June 7, 2009

Fly Fishing Event Helps Wounded Warriors to 'Forget Everything'

With the anniversary of D-Day yesterday, read a nice article online about a PA chapter of Trout Unlimited helping disabled veterans enjoy fly fishing.

Fly Fishing Event Helps Wounded Warriors to 'Forget Everything'
by Marcus Schneck, of the Patriot-News
Sunday, June 7th, 2009

Gilbert Cruz, of Lebanon, lifted the rod, flicked it to and fro a couple times, and allowed the line to settle on the water of Clarks Creek in northern Dauphin County, depositing the tiny fly onto the surface of a prime trout hole.

He leaned forward, following the drift of his fly studiously with his line of sight. At the end of the pass, which drew no strikes from trout, he stripped the line back into his lap and began another cast.

The wheels of his wheelchair dug into the gravel on the bottom of the stream, providing a sturdy base for his casting motions. The waters of the stream circled his bare legs, their cold temperatures ignored until it was absolutely time for his guides, Dennis Coffman and Dave Hrobuchak, both of Harrisburg, to help him back onto shore for a period of warming up in the sun of a late May afternoon.

"I love it. This is awesome," said Cruz, who is being treated for degenerative disc disease that was diagnosed in 2004 while he was he was serving with the Army in 2004 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

He fished previously for many other species, but this was his first chance to try fly fishing for trout. "It's more therapeutic than regular fishing," he said. "You're watching the water, the bugs, what the fish are biting on. You absorb all that and you forget about everything else. You forget everything you brought back from Iraq."

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