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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Off the hook: Good Fly hosts fishing event for first responders, community

Photo courtesy of Aggieland Fly Fishers

The second annual Fly Fishing Round-Up begins at 9 a.m. this Saturday, Sept. 30 at Millican Reserve.

Good Fly and the Aggieland Fly Fishing club are hoping to reel in a crowd for their second annual Fly Fishing Round-Up on Sept. 30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Millican Reserve.

Good Fly was founded with the purpose of using fly fishing as a way to renew the mind and refresh the spirit of first responders and victims of tragedy. The art of fly casting has long been known to reduce stress and anxiety, as the rhythmic and meditative-like cadence of the casting stroke is naturally therapeutic, according to the Good Fly website

The Fly Fishing Round-Up is Good Fly’s way of showing just how great the benefits of fly fishing can be, Good Fly employee and landscape architecture senior Mara Johnston said.  

Good Fly is a non-profit for first responders,” Johnston said. “It’s for anyone who has had a career, especially in community service, where they have suffered some sort of mental setback, struggle or are a survivor of something. It can even be abuse survivors. So this program is just introducing them to fly fishing and how it can be beneficial for the mind and body.”

With a vast amount of public lakes in the Brazos Valley, fly fishing is a surefire way to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, Johnston said. 

“Being out in nature is proven to have lasting effects on your physical and mental health,” Johnston said. “Any time you get out in nature for even a small amount of time, it gets your mind off of what your major stress is. It helps reduce the stress in your body which helps your muscles relax, which can help relieve chronic pain. This is a huge benefit of fly fishing.” 

You don’t have to be a master angler or first responder to enjoy the Fly Fishing Round-Up. This family-friendly event is an all-day affair that offers fun for all ages, Good Fly Co-Founder Allen King said.  

“This is our second annual event,” King said. “There’s going to be live music, food trucks, a fishing tournament, kids activities, bounce houses, face paint, presentations all day long and demonstrations. There are a lot of fun activities for littles and a lot of learning opportunities all day.” 

The Aggieland Fly Fishers club partnered with Good Fly to plan and coordinate this year’s festival. Most of the club members with Aggieland Fly Fishers have gone through the Good Fly training program, according to Johnston, but the club is open to all. The Fly Fishing Round-Up even has opportunities for experienced anglers like Aggieland Fly Fishers club president Hurshel Sullivan to learn new skills, Sullivan said.

“I’ve enjoyed learning all of the new techniques that are used in casting and how they relate to finishing,” Sullivan said. “Once you learn those techniques, fishing is even more fun. Fly fishing makes you move your body in a way that relaxes it. I don’t even know how to describe it. It just feels good to throw the line.”

Sullivan said he will be testing for his Certified Casting Instructor, or CCI, status in March of 2024 but will be taking his pre-test at the Fly Fishing Round-up.

“I’m working towards my CCI with Fly Fishing International,” Sullivan said. “I’m looking forward to taking my pre-test during the time at the festival and I’m also looking forward to just enjoying all of the fun festival activities, the food, the casting instruction and listening to the live music.”
For more information about the festival or Good Fly, visit its website.

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