Starting To Make A Roll-Cast With Fly Rod

Fishing Is For Fun……..It’s around 6:30 AM on a beautiful sunny spring morning and you and your good friend and fishing buddy, Mac, are sitting in your 12 foot aluminum flat-bottom fishing boat on a small cypress-laden lake fishing for Bluegill bream. You’ve been on the water since daybreak and have already caught your limit of 10 nice saucer-size bull-Bluegills with fly rods using yellow popping bugs for bait, caught in a stand of cypress in water not even 2 feet deep.

In the shallow water among the cypress and it’s “knees” (1) is where these huge Bluegills hang-out and that’s where you have to maneuver the boat to fish them being quiet as possible to not spook the Blurgill. That’s why you’re in your small flat-bottom boat and using a short skull paddle and trolling motor.  

Earlier, almost 100 percent certain the Bluegills were lying in wait, you quietly maneuvered the boat between the trees where you both used a “roll-cast” (2) with your fly rods to cast the top water popping bugs out on the waters surface between the Cyprus knees.   Within seconds, you remember the water exploding as the first 2 Bluegills devoured the popping bugs almost at the same time, after they landed softly in the water, and the battles were on. Bluegills are considered game-fish and pound-for-pound are very strong fish and true fighters, and are a challenge for anglers, and a lot of fun and pleasure to catch. In fact, Bluegills give you a much better fight than even largemouth bass, and that’s why you two love fishing them.

You the moved the boat about 10 feet and casted out and caught 3 more fish in a matter of minutes, moved the boat again and you two caught 5 more fish, giving you your limit of 10 fish. You two had set the limit of 10 fish because that is what you’ll need to fry up in avocado oil later this afternoon for you two and your two better-halfs, along with some homemade fries, and a fresh salad you’ll retrieve from your backyard vegetable garden.   You always make a practice of using extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil when frying foods because of the health benefits. In the case of frying fish, you’ll use avocado oil.

swimming-"bull"-Blurgill Bream
Swimming “Bull” Bluegill Bream

You’ve moved the boat out to open water and anchored. Now you are both sitting back in your chairs enjoying the warm sun, listening to all the birds singing all over the lake, enjoying the peacefulness, and really relaxing. You two see a large blue heron doing his own fishing in the shallow water near the bank. Nature and all of it’s creatures are so incredible!  Then you’re startled by, you would guess, was a 7 or 8 pound largemouth bass jumping completely out of the water making a huge splash near the boat, the sound echoing around the lake.

You’ve poured each of you a cup of espresso/Maca from your thermos bottle and you’re both enjoying sipping espresso and enjoying the healing antioxidant benefits, and the incredible health benefits of Maca (B), while you take a short break.  Shortly, you’ll head back into the cypress stands to fish some more Bluegills for at least a couple of hours longer, but being conservationists, you’ll turn any more Bluegills loose that you can’t eat today.

Later you’ll probably have a couple beers you’ve got iced in your small Yetti cooler and a can of smoked sardines and crackers which will not only simply taste great sitting on the water, but are very healthy for you, as well. You’re thinking Fishing Is For Fun. Going fishing today was just what you needed because being out in nature and particularly on the water, is such a healthy, relaxing, restorative, and fun experience, besides the fresh healthy fish you’ll have for supper, which is what’s it’s all about.

According to a 2016 BMC Lipids Health and Disease reviewed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) study, sardines are excellent for controlling the human body’s metabolism, curbing inflammation, and benefitting gut microbiota. Now, let’s look at why fishing is so healthy!

Why Is Fishing A Healthy Adventure and So Popular?

From stalking rising trout with your fly rod, after hiking up to 12,000 feet to a high-mountain lake, to kayaking on the open ocean while fishing for speckled trout, or deep-sea fishing and oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico 50 miles out, there is a type of fishing that will keep your mind and body engaged in healthy exercise no matter your interest or experience level. One may question how the sport of fishing can provide health advantages.

While some may doubt the benefits, a quick glance at what is happening within your body while fishing will reveal the truths.  For example, fly-fishing will take you on rapid rivers or streams or small lakes in often very remote back country locations. In order to catch a lot of fish you will inevitably end up doing some hiking and wading through slippery rock rivers, which in itself, is of course great sometimes, demanding, exercise! Actively fishing can involve a number of activities, such as wading against the current in a stream, hiking, repeatedly casting and reeling, and even climbing or boulder hopping in certain kinds of terrain.

