The first time Cari Ray cast a fly rod she was all in. It stands to reason. Having spent years as a singer-songwriter and musician, the rhythm and balance of fly casting felt immediately familiar…and satisfying. In her years on the road as a touring singer-songwriter, there was always a fly rod stowed in the tour van for any time a stretch of water and a sliver of time would intersect.
After stepping away from the touring life, Cari combined her passion for fly fishing with her love of teaching to launch Zen Fly Fishing, a school and guide service. With a particular passion for inspiring new fly anglers, she loves mentoring beginning as well as advanced students/clients to identify, learn and grow the skills necessary to achieve consistent and independent success on the water.
Cari is a full-time fly fishing guide, Fly Fishers International (FFI) Certified Casting Instructor, host of the Fisher of Zen Podcast, and serves on the FFI Texas Council Board as Casting Director. Through her guiding, teaching, writing, and public speaking she invites anglers to learn and experience fly fishing in the wilds of nature and the context of mindfulness and conservation.
In addition to teaching and guiding on Texas Hill Country rivers, you can catch Cari hosting early summer retreats in the Adirondacks and spending the remainder of the season guiding in Southwestern Colorado and on New Mexico’s famed San Juan Quality Water. Cari believes that one’s mastery of fly casting and fishing skills is equally proportional to one’s access to the enjoyment, relaxation, and “ZEN” that is available through the sport.
When not on the water, you can catch Cari working on new approaches and curricula, working through drills on the casting field, writing articles, or producing podcasts. From time to time, you can still find her with a guitar in hand singing around a campfire or performing at a songwriting festival.
Cari Ray has worn many hats…literally and figuratively. Her primary vocation for years was as a performing singer/songwriter touring nationally solo and with wife and vocalist/percussionist, Dionne Ward, as “Cari Ray & The Shaky Legs.” While no longer her sole focus, music is still happening. More info on that can be found over at cariray.com.