Anyone who has given fly fishing more than a cursory try knows it’s not just a sport or activity, but a restorative. The quiet, the rhythm, the science, the outdoors, the fish — one or all somehow manage to press the “calm” button. You’ll leave the stream or lake clearer-minded and lighter of heart than you arrived.
That said, it’s no easy jump to suggest fly fishing is an all-purpose curative, and especially for Americans who have been in combat. But easy is not what support groups that use the sport for just such a purpose are about.
Sun Valley Adaptive Sports, based in Ketchum, Idaho, put on a clinic for combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and combat injuries. It’s not necessary to be there to implicitly understand, through this 19-minute film from explore, that a matter of five days and some caring people can make a difference in others’ lives. It’s also revealing to come to know to some degree soldiers who have served overseas in our country’s name, their personalities and the effect both combat and this effort have on them.
Two things: Don’t cheat yourself of a small part of the experience — turn up the volume and close your eyes for 30 seconds when you’re cued; and get a load of the lunker at the 15-minute mark.