It is estimated that even light wade fishing burns over twice as many calories over a one-hour period than the same amount of time spent working out in a gym, found a CalorieLab statistics research. During a morning or afternoon of fishing, you could burn from 500-1,500 calories without even realizing it, and it wouldn’t be a chore, but a lot of fun! Did you realize that even the U.S. Veterans Health Administration, per this VA “Free Fly Fishing for Veterans Provides Serenity and Connection” research, has adopted the use of fly fishing and fly tying as a recreational therapy for injured military veterans because these calming, repetitive, low-impact activities help them regain strength and the use of their muscles, In a July 2018 “Special Report on Fishing”, it was revealed 49 million Americans went fishing in 2017.

Woman Fly Fishing Salmon In Running Stream

The primary reason for fishing among adults was to “try fishing as a way to spend time with their families”, and promote social and family bonding. One 2007 JSTOR “The Social Aspects of Fishing Effort” study published in Human Ecology addressed the healthy social aspects of fishing efforts. Fly fishing, for example, is a “family friendly” activity according to a Orvis “Family Friendly Fly Fishing by Tom Rosenbauer” study, which everyone can enjoy. The moderate but sustained physical activity associated with fly fishing makes it ideal for people of all ages.

Although it requires moderate hand-eye coordination, most fly fishing does not call for the strength that other activities such as running, tennis, or contact sports require. Children can cast adult-sized fly rods with ease, and unless elderly fly fishers develop arthritic conditions in their shoulders or arms they can participate well into their later years. And, forget about fishing being a “male-only” sport!

According to a The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation 2020 Annual Report, of the 46 million Americans who fish today, over one third of them are women! The JSTOR study also noted that 82 percent of adult fishing participants were introduced to the sport in childhood.  If you are looking for a way to reduce stress, stay fit, and enjoy being outside in the wide-open spaces, bettering your health and well being, fishing is a fantastic option. But, it gets even better, when you can actually eat the fresh nutrient-rich fish you’ve caught! Like we said earlier, Fishing Is Fun – and unbelievably healthy.

So, What’s So Incredible About Fishing?

Fishing is a rewarding sport that can be exciting and relaxing at the same time. But, the most important reason fishing is healthy for humans is it connects you with nature and water, which are both associated with many benefits. A recent 2018 University of East Anglia “It’s official – spending time outside is good for you” study found exposure to “green space” reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure.

Numerous studies have shown spending time in the outdoors is excellent for not only physical health but also mental health according to a Harvard Medical School 2008 “Sour Mood Getting You Down? Get Back to Nature” review. The review found that if you’re looking for a simple way to help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and maybe even improve your memory? Take a walk in the woods or grab a fishing pole and head to the pond.

The soft fascinations of nature are nothing but soothing natural elements such as flowing flowers, or cricket sounds at night and the crackling of a campfire (3) , a gentle breeze, sound of leaves rustling, ocean waves, or gentle sunshine, sound of raindrops hitting vegetation, sound of thunder in the distance, that we all love to be close to, except maybe the thunder. When we stay close to these pleasant soft fascinations aspects of nature, we do not have to put any effort into attending to it, and we effortlessly immerse ourselves into the experience and become totally relaxed and stress-free, which is known as Kaplan’s Attention Restoration Theory, as confirmed in a older 1995 Elsevier “The Restorative Benefits of Nature: Toward an Integrative Framework” study.

Fishing Bluegills At Daybreak

Even patients viewing nature from hospital windows looking out on a natural scene had shorter postoperative hospital stays, received fewer negative evaluative comments in nurses’ notes, and took fewer potent analgesics according to an older 1984 Science study reviewed by the NIH. For a terrific read on the best of what nature has to offer us in restoring our health and well being read our article “Best In Nature – For Best In Health.

The same seems to hold true for adults looking at pictures of water and an increase in mood as the patients looking at green-spaces referenced in the above paragraph. In 2010 researchers at Plymouth University in the United Kingdom asked forty adults to rate over one hundred pictures of different natural and urban environments.

Respondents gave higher ratings for positive mood, preference, and perceived restorativeness to any picture containing water, whether it was in a natural landscape or an urban setting, as opposed to those photos without water, determined a 2016 “A preliminary investigation into the restorative potential of public aquaria exhibits” study published in the Journal of Landscape Research.  In a 2014 American Journal of Occupational Therapy (NIH) study conducted a pretest-posttest investigation of a sports-oriented occupational therapy intervention using surfing in an experiential, skills-based program to support veterans with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in their transition to civilian life, and found participants reported clinically meaningful improvement in PTSD symptom severity and depression.

