Fly Fish to find Grace

Exploring your local waterway is nearly as helpful as fishing it for clearing your mind.

On this World Mental Health Day take some time to rejuvenate yourself and go fly fishing!

Fly fishing can easily be mistaken for escapism. We anglers fly off to far flung locations in search of fish we can fool into our nets with a small fly. Sure, many of these spots are spectacular, some of the most beautiful places in the world, so how can we be blamed. But for many, fly fishing is a respite that is hard to come by in the world today.

The news is a constant reminder of the detriments we face, and we here at TU can easily be lumped into that group. Warming rivers, decreasing habitat, constant battles against ill-conceived development and industry, and on and on. Combined with a war halfway across the world, threats to our safety even while attending school, never-ending in-fighting in our federal government (not to mention state and local governments as well), climate change and so many more topics, it’s a tough place to be a concerned citizen these days.

But when I hit the river, all of this is drowned by the sound of softly moving water.

Complete, singular focus helps us reset.

I pull on my waders, tie up my boots, string up my rod all with intent. I trudge to the water’s edge and slip into its cleansing current. I observe, take a few deep breaths and relax. I’m aware of my presence and relish in the calmness that overtakes my entire being.

Once I start fishing, I’m completely present. In the moment, watching my fly, scanning the current where my line drifts, adjusting and waiting. Then I do it all again, and again, and again.

Thoughts drift down with the current. My concerns no longer attack nor barrage me. I’m completely at peace.

Drifting along in a boat is a great way to enjoy time on the water.

Sure, the world still goes on in the background, but for those moments, and ideally hours, I’m satiated. My mind relaxed and readied to take on what awaits me back on land. Refreshed.

Fly fishing is what got me through cancer. It was something I could do no matter how crummy I felt. I could go through my routine to ready myself, slip into the water and let all the treatments, difficult decisions and next steps drift away. There were times when I got too tired or too dizzy to fish, so I cozied in on the bank and watched the water flow by. All in all, it was some of the best, most relaxing and most rejuvenating times I had during my journey.

Sometimes the beauty alone along a river is enough to reset our mind frames.

Escapism – maybe for some time, but overall fly fishing provides the ability to face our crazy world with more grace and ease.

On this World Mental Health Day, we here at TU encourage you to get out and fish if you can. Hit up your urban pond or ditch, go practice your cast in your local park or just sit by some moving water and reflect and revive your whole being. If you can’t do it today, make sure the next time you go out is powerful in bringing you to the present to help you reset and take on another day.  

By Kara Armano. After inheriting the fishing bug from her dad at a young age, fly fishing has taken a central part in Kara's life for over 30…