There are tons of articles, pictures, videos and social media posts about fly fishing pertaining to where to fish, how to fish, what species to fish for and when to fish for locations around the world. What you don’t see as often is what are the benefits of fly fishing. I’m referring to the health benefits such as physical, mental, spiritual and social health. I personally know of many benefits I receive that I’ll give my non-medical observation on in this article. There are also links at the bottom of my observations to many great articles others have studied and observed as well.
Mental Benefits – Standing in a cool river surrounded by beautiful scenery, blue skies, white puffy clouds and birds chirping in the trees can really bring peace to your thoughts. I have felt that mental recharge after spending time on the White River fly fishing. I feel the stresses of life just float down the river. My mind clears as I concentrate on the beauty of the world instead of the busyness and chaos I live and work in. It makes me happy, alert and ready for another busy work week. You can really leave your stress and anxiety at the river and return home reenergized and at peace.
Physical Benefits – Sometimes I don’t think I get that much of a physical workout on an outing. On a typical outing I might walk around 200 yards to the water and then move 100 yards up and down the water for several hours. Doesn’t seem like all that much activity even though my back is pretty tired when I’m done. I’ve worn my smart watch a few times while fly fishing and I was surprised at how many steps it recorded, like 10,000. I don’t know if I really walked that much overall or just moved that much because of all the casting and catching, but I was still surprised to see it record 10,000 steps. I know my legs, arms and core get some love because they are often tired after an outing. The legs feel it from the standing and walking in the moving water and also from navigating through the gravel and slick rocks. Your arms are continuously moving as you cast and mend and bring in a fish. Your core is constantly engaged as you try to keep your balance in this foreign environment. So there is something to be said about the physical benefits of just just being up and about and moving and not just sitting around all weekend drinking beer and watching NFL or college football.
Spiritual Benefits – I listen to Christian music every time I head out fishing in the morning. I get reception from a great radio station for the first 20 minutes of my river commute. I pray for safety and forgiveness and praise Jesus for all the blessings I have received. It’s a great way to start a day. Then I get to the beautiful river and get reminded again of His glory, beauty and creativity. It’s crazy to think that Jesus’ first 4 disciples were fisherman. Why fisherman, because they are good story tellers (liars, haha)? I’ve read commentary that said fisherman were a dedicated, loyal, hard working, wise, and respected people in there community. Jesus wanted those life skills to help further His ministry, so he first chose fisherman. My life verse is Psalm 46:10, “Be Still, and know that I am God”. I tend to over think and want to get stuff done now, but God has to remind me that I need to wait on His timing, provision and guidance to take care of the situation. Activity doesn’t always equal productivity. His way is ALWAYS better than mine! I also like that verse for fishing because sometimes you need to be still to not spook the fish and you have to know (have confidence) in your fly selection and casting and presentation to hook and land the fish.
Social Benefits: I love that fly fishing can be a solitary sport as well as a time to be with friends, family or total strangers. I love equally my time fishing alone and with others. I love the quiet, but I also enjoy a great conversation. I always have such great conversations on the river and they aren’t always about fishing. When I fish with someone it is a special time to talk about literally anything under the sun. You can cuss and discuss, laugh or vent and the subject could be about apples to zebras and everything in between. I learn so much about the people I’m with or around. I have made some great friendships with people I’ve met on the river.
Hope you enjoyed my observations and maybe someday soon you will contact me to book your fly fishing trip on the White River near Eureka Springs. All experience levels are welcomed and all equipment is provided.
Be Trout Tough!
Here are links to others great observations and thoughts about the health benefits of fly fishing.
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