One Elsevier “Coastal Blue Space and Depression in Older Adults” study in Ireland in 2018 Coastal blue space and depression in older adults, found coastal blue space operates to reduce depression scores is visual rather than related to physical proximity.; a 2019 Hong Kong Elsevier “Urban Blue Space and Health and Wellbeing in Hong Kong: Results From a Survey of Older Adults” , evidence suggests that, at least for older citizens, Hong Kong’s blue spaces could be an important public health resource.; and one in New Zealand in 2016 Elsevier study “Residential exposure to visible blue space was associated with lower psychological distress in a capital city“.

Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, explains in his book Blue Mind, , is that we all have a “blue mind” we all want to get back to that existence, which is a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, mindfulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the “here and now”, that’s triggered when we’re in or near water. When interviewed by the Washington Post, Mr. Nichols said,

We are beginning to learn that our brains are hardwired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what’s broken,

Healthy Omega 3-Rich Bluegill Bream

This excerpt is from from his book, as discussed in a 2014 Salon “Why Our Brains Love the Ocean: Science Explains What Draws Humans to the Sea” study. The Blue Mind which is quite informing and worth reading, concerning the important role water play in human existence. So, grab your fishing pole and “let’s go fishing!”

Health Benefits Of Eating Fish You Catch

Fish is a low-fat high quality nutrient-dense protein. Fish is filled with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as D and B2, B6, B12, along with minerals magnesium, potassium, and selenium.  Omega-3s are extremely important for the optimal function of your body. They’re linked to improved wellbeing and a lower risk of many serious diseases, found a 2004 Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics (Wiley) study.

Studies, like this 2006 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reviewed by the NIH, show that people who eat fatty fish regularly have a lower risk of heart disease, dementia, depression and many other common diseases. Fish is also rich in calcium and phosphorus and a great source of minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium.  The American Heart Association 2017 “Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids” study recommends eating fish at least two times per week as part of a healthy diet.

Fish is packed with protein, vitamins, and nutrients that can lower blood pressure and help reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.  Eating fish is an important source of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential nutrients keep our heart and brain healthy and function properly (2). Two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are EPA and DHA.

Our bodies don’t produce omega-3 fatty acids so we must get them through the food we eat. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in every kind of fish, even fresh-water fish, but are especially high in wild-caught or cold water fish and seafood (A)(non-farmed fish). Wild-caught fish have a much better ratio of 2:1 or 1:1 of healthy omega 3s to omega 6s making it leaner and healthier, with more polyunsaturated good fats, which isn’t the case with farmed-raised ocean fish, found a 2016 Nutrients study reviewed by the NIH.

According to a 2017 Marine Drugs study reviewed by the NIH farmed-raised fish are fatter and higher, like 20:1 ratio, in fatter omega 6s than omega 3s, and that’s why you should avoid farmed-raised fish. Farm-raised fish are not only fatter, but also are given hormones and antibiotics, besides being fed polluted (PCBs) bait-fish. According to a 2006 JAMA Network “Fish Intake, Contaminants, and Human Health” medical review study fish literally saves lives.

Eating seafood two to three times per week equals longer life and reduces risk of death from any health-related cause by 17 percent. Seven out of 10 deaths in the U.S. are preventable through nutrition and lifestyle changes, like adding omega-3s to your diet.

Low seafood intake contributes to 55,000 deaths each year, making seafood a leading dietary contributor to preventable death in the U.S, found a JAMA 2017 “Association Between Dietary Factors and Mortality From Heart Disease, Stroke, and Type 2 Diabetes in the United States” study.  Some good choices are salmon, trout, sardines, herring, mackerel, light tuna, shrimp, and oysters, bass, catfish trout, bluegills and other sun fish. Let’s look at some amazing health benefits of eating fish.

2 Men Healthy Freshwater Fishing In Boat

Longer, Healthier Life. Help maintain a healthy heart by lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of sudden death, heart attack, abnormal heart rhythms, and strokes.  A 2013 “Higher Blood Omega-3s Associated With Lower Risk of Premature Death Among Older Adults” study conducted by Harvard Medical School and the University of Washington found that older adults who had the highest blood levels of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish lived, on average, 2.2 years longer than those with lower levels.

