I used to think my husband, Tim, was crazy to wake up at the crack of dawn every day and I questioned what the early morning fuss was all about. He’d always tell me, “I just love to watch the sun rise.” Now, when I roll out of bed in the dark and find myself standing in a river at 6 A.M. casting my rod and watching the sun peek over the trees and dance on the water, I think of Tim and his appreciation for the quiet serenity of morning and the sunrise.

On the river I find peace and feel thankful for my husband and for my two kids, Kailey and Weston, who support and encourage me, and who always share my enthusiasm for fly-fishing. I feel grateful for them and for all the great men and guides I know who have taught me so much: Toby Uppinghouse Owner of Edge Water outfitters, Doug Ouellette of Calvada Fly Fishing, Kevin Butz, Tim Au Young, Rick of Fly-Fishing Specialties, and Craig Madsen of Montana River Outfitters. All of these men have been a huge help in my fly-fishing journey. Not only have they been my teachers, they have also become true friends.

Many of my friends know that I survived breast cancer at age twenty-six and happily joined the ranks of other survivors. So I was intrigued when Chaz Arthur, founder of Trout Porn and the online magazine, and his fly-rod building friend, Nathan Moore, decided to build and auction off a customized, pink, Trout Porn, fly rod.

1399422_663140320396673_866496959_o

Proceeds from the online auction would support Casting for Recovery, a unique non-profit group who organizes free fly-fishing retreats across the country for women with breast cancer. For me, bidding on the rod was a no brainer. I had to have it. As a breast cancer survivor passionate about fly-fishing, supporting Trout Porn and the Casting for Recovery mission to provide women the chance to experience the same, spoke right to my heart. Plus, the rod was pink! I knew it had my name written all over it.

Shortly after winning the Trout Porn rod at auction, I got a Facebook post from my friend, Alice Sternal, who had also bid on the rod. In her post, Alice asked me to please send her the rod so she could fish with it. We joked about how we should organize a fly fisherwoman’s “sisterhood of the traveling pants” type effort and send the rod to any woman who wanted to fish with it.

Nathan Moore, who made the rod, caught wind of our conversation on Facebook and suggested we start a Facebook Page to capture photos of women who borrowed and fished with the rod in different places. Hence, the Fly Gal Diaries Facebook page was created. “Fly gals” can now request a special date on the river with the pink Trout Porn rod. The rod is delivered in its sock with a box full of goodies and requests.

1475920_663119097065462_2064738384_n

First, users sign the sock and the enclosed Trout Porn flag donated by Whitney Inmon (to honor Chaz and Nathan’s efforts) date the flag, and indicate the city where they reside. There’s a fly box delivered with the rod also, and each woman who uses it puts the flies they used inside the box. There’s even a diary or journal http://www.healthcarewell.com/online-pharmacy/ where each Fly Gal writes about the fun they had with the rod, where they fished, what they caught, and anything else they want to share! Finally, each user posts a photo on the Fly Gal Diaries page to capture her adventure fishing with the special rod. When the flag and sock are signed and the journal is filled, the rod and journal will be returned to me. Nathan will keep the fly box with flies from around the world, and Chaz will keep the signed “Trout Porn” flag—all to symbolize the camaraderie behind Trout Porn, the Fly Gal Diaries, and its efforts to promote women’s fly-fishing and Casting for Recovery.

Since the launch of the The Flygal Diaries   Facebook page, I have spent one glorious day fishing the Truckee River with the rod, sporting my favorite pink Simms belt, and catching several browns and rainbows. Alice Sternal fished with the rod in Oregon on the Mackenzie River, the Umpqua, and Big Elk Creek. The rod just arrived in Canada to Jennifer de Graas and when she’s done with her adventures, Lizzie Bell, another amazing fly fisherwoman who is also in Canada, will cast the rod.

From Canada, the Trout Porn rod will head back to U.S. to countless other women. If someone wants to use the rod they can contact Missy Paxin or Nathan Moore by friending Fly Gal Diaries on Facebook.

I would love as many women as possible to fish with this fly rod. There are so many beautiful women who are making their way in the fly fishing world in a sport normally dominated by men.

The Fly Gal Diaries page is now even followed by Casting for Recovery who is aware of our effort and has sent a card posted on our page thanking Fly Gal Diaries for their efforts.

1475779_669998049710900_481600853_n

Breast cancer affects everyone in some way. Either you know someone who is a survivor or maybe have survived cancer yourself. The Fly Gal Diaries page was inspired by Trout Porn to support programs like Casting for Recovery which help to raise awareness and provide hope for women, allowing them to stand knee deep in water and experience the beauty of the sunrise or sunset, the serenity of the river, and the catch and release ritual of fly fishing–-all for free. Nathan and I are currently working on a new rod that will be donated directly to the California Chapter of Casting For Recovery for women to use at the California retreats

Now, when I think of the beautiful places I’ve fished, the people I’ve met, the chances I’ve had to feel a fish eat a fly, and to hear the scream of the reel as the fish takes off, I know that fly-fishing is something I can’t live without. My hope is that the pink Trout Porn rod will be used by multiple women, in multiple locations, as a symbol of support for those affected by breast cancer and that the rod will represent and celebrate the growing influence of “sisterhood” and community in the sport of fly-fishing.

If you would like to make a donation to Casting For Recovery you can do so online at  Casting For Recovery or mail a check directly to Casting For Recovery at P.O. Box 1123, Manchester, VR 05254.