Fly fishing is a sport that can be a solitary pursuit or enjoyed with a couple of friends out on the river. But there is also power in numbers, especially when a community of fishers comes together for a common cause. And that was the case at the Fly Fishing Film Tour last Friday night.
There was plenty to enjoy during the Fly Fishing Film Tour 2014 at the Stargazer Theatre.
The films had enough variety to catch and hold the viewers’ interest throughout the evening. Some of the films, like the ones about Labrador and Alaska, inspire additions to the bucket list of go-to places. How could they not be inspiring — the scenery, the allure of fishing where maybe nobody else has fished? Other films give you new insights into the history of the sport and the challenges we face in keeping our fisheries healhty. Deborah Jo Mance, one of Angler’s guides, noticed that more women were featured in the films than in previous years. You can read what Deborah Jo discovered in her research about some of the featured women on her blog: www.theflyfishingwoman.com.
The live auction provided an adrenaline rush for the evening. I have to admit, I was excited to be bidding for a float trip with Kirk Deeter, fishing guide and expert, and a columnist for Field and Stream magazine. How awesome would that be — fishing and talking writing with one of the best in the business? My budget could only handle about $750.00, though, so I had to bow out when somebody topped my bid of $900.00.
But the primary purpose of the evening was to support Project Healing Waters. And the community of fly fishers came through for the cause. Nearly 450 folks packed the Stargazer Theatre. We raised close to $18,000.00 for the local chapter of Project Healing Waters. The Colorado Springs chapter is reported to be the most active of the 160 chapters of PHW in the U.S. So what opportunities will the $18,000 create and support? The funds raised will go toward 40-plus trips planned for the soldiers this season. It will go toward rod-building and fly tying classes.
That money will go toward healing the lives that have protected ours and served on behalf of so many others. It will go toward healing the lives of soldiers like Frank Ortega. Frank told part of his story on Friday night — a story of commitment to the armed forces, a story of sacrifice, of pain. A soldier’s story.
And thanks to the efforts of Project Healing Waters, a story of healing and renewal.