Fishing for a Parkinson’s Victory

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by Lori DePorter |

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Sometimes you’re living life to the fullest and forgetting Parkinson’s while doing something you never expected. Recently, for me, it was fishing — something outside my comfort zone.

Fishing — really?

My first adventure was last summer with friends who wanted to share their love of fishing. It was a spur-of-the-moment trip to Cayuga Lake, one of New York’s Finger Lakes. My husband, Mike, and I thought it was crazy. Our idea of fishing is standing next to a lake, not fly-fishing in a river or on a boat.

Our 5 a.m. wake-up call required me to carefully plan my medications for the day. I took my first dose early so I could get moving for a 6 a.m. launch. We were off and cruising … and cruising … not a bite for the first hour.

Eventually, we found our spot and each managed to pull in a lake trout. We had hoped for salmon and the elusive rainbow trout, but they weren’t biting. Maybe next year.

This summer, we had planned a vacation to the Finger Lakes with our three sons, Adam, Ryan, and Zachary. However, as the trip grew closer and travel restrictions continued, we learned that two of our boys couldn’t come with us. We were disappointed, but grateful that Ryan and his girlfriend, Kat, were able to join us.

It was a great trip with family hikes, kayak adventures, wine tastings, and s’mores around the fire, but it wasn’t the same. I’m already planning the next one when we can all be together.

Fishing again?

Ryan loves to fish, so we planned another fishing trip. With rain in the forecast, we headed to Dick’s Sporting Goods and purchased rain ponchos. We were ready, but we didn’t need them. It was a beautiful sunrise.

But the fish weren’t biting. For the first two hours, nothing was on the fish finder. “Here fishy, fishy” just wasn’t working.

Captain Jim was getting nervous, and then it happened: the first bite. Reeling in the first catch of the day, Ryan was surprised it was so difficult. I was next. Captain Jim handed me the reel and told me it had numbers indicating how much line was in the water. It read 300 feet! I hunkered down and got ready to “reel down and pull up” to get that bad boy in the boat.

About five minutes later, a 9.5-pound, 30-inch fish was on the boat. He was half my height! Those five minutes were harder than a one-hour workout. The tremors in my arms, hands, and legs were evidence of my fatigued muscles. But it was a Parkinson’s victory moment.

The fish continued to bite, and we all took turns manning the rods. A few got away, but we all managed to catch dinner and fill our cooler. I had one last shot before we headed back to shore. Captain Jim handed me the rod, but the reel had no numbers. This one was over 500 feet off the boat.

I didn’t think I would be able to do it. But Captain Jim called me “gritty,” Ryan steadied the rod, and Mike and Kat cheered. I finally got it into the boat, tremors and all. It was a rainbow trout!

(Courtesy of Lori DePorter)

Our day was complete. The best part wasn’t the fish, it was the moment my son cheered his mom to one of her greatest Parkinson’s victories.

We all have victory stories. They come in all shapes and sizes. Find your victory, but also remember to treasure the moment you were living your best life.


Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


Dolores avatar


Reading You always bring tears.?

Lori DePorter avatar

Lori DePorter

I hope you smile too!

Lori DePorter avatar

Lori DePorter

A note from the author... the Dick’s Sporting Goods store we visited was the “original “ store located in Binghamton, NY.


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