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I have a piece out in the new issue of The Fly Fish Journal. Full content of the journal is not available online, but it’s a beautiful book and worth picking a copy up.

In September 2012, I was fortunate to spend time with the group Casting for Recovery, and Steve Duda at the FFJ believed in the organization, and the story, enough to give a piece about the lives of women affected by breast cancer a home in a dominantly male-read publication.

Here’s an excerpt from the piece, The Courage to Cast:

Clad in dark scrubs and operating gowns a team of doctors clusters in the center of an operating room. The surgeon holds a scalpel in her right hand. She grips it as you would hold a steak knife. On the table is a woman’s draped body. We know it’s a woman because only her breasts are exposed. They are covered in smooth skin the color of cream with rosy nipples that stand erect in the cold room. They are perfect, gravity pulling them only slightly out of the round. They are also deadly.

Leaning over table and pressing down hard with the blade, the surgeon uses her 15 years of experience to carve a slice along the top of the breast. Blood wells from the cut and is daubed away by one of several assisting nurses. The surgeon shifts angles and moves along the bottom of the breast following its parabolic half moon curve. The cuts form an eye-shaped wound that surrounds the areola.

Over the next several hours these cuts will be repeated on the left breast. More than four pounds of tissue will be removed from the body during the course of the double mastectomy. In place of the nipples, which will be removed as just more bits of skin, there will be lines of black stitches.

In the morning, the woman who was on the table will rise from her recovery bed and unwind the ace bandages and gauze pads from her torso. She will stare at the concave surface that was once her breasts and she will cry. Friends and family will come to visit as she recovers and they will tell her she is lucky. Lucky that the cancer is gone. But she won’t feel lucky. She won’t even really feel like a woman.

After a month, the surgeon will call to see how she’s doing, and to see if she’s been doing her recovery exercises. She’ll be honest and say not good, and no. After a pause, the surgeon will ask simply, “Have you ever been fly fishing?”



“My life changed forever the first time I saw T-McCall’s midge box.” -C. Scott

We’re in between storm systems. The next front will hopefully come tomorrow bringing with it a few inches and an increased area to explore. In the meantime it’s time to tie midges and brave icy waters.


And the forecast is calling for more!!