© 2021 Cari Ray, Fisher of Zen

May is metal health awareness month, and Pat Kellner, the guy behind Texas Freshwater Fly Fishing, asked me to put some thoughts together on the pursuit of fly fishing as it relates to mental health. Rather than a treatise on their connection, what flowed on to the page were some prime examples of how the sport offers opportunities for the sort of mindfulness practice that can pay big dividends in our daily lives. It’s a long-held belief of mine that, if we let it, the pursuit can be immeasurably beneficial to mind, body, & spirit. Sometimes by offering low-hanging fruit like fly casting and drawing us into nature. Sometimes by offering situations that border on tedious or frustrating, presenting us with the choice to get bogged down or to rise above. Like most healthy choices, it gets easier with practice. Mastery is never about your relationship to anyone or anything else, it’s always between you and you. And step one to is to GET PRESENT, so let’s start there…

With a busy Texas trout season drawing to a close, I finally had a chance to sit down and crack open “Not all Trout are Geniuses,” by fly fishing author, Mark Usyk. From the first chapter, I was drawn in…not only by the vivid storytelling, but by the easy, conversational tenor of his writing. And I was sure I needed to convince him to  come on the podcast.

As he joined our virtual meeting from his den, he was accompanied by Masters of the Universe and Star Wars action figures, Kermit the frog,  and an 18-inch statue of the Incredible Hulk holding a trout plaque. So yeah, I knew this was going to be good.

We’ll talk about the release of his third book, a little about fly fishing, and a fair bit about the path of transformation from hot rod builder and and cell tower climber to published outdoor author.