A Matter of Focus and Balance
Sep 30, 2016 12:19PM
The connection between fly fishing and yoga might seem odd; however, if we take a closer look at the mechanics between both principles, we will begin to understand the link between the two. Dusty Wissmath has been fly fishing since he was 8 years old.
He is a member of the Board of Governors of the International Federation of Fly Fishers, as well as an IFFF certified casting instructor. The Dusty Wissmath Fly Fishing School has been in operation for 17 years, based at TCO Fly Shop, in historic Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania. Wissmath teaches those completely new to fly fishing and those that want a refresher course.
His instruction focuses on proper alignment and teaching a good foundation of fly fishing. “As in any stick sport, whether it is golf, tennis, baseball or fly fishing, the grip is the foundation that we build the structure of our cast on. Your hand is the steering wheel and controls what the rod does which, in turn, controls the line,” he says. Body awareness helps tremendously.
Jim Rainey, another instructor at TCO, states, “Fly casting is not really difficult once you understand the mechanics, and by mechanics I mean the elements of the casting stroke that provide interaction between fly rod and fly line to create unrolling loops. Use of all three segments of your arm [hand, forearm and upper arm] to bring this into being. And if your casting is going badly, understanding the mechanics allows you to analyze and fix it.”
Likewise, yoga teaches body awareness through a series of poses and creates muscle memory. According to Traci Wolfe, a kripalu trained yoga instructor at TCO and owner of Yogiventure, a yoga and outdoor adventure company, “Using yoga philosophies during fly fishing helped me to stay focused. Kripalu emphasizes the breath and using self-observation without judgment. I took a deep breath, observed my body stance and arm position with a body scan. I made the adjustments, then cast my line. It helped, a lot! My line went straighter and towards the position I intended it to. Dusty taught the mechanics of fly fishing, but it was up to me to take his instruction and make my body perform what was taught. Using yoga breath and muscle memory really helps to reinforce the lesson.”
A special Fly-Fishing and Yoga retreat is being held from October 14 through 16 at Pheasant Field Bed and Breakfast, an 1802 brick farmhouse nestled on 10 beautiful acres, complete with a pond. Begin the day with morning yoga; put new body awareness skills to work during fly fishing instruction; and finish the day with gentle yoga. Repeat yoga the next morning and head out to cast on the famous Yellow Breeches.
Location: 150 Hickorytown Rd., Carlisle, PA. To register, call Wissmath at 717-609-0169, ext. 5, email [email protected] or visit Yogiventure.com. See ad, page 39.