On Feb. 9 I listened to Travis Perret of Overland Park, Kansas, present one of the most important and instructive fishing seminars that I have ever witnessed, and I have seen a lot of them across my 73 years.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="524" caption="Travis Perret at the beginning of his Topeka Boat and Outdoor Show seminar."][/caption]
Yet I was disheartened. The reason why I was dejected stemmed from the fact that only a dozen of the thousand or so of folks who ambled around the Topeka Boat and Outdoor Show listened to Perret's informative words, and there wasn't an angler within the confines of the Kansas Expocenter, which housed the show, who wouldn't have profited from listening and eventually abiding to what Perret had to say about chronic pain and how it affects anglers. In fact, there is not an angler in all of northeastern Kansas or even the entire nation who wouldn't become a better angler if they would do what Perret suggested they do.
Perret is an ardent angler and director of the Exercise Therapy of Kansas City and an Egoscue affliliate.
My wife, Pat, and I have been devotees of Perret since Feb. 14, 2006, when we were in our mid-sixties and Perret was director of the Egoscue Center of Kansas City. Since then, my angling abilities have improved significantly, as have Pat's tennis pursuits, because of Perret's help.
He did this by working with me to conquer the chronic pain that afflicted my shoulders, elbows, back, feet and jaw. He helped Pat tame and stop the pain that afflicted her knees and several joints. Nowadays, we don't need to alleviate our joint pain with pharmaceutical products. Instead, we use the series of exercises that Perret periodically designs for us, and he even has some exercises that have assuaged headaches and vertigo. In addition, he has also helped two of our four children who have been afflicted with shoulder, back and feet pains.
But it is not a quick fix. We have to spend 25 to 45 minutes a day doing the exercises. And since Feb. 14, 2006, there have been only four days that I have failed to do a series of exercises, which Perret describes as "non-evasive low demand stretches and strengthening exercises."
At the Topeka seminar, Perret explained that an angler's body can be adversely affected by the pounding and jarring that occurs during high-speed boat rides, by standing on one leg while operating a trolling motor, and by casting and retrieving. Gravity also works on the angler's body, causing his neck, shoulders, back, hips, knees, ankles and feet to become misaligned. When the alignment of an angler's body goes awry, pain is likely to erupt, which affects the angler's physical and mental performance, and that can limit the number and size of fish an angler can catch. Throughout his seminar, Perret exclaimed several times that chronic pain is not a disease and it can be fixed. He also urged anglers to stop using age as an excuse for their pains.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="524" caption="Travis Perret showed his audience at the Topeka Boat and Outdoor Show how gravity affects an angler's body, causing his neck, shoulder, back and hips to sag. He described it as a dysfunctional state that will eventually erupt into chronic pain in a variety of spots, such as hands, wrists, elbows, necks, shoulder, backs, hips, knees, ankles and feet."][/caption]
Besides telling the anglers that their pain can be fixed without surgery and frequent doses of pain medications, he artfully described why anglers are afflicted with pain. He explained that the body works as a unit, and therefore "the site of the pain is often not the source of the pain. For example, if an angler has back pain it might be because his hips are uneven or his shoulders are not level. An angler might not have shoulder pain or hip pain but his hips and shoulders could be the cause of his back pain."
Perret pointed out that muscles move bones. And his exercises are designed to educate the muscles to move the bones correctly. The education of muscle is a process, which does not occur overnight. In fact, he works with pain-ridden anglers for 12 weeks. During those 84 days, the anglers will exercise everyday and every two weeks, he will design a new series of exercises. The reason why it is necessary to change the exercises every two weeks is that an angler's body will start to plateau and all of the dysfunctional elements wouldn't be addressed. At the end of the 12 weeks, when the angler's pain has abated, Perret will design a series of exercises that he calls a maintenance program that will help the angler maintain good posture and better balance, which will keep the pain at bay.
In sum, Perret is a talented coach who can help anglers fix their chronic pain by going to the heart of the problem, which is accomplished by correcting their postural alignment and muscle balance. And as he often says: "Persistency and consistency lie at the heart of making these changes," and although he will support and tutor each pain-ridden angler, he says it is the angler's responsibility to diligently execute the exercises.
For several weeks after Perret's seminar, I was extremely disappointed that Perret's seminar wasn't packed to the brim with anglers, but Perret wasn't. He explained that what he does is so counterintuitive and contrary to what the pharmaceutical companies, surgeons, general practitioners and physical therapists tell pain-ridden anglers about how to fix their pains or live with those pains that he is often dismissed as a quack. Therefore, most folks at sport shows ignore his seminars, and even a few walk out after listening to his introduction, assuming that he could not help them catch more fish.
What's more, even if hundreds of anglers attended Perret's seminars and wanted him to help them, he readily admitted that he wouldn't have enough time during a normal week to coach and support all of those anglers who are afflicted with pain.
After pondering Perret's response about the paltry turnout at his seminar, I eventually came to peace with what occurred. Moreover, I have been heartened by Perret's work with Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kansas, and Luke Clausen of Spokane Valley, Washington, and I eventually realized that Perret possesses a rare talent for working with professional anglers and the various pains that afflict them. And this might be where his future in angling might be.
