Dedication, Insanity or just plain Stupid?

Dedication, Insanity or just plain Stupid?


By Dave Anderson

It all started in late-June 2012. I was at the Canal and I felt like I had lost my ability to cast! I was somersaulting plugs and really laboring to fight the few fish I was able to flop my plug in front of. I chalked it up to just having an off day and returned on Wednesday feeling fine. Friday I was back again and feeling a bit off but fighting my way through an odd foggy feeling; by the time I set foot in the office, I had a pounding headache and felt slightly feverish. I took some Ibuprofen, had a salad for lunch and felt slightly better. (I think that might have been the only time in my life that I had a salad for lunch!) Late that night I awoke with terrible shivers—they were violent and uncontrollable—I felt cold and sweaty. I had to shut off the air conditioner and pile the winter blankets onto the bed. My pounding headache returned again. I was starting to think I had malaria! My wife thought I was insane.
When I was finally able to get back to sleep, I had the strangest dream. I was in a weird state of suspension, it was dark and foggy and everything around me was shades of dark gray and mottled, dingy white. I was barely awake in the dream but I found a tick on me in the dream, ripped it off of my body and knew instantly that I had contracted Lyme disease… in the dream. The next morning I still felt awful my fever was pushing past 101 and I can honestly say I’ve never felt so out of it. On the way to shower I caught a glimpse of my shoulder in the mirror and noticed a red spot about the size of a silver dollar that would soon grow into the telltale ‘bullseye’ rash that Lyme disease is so famous for. Tell me that’s not weird! My wife swears it was my Native American ancestors speaking to me through my dreams—I’m about 1/32nd Native American, so I think no.
I called my fishing partner to vent about my newfound hatred for ticks and he said, “Well, I don’t know if it makes you feel any better but I stepped on a framing nail this morning with flip-flops on and it went in far enough that I had to pry the board off my foot!” We had a good laugh about the seemingly precise syncopation of our ailments—and then, of course, went on to discuss whether or not we thought we could pull off a fishing excursion that night. And we ultimately decided that we could.
As luck would have it the wind, tide, wave heights and all other condition variables pointed to a very specific spot, one that’s a good drive and a LONG walk more than a mile each way over varied terrain. We met there instead of driving together in case one of us died on the way out! I swallowed my Ibuprofen with a splash of Gatorade and tried to shake my Lyme disease cobwebs free of my tainted brain while I slipped into my wetsuit. Dave was hobbling around a bit but he’s a tough dude, and within 10 minutes we were suited up and walking down the beach.
At this point I was feeling fine, with the meds surging through my arteries I was riding a wave of masked pain and brain fog. When we finally hit our first destination, a shallow jut with a good sweep, I could tell Dave’s foot was hurting but we were both all business. Stepping into the water must have felt so good on the overworked hole in his foot, I know it felt good to my feverish body. Our plan was to fish a two hour window in the tide and then head home. We hadn’t taken five casts collectively before my friend hooked up to a nice fish on a needle. As luck would have it, she dove into the veggies and scrubbed the plug off but it was a great sign.
The next three and a half hours were filled with action! Fish from schoolies to 23 pounds were crushing our needles. Do the math on how long Advil usually lasts and you’ll start to get the gist of how I was feeling! As the fourth hour of the tide neared the bite slowed and we decided to call it a night. We had each beached over a dozen fish but my shivers and dizziness were coming back and Dave was hobbling like a lame race horse. I don’t need to tell you how tough that walk back was. The next day my fever had risen to 103.8 and the rash had expanded to the size of a large cantaloupe! The walk-in clinic is no picnic on a Sunday but after sleeping an hour in the exam room, vehemently arguing against a spinal tap and having blood drawn I had my Lyme disease meds in hand.
That tiny tick kicked my ass! It took about 36 hours for the symptoms to lift and a month for me to complete the course of the medication. I was lucky because I had that dream and found the rash—but because the symptoms of Lyme can vary so greatly not everyone catches it so quickly and the long term effects can be very dangerous. Don’t ignore these feelings if you have them, I am the type that tries to “power through” everything but I’m really glad I didn’t this time. If you’re wondering about Dave, he was fine—he needed a Tetanus shot and was no worse for the wear after a few days.
I suppose the real morals of this story lie in our collective drive to fish through anything, let’s face it; that was really stupid. But we did have a pretty awesome night. When I ask myself the question: was it dedication, insanity or just plain stupidity that drove us onto the rocks that night? I’m sad to admit that it was option C—what do you think? Maybe if Dave hadn’t dropped that first fish…?


6 comments on “Dedication, Insanity or just plain Stupid?

  1. BOB


  2. John Cusick

    Great read, Dave, and glad you spotted the tick. My feeling is that stupid would of been to not go to the clinic as soon as you did. The nights adventure outing was just nourishment for the soul!!

  3. doc-gc

    Great job bro, fish first worry about everything else later. We all take risks in one way or another that might be considered stupid or better put not normal by the rest of society when it comes to surfcasting. But if you think about it 90% of people or society couldn’t do what you did even if they tried. I am with you in the 10% of whatever you want to call it not normal, dedicated, stupid or crazy, whatever it is, to me normal is boring i dont want to be normal, nor be a follower. Yes ticks suck and sand flees are right behind them.
    Way to tuff it out. hoooYahhh!

  4. Gerard D

    I work on a golf course on Long Island that has more ticks then mosquitos. I have pulled numerous ticks off of me and it’s not a comfortable feeling knowing something is living off of your blood. I’m in the midst of having my blood checked for Lymes. Same symptoms minus fever and rash. I wouldn’t call it stupidity or insanity, that’s what people who don’t have the love and dedication that some of us have for surf fishing say about us. I’d call it dedication. I will never turn down a chance to fish for anything besides my son.I guess it scares me. If I could say no once I could say no twice witch would mean I’m starting to lose my drive witch then gets blamed on getting old and nobody wants that to happen :-). The fishermens elixir 4 Advil a bottle of Gatorade and a shot of Jameson. If that doesn’t work then see your local Dr. Dedication dedication dedication Mr. Anderson. There’s only a small percentage of us that fish through adverse conditions, physically, mentaly weather or whatever. Those are usually the ones that don’t burn spots, network together and only get invited to certain bites. It took fishing with a group of guys for three years before they invited me to a special bite. I don’t think they would’ve if I didn’t fish like and when we do. Dedication


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