Until recently, fly fishing has carried a reputation of being a sport for old rich men. You know the guy I’m talking about: successful businessman who spends long weekends at his vacation cabin, fishing in goofy waders with a big ol’ hat. While big and floppy hats are making a comeback, the fly fishing demographic is changing. It’s now occupied with adventure and outdoor enthusiasts, ski bums biding their time until the slopes open and the fastest growing demographic, women. Believe it or not, fly fishing isn’t just an old man’s sport anymore. Hell, even fly fishing videos have become popular! Who would have thought that watching someone stand knee deep in a river, casting a ball of thread, would be so entertaining and dare we say – exhilarating? I have attended numerous fly fishing film events, watched countless hours of fly fishing videos and have even taken part in creating FlyCast’s first video. Side note - it’s still in the works, but we can’t wait to unveil it soon! While the videos are entertaining and inspiring, one message has stuck out to me the most:
Many of the films being produced right now contain a message that exposes the deep passion and romance of the sport and how it’s touched the lives of the anglers. It may shock you at first to hear a fly angler gushing about the positive impact something as simple as fishing has had on their life. However, once you give it a shot, you quickly find yourself recognizing the hidden benefits that come from ditching your fast-paced lifestyle, immersing yourself in nature and being a part of something you can’t control the outcome of. Here are four health benefits – physical and mental – that can be gained from fly fishing:
- Stress Relief: Regardless of your professional industry or the location of your office, the daily grind adds stress to our lives that adds up over time. While happy hours, exercise and Netflix binge sessions are common solutions, I’ve come to find that getting out on the river and fishing for a couple hours is the ultimate cure. It can feel great to disconnect from the crazy world around us and lucky for you, most Colorado rivers fall outside of cell phone range, which helps eliminate any temptation to check emails or texts. There’s a saying that trout don’t live in ugly places and I find this to be true, especially in Colorado. Getting outside, taking in fresh air and standing in a river surrounded by beautiful landscapes will be all you need to let go of your stress.
- Practice makes perfect and patience takes practice: Anxiety can be caused by many things and many of us experience different levels of this. For me, anxiety comes from needing to get everything done as fast as possible and to race everywhere I go. Fly fishing, especially in rivers, forces you to slow down in every aspect. Have you ever tried to speed through tying on your flies, untangling a knot that resembles a birds nest or move quickly through the river? I have and trust me, it results in poorly tied flies, a trout breaking off, worse knots in your line and dunking yourself in the river. Whether you like it or not, fly fishing forces you slow down and focus on the task in front of you. I’m no yoga enthusiast, but from what I’ve heard from my wife, repeatedly casting a fly to a slow moving seam and waiting on the slightest twitch in your line delivers a similar calming awareness to your own movement and to the environment around you. Patience isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
- Improve Discipline: Fishing is a sport similar to golf, in that I believe no one can truly master it. Sure, there are anglers who have refined their skills to the point that they rarely get skunked and consistently land trophy worthy trout, but no one can say they’ve mastered fly fishing. Improving as a fly angler requires discipline and that comes in the form of continued learning and diligence. Taking the time to understand the behavior of trout and learning to acknowledge when it’s time to switch up the flies you swore would work, is all a part of the discipline you learn from fly fishing.
- It’s all about the Vitamin D: This one is plain and simple – your body needs vitamin D to operate and natural sunlight is critical to this. Despite all the cool benefits you get from your desk job, ample access to vitamin D probably isn’t one of them. Ditch your cubicle, get out from under the florescent light and go fishing. Unless you’re in the Pacific Northwest, odds are, you’ll get plenty!