Fit to Fish by Hisey and Berend Fly fishing book reviews 

Fit to Fish: How to Tackle Angling Injuries
Stephen L. Hisey and Keith R. Berend
Softbound : 160 pp.
Frank Amato Publications   $19.95
ISBN   1-57188-354-1
Fit to Fish by Hisey and Berend

A physical therapy book for flyfishers? Indeed. Any physical therapist's office has books on golf injuries, baseball injuries, football injuries, Olympic sports injuries--but not flyfishing. Readers of Hisey and Berend's book might hope that the world should now stand up and recognize that baseball pitchers and office workers aren't the only people who can have rotator cuff and carpel tunnel injuries. We flyfishers are athletes, too, and people should recognize our equal right to ice and ibuprofen for our injuries. Right?

The book isn't just another book on how to keep fit with exercise and stretches. We have enough of those books. What makes this book interesting is that it is specifically directed toward the often difficult positions involved in flyfishing. Fly casting involves an orchestration of body angles and dynamics that take their toll on those who aren't blessed with perfect bodies, which means you and me and and most everyone else. If you have instability in your hips, walking over a rocky, slippery streambed can become a serious issue. If you have sore shoulders, casting all day long is like a pitcher throwing 200 fast balls. Well, not exactly like that, but the repetitive stress of constant casting can catch up with you if you don't take sensible precautions and do the kind of preparation that this book offers.

Reading through the book, I kept thinking back to all the little pains in my arms, hips and back as I tackle small and big fish across the planet. One thing the book did was make me more conscious of my casting motions. Correct casting in terms of how to present a fly accurately and effectively is also the correct way anatomically. Even more aggressive long distance casting, whether a spey cast, long roll casts or your own special hybrid cast, is the easiest on a caster's body to the extent that it involves the whole body and its limbs correctly.

You may not end up doing all the exercises and stretches outlined in Hisey and Berend's book. But you'll probably become more aware of your body's mechanics, especially if your lingering aches and pains incline you to start doing something about them. For myself, I added forearm stretches and a few extra hip stretches to my usual workout that sees me through my fly fishing lifestyle. The reader, too, will find helpful solutions to their aging fly fishing physiques, and find a more comfortable way toward a long fly fishing career.

--Toney J. Sisk


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