Project Healing Waters and Orvis teamed up for a fly tying marathon at Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria, VA. For those of you who are not familiar with Project Healing Waters, they are an amazing organization whose work is dedicated to the rehabilitation of active military service personnel and veterans through the sport of fly fishing.
The focus and concentration required for fly tying is a great source of healing and therapy. As one participant puts it in this video,” When you can concentrate on something you enjoy and not think about the pain or the difficulty in it, it brings a lot of satisfaction.”
The flies tied at the marathon were all donated to Project Healing Waters to be used by veterans across the country. It was awesome to see Dan Davala the fishing manager of Orvis Arlington and founder of the Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders help pull this event together.
Last summer I had the opportunity to fish with an incredible angler named Wesley Hodges. Wesley, who spent eight years in the 82nd Airborne Division, was discharged from Iraq and through the incredible opportunities of Project Healing Waters, came home to a life of fly fishing. Having the opportunity to talk with Wes about what fly fishing has done for him was truly inspiring. It is a sport that keeps him focused, relaxed, and “out of trouble” as he likes to put it. Wes now runs the only fly-fishing exclusive guide service on the New River, which offers some of the best smallmouth fishing in the state of Virginia. If you ever find yourself traveling through Virginia, I suggest you give Wes a call, not only will he put you on some big fish, but he will also have a story or two that you won’t forget.