"The mission of Casting for Recovery 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. The retreats offer opportunities for women to find inspiration, discover renewed energy for life and experience healing connections with other women and nature. Casting for Recovery’s retreats are open to breast cancer survivors of all ages, in all stages of treatment and recovery, and are free to participants." - From the Casting For Recovery website.The ladies of from the Music City Fly Girls put on another outstanding Casting For Recovery event this year. This year they even let me guide for the event. My fishing partner for the day was Dakota, who said her goal was to catch "just one fish". Well I think we all know how that one goes. We started off swinging a small streamer. After a couple short strikes we decided to nymph-up that "one fish".
We worked on the cast over the next several minutes. Then as everyone knows mending is where the rubber meets the road when nymphing. I have always said kids mend better than anyone. Well, that was until Sunday. I told Dakota one time "flip the line upstream" and she executed the perfect mend. Naturally I thought it was beginner's luck. Then over the next several hours she completed the perfect mend over and over. I couldn't have been more proud, even though I really didn't have much to do with her newly perfected mend.
After several good drifts Dakota hooked-up with her first rainbow. After a decisive fight Dakota brought her first rainbow to hand. The Fly Girls took the appropriate photos and we released that rainbow. Dakota immediately said the words we all like to hear..."Let's catch another one". She took the fly rod again and she began her ritual of cast, mend, float...point the rod tip at the water and follow the fly.
We caught other fish, but one sticks out in my mind. It was the one fish that I was totally looking for a hawk that had been flying overhead for several minutes. Fortunately Dakota was paying attention and she did everything perfectly. Setting the hook, fighting the fish and bringing it to hand, Dakota did it all. Before the day was over Dakota had exceed one goal after another and when we were called for lunch we both left the river satisfied.
If you have read down this far you've seen several other participants and guides. The participants stayed several nights at the retreat and built a sisterhood. There are many different fly fishing related activities, but there are also support activities. These events are about more than just catching fish that's for sure.
The guides are there because they want to be a part of something. The fact it is such an outstanding event makes it just a little easier to get going on the morning of the event. The guides I get a chance to work with for the event are some of the best folks in fly fishing. It is always a pleasure to work with the different guides who volunteer and this year we actually had more guides volunteer than we had participants. Middle Tennessee is home to a great group of fly fishing people who want to help out when needed. Thanks to all the guides who volunteered and let's do it again next year.