A sick feeling

A year ago last Saturday, professional bass fisherman Mark Menendez was diagnosed with viral meningitis. He suffered a serious infection of the fluid in the spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain, and was hospitalized for a lengthy period of time. After four months of recovery, Menendez was finally getting back to what is called everyday life.

"The recuperation period has been a very long one consisting of very short fishing trips," admitted Menendez. "I'll throw Barkley (his dog) in the boat and we'll go fishing from about daylight to 10 o'clock."

His time off the water didn't seem to retract anything from his ability to catch fish. At his very first event back, the Southern Open of 2005 on West Point Lake in Alabama, Menendez went out and put enough pounds in the boat to win the tournament. That victory propelled him into the Open Championship on the Alabama River where he finished tied for 5th place with Matt Reed. Menendez edged out Reed in tiebreaker for a spot in the Classic.

Menendez attests to still having durability and longevity problems during the course of the fishing day. Upon arriving at the Classic, health problems have arisen again but not stemming from his illness a year ago.

"I come to the Classic after making the health recovery and I've got some kind of intestinal bug that has been very pesky at best," Menendez stated. "I was up all night on Wednesday just reading the wallpaper."

Bassmaster.com wanted to know just how good or bad his health was, so before takeoff this morning Menendez was equipped with a Polar heart rate monitor. The device will record data such as his heart rate every five seconds, his maximum heart rate, calorie expenditure and much more throughout the course of the fishing day.

"It will be unique to see what the heart monitor does because I am so tired and don't feel very well right now," said Menendez. "We may find out that I don't even have a pulse."

Stay tuned for results of Mark Menendez's heart and health.