Last weekend, I was honored to participate in a Casting for Recovery retreat at Black Butte Ranch as a River Helper.
Black Butte Pond
The goal of Casting for Recovery (CFR) is “to enhance the quality of life of women with breast cancer through a unique program that combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing.”
Participants are pampered for a few days. Casting for Recovery hopes women find:
- inspiration from other participants
- find renewed energy for life
- experience healing connections with other women and nature
And it just so happens October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
And then there’s the fly fishing…
Fourteen women learned to tie knots…cast…tie a few flies…and identify bugs.
While I didn’t teach any of these classes, I was the kick net “chief operator” in the river and brought a few live aquatic insects – stoneflies nymphs, mayflies nymphs, and caddis larva – for my wife Karen to use in her bug class. I understand they had a fabulous time watching these bugs swim and walk in the plastic containers.
And speaking of my wife, she’s kicked cancer in the butt! I’m proud of her for her strength and determination.
She decided not to let cancer define her. She doesn’t dwell on it anymore. She lives life to it’s fullest everyday. In fact, we both do.
And she shows that on the river. She is a great fisherman…I mean fishergirl!
She wears pink a lot on the river. And she fishes with a pink Ross Reel.
If you fish the Metolius River, you may have seen this pink reel. Fly fishermen who fish on the Met see “that girl” using a pink reel, but don’t think much about it…until they see her cast and catch BIG fish!
But back to CFR.
These ladies had a great day fly fishing. They used skills learned in the previous couple of days and tried to catch a fish. They tied their own flies on the leader. And they cast…and cast…and cast…full of anticipation a fish would eat their fly.
We saw a few swimming around, but no takers that day. In spite of no fish, I hope I was able to teach a little ZEN fly fishing to my fly fisher.
And perhaps a few others found their own ZEN. There was pure JOY on their faces.
I know a few will fish again…
I am in awe of their courage and happy to share my love of fly fishing with them. I hope I’m able to pay it forward in some small way to help in their healing. I hope they find their own ZEN.
So I’ll leave you with a Carrie Steven’s fly I tied last year. It’s called a Pink Beauty.