“It’s something that I completely didn’t really expect in terms of what our program does, but the community aspect of it has been probably the biggest part.”Jennings Hester
Fly fishing brings with it the idea of solitude. Alone with your thoughts on the river. Just you and the fish. Many people fall in love with fly fishing because of that time away from everything else in their lives that clutters their brain. I admit, I seek that same state of mind in fly fishing. That focus and clarity that comes from wading through cold, flowing water and getting lost in the problem solving. That focus we find in fly fishing, when everything else disappears is special, but even in our solitude, we are part of a community of others who seek the same thing. And that makes the fly fishing community unique… and valuable.
Podcast episode appears at the end of this short article.
In this episode we WadeOutThere with Jennings Hester, from Denver, Colorado. Jennings grew up in the south fishing for bass with spinning gear. After playing football for Alabama in college, he began going on hikes to help with the depression and anxiety he had been dealing with from an early age.
When his brother-in-law handed him a fly rod to take into the woods, Jennings realized he had found something important enough for his mental health that he moved his entire family to Colorado to be closer to that environment he was thriving in.
After the move Jennings began fly fishing more and tying flies. He also founded the non-profit, Fishing the Good Fight, to help other men dealing with mental health issues through fly fishing.
We discuss streamer fishing on the North Platte River, and the importance of community in fly fishing and mental health.
“…and most people aren’t willing to deal with the conditions. So you’re on your own. And that’s definitely, if I’m going twice a year, I’m going in the winter, on a weekday.”Jennings Hester
Jennings knows the importance of community in fly fishing, and yet he still cherishes that time alone on the water. He’ll go out of his way in the dead of winter to find it. And yet, community is one of the pillars that Fishing the Good Fight uses when helping men deal with mental health issues. That community is a powerful resource for those seeking to bond, and talk, and find relief. I think Jennings’ experience as an angler who enjoys fishing alone, while simultaneously being a passionate advocate for the value of community in the fly fishing space, exemplifies how fly fishing can be both things at the same time.
It’s exciting to know that others are finding both those experiences in fly fishing, and my hats off to folks like Jennings for dedicating a large part of his life to making sure they do. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.
To learn more about how fly fishing can help with men’s mental help visit:
Fishing the Good Fight.com
If you want more information on some of the topics we discussed try reading these articles published at WadeOutThere.com
Eight Reasons the Zebra Midge is the Perfect First Fly to Tie
We All Have Home Water
Three Tactics for Fishing Hard to Reach Cutbanks