Chapman began working with Perret in early August of 2011 and worked steadily with him two to three times a week until the 2012 Bassmaster season commenced in early February. Perret and Chapman focused 0n exercises that prevented fatigue and pain from confounding Chapman during the extremely demanding hours he had to endure when he was competing in a bass tournament. Then when Chapman was on the road Perret gave him a series of maintenance exercises to do, and when he returned home for a short spell during the season, Perret worked one-on-one with again, helping Chapman address some of the pains that had erupted since early February. During Chapman's grueling eight-month season, he won the Bassmaster Elite Series event at Toledo Bend Reservoir, Texas, Bassmaster Bass Pro Shops Central Open tourney at Lewisville Lake, Texas, and the coveted 2012 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. And Chapman says his work with Perret played an instrumental role in his 2012 tournament achievements.
Perret crossed paths with Clausen at the 2012 Bassmaster Classic. Clausen is 34 years old, and he has been competing on professional bass tournament circuits since 2003. He captured the coveted Forrest Wood Cup trophy during his rookie season on the FLW circuit in 2004. Then in 2006, he won the Bassmaster Classic. Since 2005, he has been bothered with back, elbow pains and a variety of other pain issues. His most prominent pain has been inflammation around his right elbow, and in August of 2007 a surgeon worked on it to no avail.
In March Perret designed two series of exercises for Clausen, and on Mar. 20, he told Perret that he is doing them and likes them. On April 10, Clausen said after four long days of practice at Walmart FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake, Arkansas, that his upper back felt good, his elbow pain hadn't flared up, his posture was erect, and his entire body felt stronger than it used to feel after four days of practice. His major problem, however, is finding time to do the exercises when he is on the road and competing in tournaments, noting that he has to get up a half of an hour earlier in order to do them. Even though he is feeling better, it probably won't be until June or July that his muscles and bones are functioning properly. So as Clausen's 2013 season unfolds, we will try to keep tract of his progress on becoming a pain-free angler and report about what is transpiring with his pain woes.
After Chapman won the 2012 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year, his off-season was extremely busy. And once the 2013 season started, the days between tournaments have been chock full, too. Therefore, he hasn't been able to spend a lot of time with Perret, and because of the time constraints revolving around his heavy traveling schedule, he hasn't been able to be as diligent as he was in 2012 in doing the maintenance exercises that Perret designed for him to do while he was traveling. Consequently, he says that he is not as fit and pain free as he was in 2012
Chapman returned home during the first week of April, and on April 3, Chapman and Perret invited me to a workout session. So I could get a better idea of what Chapman has to do, I joined him as Perret put us through 50 minutes of rigorous stretching exercises.
Before our session began, Chapman told Perret that he has been plagued by some harsh inflammation slightly below his elbow, and during the workout, they talked about a few other problems that have cropped up this year, which he says shows how demanding the Bassmaster's Elite Series tournaments are on anglers' bodies. After our session, Chapman gave me one more example of how strenuous and trying tournament fishing can be by noting that he lost nine pounds while competing in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic at Grand Lake on Feb. 22-23, and as of April 3, he had not regained those nine pounds.
Anglers who do not live in the Kansas City area can work with Perret via e-mail (email@example.com) and telephone (913-424-9354). He will also be traveling to the Bassmaster Elite tournament at Bull Shoals and FLW tournament at Grand Lake. At those two events, he can talk to anglers about his methods, and it will be worth every pain-ridden angler's time to listening to him. Not only can Perret keep anglers like Chapman in topnotch physical shape and pain free in order to fish big-time tournaments, he can fix old anglers like me, allowing me to fish pain free for 125 or more days a year. By executing the series of exercises that Perret designs, anglers can remedy problems that renown orthopedic surgeons say can be fixed only by radical surgery, such as knee or hip replacements. But despite what the medical establishment contends, Perret's methods can rebuild the cartilage in a knee that has become devoid of cartilage, which is described as a "bone-on-bone knee." (For more information see footnote No.3 below.) He can heal hip and vertebrae woes.
At the age of 73, I am in better shape than I was at 53 and 63. To keep oneself in the physical shape that Chapman is in or pain free as I am takes constant work, but it is better than suffering through all of the ordeals of surgery and the harmful effects that pain medication renders on one's body, mind and soul.
(1) Here's a link to Perret's Web sites: http://exercisetherapykc.com/ and http://www.felixfishing.com/ In addition to his work with Chapman Clausen, Perret has worked with Stacey King, who competes in the Wallmart FLW Tour and Kevin Hawk who fishes the Bassmaster circuits.
(2) Across the years, I have written many words about Perret's methods and genius at helping anglers deal with pain that have appeared in newspaper colums and In-Fisherman, and since 2012, I have written four blogs about him. In addition, I continue to be so impressed with his work that it is likely that I will write many more words about him in the future.
Here's a link to the blogs about Perret's work with Brent Chapman: https://www.in-fisherman.com/2012/02/14/brent-chapman-and-travis-perret-team-up/; https://www.in-fisherman.com/2012/04/24/brent-chapman-and-travis-perret-team-up-an-update/; https://www.in-fisherman.com/2012/11/14/egocuse-perret-and-me-an-update/
Here's a link to a blog about my pains and dealings with Travis Perret: https://www.in-fisherman.com/2012/02/20/perret-egoscue-and-me-my-quest-for-pain-free-fishing/