What is your favorite wellness activity?
Fly fishing, particularly in saltwater. Any fishing, for that matter, is good for me.
How long have you been doing it?
I started casting a fly rod in my first year of medical school – 1992. But I’ve been fishing my entire life with my dad and grandfather. I Started when I was 4 years old on a farm pond on my grandparents’ property.
How did you get started?
A colleague in medical school was a former fly fishing guide in Montana. He suggested I try it when he found out my lifelong interest in fishing. He gave me some basic tips and told me what type of outfit to buy to get started. I taught myself how to cast in a soccer practice field behind my apartment at Ohio University. My first fish was a bluegill on a farm pond in Athens Ohio. Then I happened to see a Sunday morning TV show on ESPN, The Walker’s Key Chronicles, about fly fishing in saltwater. Today, I live and work in Florida largely because of that show.
How does this activity impact your mental, physical, and / or emotional well-being?
It’s a physical and cognitive game that requires you to block a lot of stuff out and really focus on the task at hand. It’s similar to trauma surgery in that respect, but there are no bad outcomes with fly fishing. Either the fish eats or he takes off, but no one is complaining either way. It gives me a chance to pause and slow down. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with nature and really enjoy some beautiful locations, sights, and sounds.
How does this activity bring wellness to your life when other activities have not?
It’s quiet! No one is calling or texting or paging. I lift weights and participate in MMA and jiu-jitsu, but there is noise. When it’s just you and the fish, life gets real simple for a few hours.