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Neil M. Travis - September 26, 2011

I know that most, if not all of us, pray that we will be able to "die with our waders on," perhaps not literally, but the idea being that we will be able to continue to chasing our favorite fish with a fly until the day that our maker calls us home. Such a prayer is not without merit but it is not always answered in the affirmative.

My wife, the Ladyfisher, owner of Fly Anglers Online, has been forced to come to the conclusion that her days as a fly fisher and fly caster have come to an end. After three rotator cuff surgeries on her casting arm, and with a minor tear in the same area on her other shoulder she has been forced to conclude that it's over. The resulting pain of attempting to fish is not worth the short lived pleasure.

My next door neighbor is 82 year old and I have lived next door to him since 1974. Over the years he has spent all his free time hunting and fishing. His wife died a number of years ago and since then he has lived alone except for his dog. A couple years ago he had a heart attack and since that time he has balance problems. He can't wade anymore because of his balance problems and unless someone else goes with him he doesn't dare to try to fish from a boat. While he may still get out occasionally it is likely that his angling days are over.

These are tough decisions. I remember after my late wife lost her left leg to a reoccurring cancerous tumor that we had to give up some of the activities that we had engaged in for many years. We were both avid hikers, cross country skiers, bicyclists, and we even did some backpacking. It was no longer possible for her to do these things but we still found things that we both could enjoy. She still enjoyed camping and walking around the campground. She could canoe, and we spent many hours during the last 10 years of her life in our canoe. The key was that we found substitutes for the activities that she could no longer do.

The day may come when you can no longer safely wade a trout stream due to some physical condition. Failing eyesight, mobility problems or other physical conditions may spell an end to your fly fishing adventures. If that time comes for you I pray that you will still be able to enjoy certain aspects of being in those places that you formerly enjoyed. I pray the same for me.

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