It is a condition in stark contrast to another mental condition that I have identified (also quite unscientifically) and termed “PWE”, namely “Pre Weekend Euphoria”.
Both conditions are inherent not only to bass fishing, but to leisure fishing in general, although I have observed that bass anglers seem to suffer the conditions a little more acutely than those who pursue a more gentle, laid back type of fishing. Both conditions have a common denominator, namely “goin’ fishin’, and its difficult not to succumb to them.
PWE can start as early as the Monday before the weekend trip, and is characterised by a high-powered, energetic – almost frenetic – approach to just about everything that the angler is involved in. The typical working day is handled so efficiently that what in other weeks takes a whole five days to accomplish is finished off within four and sometimes even three. Household chores are finished in record time and living rooms or dens become hives of activity as tackle is meticulously arranged and re-arranged, fishing buddies are queried as to what is happening where, and a whole library of past issues of The Bass Angler are studied.
PWE reaches its peak the night before departure; its symptoms are too numerous to mention here, and are only dissipated when the vehicle is started and the rig is on its way. What doesn’t disappear however is an overall emotion of elation and wellbeing that remains to a larger or smaller extent as the weekend enfolds. Good catches of course increase this emotion, while a lost PB or bag winning fish makes only a small dent in it.
But, oh dear, come packing up time and PWD starts putting out its tentacles, so slyly and so surreptitiously that at first it goes largely unnoticed as all the reloading and repacking chores are taken care of. What also helps to keep PWD at bay is the socialising with others, but there in the background lurks PWD, just waiting for its chance to pounce.
And it does so, the second the vehicle is started for the journey home. I have it well documented (for own use, please do not bother me with offers to purchase) that the depth of PWD is directly related to two factors, firstly the success or otherwise of the weekend’s catches, and secondly to the distance from home. Good catches do indeed serve to mitigate the effects of PWD, but the longer it takes to reach home, the deeper PWD bites.
Fortunately however, goin’ fishin’ has far more positives than negatives. A bad case of PWD never lasts for more than one or at the most two days, and is actually quite easy to cure – all that is needed is to start preparations for the next outing or event, which in itself leads to another onset of PWE!
For those still sceptical about my discoveries regarding the mental health of anglers, recent pronouncements by the scientific community support my (un)scientific research findings. The list of positives is awesome. The benefits of going fishing include relaxation and stress relief, it improves self-esteem (particularly when you land a PB or win the cash pool), decreases risk of high blood pressure (except when your boat buddy casts across you and cuts off what would have been a winning fish), improves long-term memory (not sure about this one, some things I’d rather forget), increases your vitamin D that regulates calcium and phosphate to keep your bones and teeth healthy, and it boosts your immune system, which is why we can go fishing in the rain and cold and not be the worse for wear. Finally, they reckon that connecting with nature (which we do when we go fishing) helps you become more mindful and present in the moment. Don’t quite know what this means; perhaps knowing that the crocodile sneaking up on my boat demands some evasive action, or that corrupt politicians cannot influence my catches?
When you go fishing there are always other outdoor pursuits to enjoy, such as camping and hiking, but I go along with those scientists who now also believe that the best way to take care of your mind is to go on a fishing trip – fishing in general but bass fishing in particular!