have come down. How many pills do you take a day and for what? Is your laminectomy going to hold up in these waves? You say you had both knees replaced and your hip, too? One of the screws has to be replaced … soon. But you’re OK standing and holding on?
I have fished with many who tell me about their heart attacks. What medications are you taking now? And do you have your nitro with you? More importantly: Where is it? Dr. George here!
Then there’s cancer. I recently had a guy who beat stage 4. He looked good! Wow.
Few make it to our later years unscathed. But no matter age or physical condition, we are all still mentally around 20-something – and feel we are capable of doing what we’ve always been able to do.
A buddy’s 88-year-old father who was fishing with us (turned out, it was his last trip) kept apologizing for having to make pit stops at the nearby restroom. After a great day, he told me, “Roger, getting old is hell!” A week later I got a package from him. Inside was a plastic hospital urinal with a note: “This is for all the old guys on your boat!” LOL! Once my senior clients find out I have it on board, they enthusiastically agree it’s one of the most useful fishing gifts I could have ever received.
Few of us expect that living the dream means fighting off persistent medical and aging problems. The good news is that the anglers I see are still excited about their time fishing. No matter how bad they may feel, it’s the golden stuff of life and hope for them … and us!
Never give up!