Discover the spiritual potential hidden in every cast of the fly rod.
"For us, fly-fishing is about more than catching fish. We have been skunked on the stream too many times to count, and stood shivering in our waders in 45-degree water long after sundown. Yet, every chance we get, we head back to the river in search of trout and something more."
—from Rabbi Eric's Introduction
"Early in my fly-fishing career I remember telling a friend that there is so much to learn! Some forty years later, that is still true. Every trip I learn something new about rivers, fish and the natural world. Most importantly, I learn something new about myself. Every encounter with the waters of our planet draws me deeper into who I am and who I want to become."
—from Reverend Mike's Introduction
In this unique exploration of fly-fishing as a spiritual practice, an Episcopal priest and a rabbi share what fly-fishing has to teach us about reflection, awe and the wonder of the natural world, the benefits of solitude, the blessing of community and the search for the Divine. Tapping the wisdom in the Christian and Jewish traditions and their own geographically diverse experiences on the water, they show how time spent on the stream can help you navigate the currents and eddies of your own inner journey.
About the Author
Rabbi Eric Eisenkramer is creator of The Fly Fishing Rabbi: A Blog about Trout, God and Religion, and a contributor to Trout magazine. He is the spiritual leader of Temple Shearith Israel in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and he fishes the cold-water streams of New York, Connecticut and the Northeast.
Rev. Michael Attas, MD, an avid angler for over forty years, is assisting priest at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Waco, Texas, a practicing cardiologist, professor of medical humanities at Baylor University and a columnist for the Waco Tribune Herald. During the summer months, he works as a volunteer fly-fishing guide in Colorado.
Lori Simon is the executive director of Casting for Recovery, a breast cancer support group that uses fly-fishing to heal sufferers, both mentally and physically. She enjoys the contemplative and spiritual surroundings of the natural world through hiking, fishing, horseback riding and sitting quietly in a canoe.
Chris Wood is president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, the conservation organization whose mission is "conserving, protecting and restoring North America's cold-water fisheries and their watersheds." He is the author of Watershed Restoration: Principles and Practices and coauthor of From Conquest to Conservation: Our Public Land Legacy.
Table of Contents
Foreword: Chris Wood, CEO, Trout Unlimited v
Preface: Lori Simon, executive director, Casting for Recovery ix
Introduction: Rabbi Eric xi
Introduction: Reverend Mike xv
Chapter One In the Beginning
Preparing for the River 1
The Fly-Angler's Gear Checklist 11
Reflection Questions 12
Exercise: The Significance of Your Gear 13
Chapter Two Getting There
Escaping the Everyday 15
Reflection Questions 31
Exercise: Meditative Walking to the River 31
Chapter Three Being There
Wading into the Stream and into Yourself 33
Reflection Questions 48
Exercise: The Basics of Fly-Casting 49
Exercise: Improving Your Fly-Casting with Lefty Kreh’s Five Principles 51
Chapter Four Homecoming
Peace and Harmony at the End of the Day 53
Reflection Questions 61
Exercise: Five-Step Meditation for the End of the Day 62
Chapter Five Common Ground
Fishing with Friends 65
Reflection Questions 79
Exercise: Become a Part of a
Fly-Fishing Community 79
Chapter Six Unfamiliar Terrain
Fishing Far from Home 81
Reflection Questions 96
Exercise: Keep a Fly-Fishing Travel Journal 97
Chapter Seven Fly-Tying
A Recipe for Creativity 99
Reflection Questions 106
Exercise: Tie Your Own Fly 106
Chapter Eight Stewardship and Conservation
Giving Back to the Stream 109
Reflection Questions 123
Exercise: Get Involved to Protect the Rivers You Fish 124
Suggestions for Further Reading 131
Fly-Fishing Resources 133