In 2018 the American Heart Association 2018 “Seafood Long-Chain n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease” study reaffirmed its position of recommending that everyone should eat at least two servings of fish a week to assure the beneficial health effects of polyunsaturated omega 3s on the human body.

According to the CDC 2020 “Deaths and Mortality” survey, heart disease is the number 1 killer of Americans killing 600,000 people a year. A Harvard Medical School “Fish: Friend or Foe?” study found eating one or 2 3-ounce servings of wild-caught fish a week reduced the risk of dying from heart disease by 36 percent.

A 2002 New England Journal Of Medicine (NEJM) “Blood Levels of Long-Chain n–3 Fatty Acids and the Risk of Sudden Death” study following over 22000 male physicians over 17 years, and found an 80 to 90 percent reduction of risk of sudden cardiac-death with those who had the highest blood levels of omega 3s, compared to those with the lowest omega 3s blood levels. Check out our article “Brain Food For Memory” on the Mediterranean Diet, which involves eating a lot of fish as a staple, reduced the risk of major cardiovascular events by 30 percent, determined a 2013 New England Journal of Medicine “Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet” study.

One final study by the World Health Organization (WHO), in a 2003 “The Global Strategy On Diet, Physical Activity and Health”, found that up to 80 percent of cases of coronary heart disease, 90 percent of type 2 diabetes cases, and one-third of cancers can be avoided by changing to a healthier diet, increasing physical activity and by stopping smoking.

Healthy Salt Water Fishing With Fish On

Infant Brain Development. Aid healthy brain function and infant development of vision and nerves during pregnancy. One 2010 WHO Joint Faq/WHO Expert Consultation On the Risks and Benefits of Fish Consumption” study babies from moms who ate seafood twice a week were observed to have greater IQ by 5.8 points. According to a 2010 “Pre- and Postnatal Health: Evidence of Increased Choline Needs” study in the Journal In the Academy Of Nutrition and Dietetics, omega 3s are critical for a baby’s nervous system in the first year of life.

Restore Brain Cognition In Elderly. A 2014 ACPM “Regular Fish Consumption and Age-Related Brain Gray Matter Loss” study found that eating fish is associated with larger gray matter volumes in brain areas responsible for memory and cognition in healthy elderly people, and less risk of Alzheimer’s developing.

Various Health Issues. Eating fish may decrease the risk of depression, ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and diabetes, found a British Medical Journals “Fish Consumption and Risk of Depression: A Meta-Analysis” study. In fact, the APA in a 2011 “Lifestyle and Mental Health” study, has endorsed the fatty acids in fish as an effective part of depression treatment. People who regularly eat fish are 20 percent less likely to suffer from depression.

May Prevent Inflammation. A 2014 Harvard Medical School “Foods That Fight Inflammation” study confirmed the anti-inflammatory property of fish. Research finds that people who regularly eat fish high in omega-3s, reduces inflammation in their bodies, and are less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA). And in those who already have the disease, marine omega-3s may help reduce joint swelling and pain.

Other Nutrient-Dense Foods You Should Be Eating Along With Fish

Healthy Nutrient-Dense Mediterranean Diet Ingredients

Whether you’re going fishing for a half-a-day or for a 3-day fishing trip into a remote area, if you plans things right for your jaunt into nature, you’ll also load your Yetti cooler with fresh lean grass-fed beef steaks to grill on a open fire, free-range chicken, and brown eggs (A); fresh wild-caught salmon steaks (A), incase you don’t catch any fish.

You should also pack fresh organic fruits and veggies, raw nuts and edible flower seeds (A) for snacks, perhaps from your own backyard garden; organic whole grains, natural fermented foods, fresh herbs and spices, and antioxidant drinks like espresso, fruit infused water, (A)and blueberry-Maca smoothies (B), which you should never be without.

Let’s take a look at the physical benefits of getting out in nature and actually fishing.

Physical Benefits Of Fishing

It is also a wonderful and often overlooked way for anyone to burn calories and keep the weight off, while having fun in the outdoors. Many people assume fishing just means sitting around in a boat or on the bank waiting for a bobber to go under, but it can be so much more exciting and demanding than that. In reality, there are many types of fishing that challenge you both physically and mentally.

