Your browser currently doesn't have javascript enabled. To use this site please enable javascript!

Loading icon

Loading, please wait...

Please note our UK offices are open Monday to Thursday, all orders placed on Friday, Saturday or Sunday will be despatched on Monday.

We have temporarily suspended shipping to EU countries until we have clarification of new EU procedures regarding the import of our products.

Catch up time - long, long overdue

Posted by Shaun Harrison on 21 February 2024 |

Tags: , , , ,

Subscribe to receive notification when the latest blog posts are posted.

Yes, I know I have let these blog posts slip by the wayside, this one is so very much overdue, and I have no other excuses than my illness.

My last blog post was warning of tick bites and the nasty affects that Lymes Disease can have on you. Here I am, over half a year later and still quite ill.

20230818 165930 Copy

Still smiling after the tick bite

It seems to affect people in different ways. Myself, I have felt thoroughly drained with minimal energy, which for anyone who knew me before the bite, will know that wasn’t really me. Each day I battle to keep awake which has its own complications, I just can’t risk dozing off like most others can. Chances are I would never wake again. For the past 19 years I have suffered a quite severe case of sleep apnoea (I have to be forced to breathe whilst asleep) so have to connect to a CPAP machine before I can risk sleeping. This has never been a real issue in stopping me doing things other than having to carry much more gear with me whilst angling, to get me through a night. I do envy those with mild cases of sleep apnoea who can travel with small batteries and survive, plus those who tell me they don’t need to bother with their machines whilst angling. Myself, I am in a mess for days if I don’t get my hours in on it, or we haver a power cut etc.

Anyway, all this is simply leading on to the fact that my sleep has been monitored for 19 years now, so I know exactly how much sleep I have had each night and know my average (you can’t cheat an average). Since that tick bite, I now need an extra 2 hours sleep each night compared to what I had always needed in the past and this has lead on to affecting so much of what I do.

20230827 125304 Copy

The tiredness shows. I hadn't even managed to pull a hat on!

My angling in particular has suffered massively. It took some time for this to sink in. For year after year, I seemed to be on the same long-running lucky streak. I didn’t really give it a lot of thought and just presumed that because I had been doing it for so long, then I had become quite proficient at simply putting myself where the fish would be and offering a food source I knew they would eat on a rig that I knew would trick them into making their worst mistake of the day. I had never taken into account those fish I would hear in the night when others were asleep, or those extra ones I saw because I was looking. Those carp I caught because I could be bothered to do something about it when I spotted a tiny tell-tale sign. For over 10 years, I wrote a piece on the British Carp Study Group forum which ran as a bit of a diary type thing called ‘My Lucky Year So Far’. I always had plenty of fish to show and mixed the species up a bit too between carp, barbel, perch, pike, catfish and chub – there might have been a bit of grayling fishing and some double figure bream on cane rods too, as well as overseas stuff. Angling had become a natural thing, but I did a lot automatically, without even realising I was doing it. This is something that has only quite recently hit home to me. Hindsight and all of that. It isn’t always obvious at the time where you are getting it wrong, when you have been so used to getting it right.

20230820 204504 Copy

One of the few evenings after work I found the energy to pop out for a couple of hours.

After the Lymes kicked in, my catching deteriorated. Obviously, I was still catching some, but mostly on set traps, rather than opportunist captures where I had acted upon a clue. With energy levels so low, I was simply taking easy options each trip. Fishing swims that required minimal effort to fish and suddenly for the first time in my angling life, I was allowing myself to sleep in, rather than be up at daybreak looking for those clues that can give months of follow on success. If I were to get up at first light in summer like I always used to try and do, then I was fighting sleep for the rest of the day, so wasn’t functioning right at all.

20230930 114342 Copy

One of the few I actually acted upon and caught

My weekends on the bank had become my time to try and catch up with my newly required sleep patterns from through the week. For several years whilst not angling, I have got up in the mornings in order to do a 1 ½-2 hour field, wood and hill walk before work. This is my main exercise. The thought of visiting a gym is as appealing to me as working a machine in a factory. I don’t want to do it, so know I would never keep it up for long. Yet my outdoor excursions I love. I build a sweat up each morning, punish my legs and really stretch my breathing some mornings, depending upon which hill route I take. Pre-work was the only time I found I could be consistent in allowing myself time for doing this. I must admit, it did become much harder to get myself going in the mornings after that tick bite had started to poison my system and I even found myself some mornings having to roll back over to sleep, rather than get up and walk.

20230903 095032 Copy

most of my summer captures were just from trap setting and waiting.

January 10th I had some flesh cut away from the area that had been bitten, where my ankle and leg join, on the crease. I had been instructed to totally rest it whilst the stitches took hold and the wound started to heal, so this meant no walking and more sleeping during the week. This did mean though that for the first time for long while, I felt as though I had a little more energy at the weekends and suddenly that sighting that might or might not have been a carp, I could act upon. Rather than watching and thinking that if it shows again, I might do something about it.

The enforced lay off from my walking has made me realise that I must have simply been trying to do too much. Again, it is all hindsight stuff. I now know I need to try and re-arrange my body clock to retire earlier at night, to allow me to rise earlier in the morning, without being so totally mentally exhausted all the time. It has taken over half a year to accept that I just have to give in to the Lymes needing me to sleep two hours extra in order to even start to perform anything like I had always performed. Perhaps a little normality has simply kicked into place. The lung function doctors had always got onto me that I didn’t sleep long enough, my excuse was always that my average is obviously what I need, rather than what they had told me I needed. I have never been one who is able to just lay in bed once awake.

Well, a blog about a few home truths and a feeble excuse why I have not been blogging. Even my diaries which I have kept going since the late 70’s have for the first time got several big gaps in them. Diary keeping was always a pleasure for me. I simply enjoy pushing a fountain pen around a bit of paper and recording future easy to remember memories. Yet I was reaching for my diary and within a paragraph I was fighting my eyes to keep open and focussed. I now have lots of entries starting with ‘catch up time’.

20231203 104500 Copy

I have still fished just as much, just not as effectively

Lymes disease is a horrible thing. Please make sure you keep checking for ticks. Such tiny little creatures have one among their masses that will penetrate some pretty serious poison into your system. They are certainly no joke. I for one would never have thought that one little bite would have such a huge impact on my life, and I would never have believed how much it would lead on to affecting my angling.

20240217 074733 Copy

A mid-30 from last week-end (Magnum White)

Look after yourselves.

Best wishes as always
Shaun Harrison

About the Author: Shaun Harrison

shaun profile pic

Quest Baits boss Shaun Harrison has put over 40 years of experience into developing his range of carp baits ” This bait range is the culmination of the bait knowledge I’ve gained throughout my carp fishing career, a journey which started in the 1970’s. It has truly been a long and winding road – frustrating at times, fascinating and rewarding at others….. Our range you’ll only find proven baits, the ones I use myself 

comments powered by Disqus