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Article updated: 2/20/2013 12:39 PM

Cabin fever got you down? Join the club

By Mike Jackson

Every day I inch closer and closer to those magic moments when the air outside starts to smell sweeter and fresher than the biting slaps in the face from our unfriendly winters.

How foolish I have been to have let the warmer breezes escape me when the collusive layers of warm and cooler air (pressure systems) took their road show south of the Mason-Dixon Line on the way to the Florida Keys.

My mind always plays tricks on me at this time year (every year, for that matter), and I am left with nothing but a vivid imagination and nightly dreams of aquatic combat.

I literally ache for the freedom of the cast. I hunger for the onslaught of adrenaline while rediscovering hidden corners of my body that have grown weary from tightened muscles and chapped hands.

How strange it was when I appeared like a chalk outline on the ground, in the crosswalk, right close to a large, neighborhood grocery store.

I was staring up at the sky, on my back, wondering if the moments before were nothing more than a bad dream. I had been hit by a careless motorist who told a police officer she didn't see me in the crosswalk.

All I thought about was the pain in my shoulder, and whether I'd be able to handle a fly rod the rest of the year.

And when the CT scans showed what I had feared, I reluctantly pulled the plug on a half-dozen fishing trips.

And so the physical therapy ensued, and yet the pains and achy moments reminded me that my summer flyrodding wasn't going anywhere except up in smoke. Sure, I could gingerly handle a spinning rod, but not the fly gear.

What am I doing with myself? I grew up in this crummy climate and endured for a lot of years, all because I was constantly taught that this was where people made money. So I put up with it, all of it, standing in bus stop slush, water ruining my slacks and lodge owners (at the old Amphitheater shows) hawking the benefits of their places.

There have been many days like the ones I'm suffering through now.

In a different neighborhood but at this same time of year, I would spot a neighbor heading for his back patio. Dressed in nothing but a long robe, he would give himself a pedicure, relieving the burden of Jurassic-like toenails (ugh). I knew this because he always bragged about his pedi-tools, extra-sharp to a fault.

But the real neighborly threat came whenever he saw me limbering up my casting arm with a 9-foot fly rod.

I once gave him fly casting lessons. I let him practice with a beautiful 5-weight rod and reel, the gear I used in New Zealand to catch brown trout. His practice line was devoid of hooks, but that didn't prepare me for what followed.

He subsequently hooked a wooden fence and broke the fragile tool into three pieces.

I suggested he return to his patio and polish his nails.

Anyway, I weighed the possibilities as to whether I would be more depressed if I went to the storage area to check on my new boat. It looked peaceful and serene, if such qualities can be assigned to a hunk of aluminum, and I checked everything just to be sure.

When I got home I headed for the fishing room, a place unto its own in my basement. I scanned the rods and, in doing so, I felt the right rotator cuff give me a twinge of caution.

I left the room in total resignation, thinking that once again I may not be able to break the spell of angling doom.

Perhaps I should get a Mani-Pedi at a local shop and simply be done with all the spring extracurricular activities.

ŸContact Mike Jackson at angler88@comcast.net, and catch his radio show 6-7 a.m. Sundays on WSBC 1240-AM and live-streamed at www.mikejacksonoutdoors.com.

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