I have been thinking a lot recently about fishing and its ability to produce a positive state of mind. For example take a look at the amazing story of Casting for Recovery and other organisations such as Fishing for Heroes or the Warriors & Quiet Waters foundation.
In my line of work I often meet people who use fishing as a kind of life remedy. Hopefully in most cases not because they are dealing with something as life changing as the big C or an injury sustained in battle, but just to help them get away from it all.
And what about the more serious stuff, like disease or indeed perhaps one of the most negative of thought processes, grief? Earlier this year I was contacted by a lady who had lost her Dad suddenly to cancer and wanted to organise a fishing day in his memory. The idea was to spend some time with her mother learning how to cast a fly, using the tackle that her Dad had left behind. He had been an avid fisherman, introducing his daughter to coarse fishing at an early age before finding a passion for fly fishing.
Over the course of that weekend casts were made and Trout were caught but most important of all; they remembered good times. A short while afterwards they sent me a bottle of bubbly and a card. Inside was a note to say that the daughter had arranged with her mother to meet up and go fishing again. Isn’t that an incredibly positive outcome to arise from such sad times?
On Friday last week Bill walked through the door. Three years previously he had walked through the very same door to try fly fishing, purchased some gear and headed home expecting to use it. Then he was struck down with a condition which effected his walking. The new tackle lay unused. It would have been easy for Bill to give up on the idea and maybe even sell the tackle. But no, this did not even cross his mind.
At this point I should mention that Bill is 72, has been a fighter pilot and a successful businessman. He is still working full time, has recovered from cancer and has Parkinsons disease. I found his determination inspirational, especially as during the day we encountered just about four seasons with a huge hail storm thrown in for good measure.
There was no stopping Bill and finally his glass half full attitude paid off when the line snapped tight and a Trout was hooked. I think we lost 3 before one finally stuck. It was just brilliant to see him so happy and as if by magic even the fishery lit up. I am in no way religious and don’t believe for one moment that it was any kind of “sign”, but it did provide a memorable end to the day.
Of course it all depends on what particular passions we have but being a little biased I really do believe that fishing allows us to wander off into our thoughts and have a positive impact on our lives, sometimes in the most difficult of circumstances.