Fly Fishing & Mental Health #4: Going with the Flow


Fly Fishing & Mental Health #3: 

Going with the Flow

(read: Part 1Part 2; Part 3)

by: Cari Ray (Fisher of Zen)

I was guiding a couple of folks from Houston for trout on the Guadalupe this season past. They said they wanted to learn how to become better independent fly anglers, and I believe a wade trip is the one of the best ways to do that. So we made the plan and met up bank side. We had just begun to practice the modified roll cast I like to teach clients for indicator fishing. As they practiced the cast and learned to anticipate the mends necessary to manage a good drift, one of them (who was doing quite well, I might mention) was growing frustrated at an apparent lack of perfection and confessed that they were really competitive and often hard on themselves.

“Okay,” I said, “let’s just stop for a second and look around at the beauty that is all around us. Take a deep breath. There’s nothing to worry about here and now. You’re doing better than you think. But either way, if you make this trip all about perfecting fishing techniques and landing fish, you’ll miss out on a lot of what’s available to you. The river can both soothe us and teach us if we’ll let it. In your case, I encourage you to focus on the flow. Just flow with the river today. The rest will come.” 

And it did. Both clients landed their personal best rainbow trout that day, but more importantly, they let go of their attachment to results and allowed themselves to be immersed in the moment, to go with the flow. And in choosing that, they were going to have a great day on the river that had nothing to do with
counting catches.

Cari Ray has worn many hats. Her primary vocation for years was as a performing singer/songwriter touring nationally solo and with percussionist, Dionne Ward, as “Cari Ray & The Shaky Legs.” While no longer her sole focus, music is still happening. More info on that can be found over at

You can add to that resume graphic designer, creative director, successful entrepreneur, marketing/business consultant, photographer and writer. If there isn’t a guitar in her hand, there’s likely a fly rod. She lives in the Texas Hill Country just west of Austin. And while Hill Country Rivers are her home waters, she can often be found traveling the contiguous US hiking into backcountry parts unknown to chase wild, native fish on the fly. And then telling the tale right here on Fisher of Zen.

You can find more from Cari Ray at


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