Fishing TROUT Magazine

'Fly fishing has been the ideal mechanism for coping'

Dr. Alexander Vu
Dr. Vu is an Emergency Room Physician; Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; and Director of International Emergency Medicine at Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health.

“Fly fishing has it all—physical exercise, mental relief, lifelong learning and a chance to share the passion with others. It’s all-encompassing.”

Dr. Alexander Vu

Alex Vu and his family fled Vietnam in 1979 after the war and communist takeover, and landed in America as refugees. It was his experience as a stranger in a strange land that led him to work with other refugees as part of his medical practice. “I was fortunate enough to become a doctor, and I wanted to give to others who’ve been through the most tremendous stress imaginable. Working at the fringe of extreme situations for 20 years, I’ve seen people in their worst states.”

What are you really fishing for?

This summer, TU is asking “What are you REALLY fishing for?”

The answer goes well beyond the fish on the line.

In the midst of the pandemic, people have taken to the outdoors. Many have found fishing, and have discovered what anglers have long known: Standing in a river casting a fly rod may beat any therapy that money can buy.

Watch this space for stories of doctors, nurses, military veterans, and others finding solace and mindfulness while catching beautiful fish in beautiful places.

What are you really fishing for?

This summer, TU is asking “What are you REALLY fishing for?”

The answer goes well beyond the fish on the line.

In the midst of the pandemic, people have taken to the outdoors. Many have found fishing, and have discovered what anglers have long known: Standing in a river casting a fly rod may beat any therapy that money can buy.

Watch this space for stories of doctors, nurses, military veterans, and others finding solace and mindfulness while catching beautiful fish in beautiful places.

Working in emergency medicine during the COVID pandemic has been almost as stressful.  “The vulnerability of people in need in America during the pandemic has shown that our health system is broken, our safety net is broken. Fly fishing has been the ideal mechanism for coping.”

Dr. Vu has been a fly fisherman for a long time. “Everything about it falls in line with my beliefs. Once I pick up the rod, I stop thinking about everything else. It’s a respite from all the stressors. There’s an increasing library of medical literature that speaks to the benefits of outdoor recreation. Fly fishing has it all—physical exercise, mental relief, lifelong learning and a chance to share the passion with others. It’s all-encompassing.”

One recent immigrant who has reason to fear Dr. Vu—the snakehead. He’s been perfecting his presentations to subdue this invasive species around his home in Maryland.