Your exercise and adventure in nature begins the moment you step out of your vehicle and head toward your fishing location. According to a 2017 NIH study, taking a walk is a “step in the right direction”. The best fishing areas are off the grid, meaning you’ll need to navigate your way through public land to reach the spot, and all that walking, including carrying all your fishing gear and the added weight, etc., burns plenty of calories, according to a 2004 Harvard Medical School “Calories Burned in 30 Minutes For People of Three Different Weights” study, while strengthening your legs and core.

Actually, as we documented earlier in this article, during a morning or afternoon of fishing, you could burn from 500-1,500 calories without even realizing it. Considering that a person of average body mass and fitness level will burn about 250 calories in an hour of walking on a treadmill, according to experts, fishing is a great option to not only burn a surprising amount of calories, but also be a load of fun in the process. Casio has an online Kisan calculator for determining calories burned based on different weights and speeds.

Whether you scaling on a river, walking down an established path to the pier and your boat, or hiking into your favorite hidden lake away from it all, this movement not only provides your body the physical exercise to keep you healthy, but also a good dose of the “green” of nature, as extensively covered in our “Benefits In Being In Nature” article. Studies have shown, like a 2012 Environmental Science Technology study reviewed by the NIH, that the color green, which is found all over nature in grass, plants, tress, etc., makes exercise feel much easier.

Those who are engaged in physical activities in front of the color green showed less mood disturbances and reported that they felt lower exertion during their activity.

Casting A Net Out For Bait Fish On the Open Sea

Another earlier 2011 Environmental Science and Technology (NIH) study revealed that people who engaged in outdoor activities were associated with greater feelings of revitalization and positive engagement to not only the physical aspect, but the experienced mental well being, than doing similar activities indoors.

In relation to your heart and cardiovascular system, this increased movement, however strenuous, encourages your heart to work harder, to maintain adequate energy, helping it grow stronger from the exertion. Even just walking to your fishing destination will burn some calories, keep the pounds off and strengthen your heart, lower blood pressure, and cholesterol, and increase your overall health, per another NIH “Physical Activity and Your Heart” study.

Once you start actually fishing, the repetitive motion of casting and retrieving, works all the muscles of the arms, shoulders, and torso, which may ordinarily remain idle.

Exposing the central core of our bodies to any physical fitness greatly increases its strength and decreases the risk of injury to these areas, particularly to back injuries. In addition, the best fishermen learn to develop casting accuracy through practice.  This helps build hand-eye coordination and strengthens the small muscles in your hands, wrists, forearms, biceps, triceps, and shoulders. Even the U.S. Veterans Health Administration, as confirmed in a 2018 “Veterans Find Healing and Hope on Public Lands” story, has adopted the use of fly-fishing and fly tying as a recreational therapy for injured military veterans because these calming, repetitive, low-impact activities help them regain strength and the use of their muscles.

healthy-omega 3-rich-brown-trout-caught-on-fly-rod
Healthy Omega-3 Rich Brown Trout Caught On Fly Rod

Fishing is such a great, low-impact activity that it is widely used as a rehabilitation therapy by psychologists, counselors, and physical therapists, too. What’s important to remember, regardless of the physical activity, either strenuous or not so strenuous while fishing, the full-body workout you’ll get while fishing, will prevent muscle atrophy, or muscle-wasting, or even loss of function and disability, particularly, as you age, and is much more physically beneficial than remaining motionless and being a “couch potato”, according to an older 1998 Journal of Nutritional Health Aging (NIH) study.

Mental Well Being Benefits In Fishing For Fun

Being out in nature’s “green”, among the sights and sounds, free from life’s distractions, concerns, and stressors, creates a mind-clearing, or “re-centering” utopia which will recharge the toughest of minds. Taking in nature will remove the constant stimuli that impedes your ability to think freely and undistracted. An inevitable state of relaxation and calmness comes with time spent outdoors experiencing Mother Nature has to offer because it is by nature, a reflective and meditative activity that forces you to slow down and enjoy your surroundings.

Not only does being out in nature doing some fishing and getting sun help restore your Vitamin D levels, Georgetown University researchers, in a 2016 Nature “Intrinsic Photosensitivity Enhances Motility of T Lymphocytes” study, have found that sunlight, through a mechanism separate than vitamin D production, energizes T cells that play a central role in boosting human immunity. Nature and its wonders can bring on a sense of awe, and even unleashes one’s imagination which can beneficial in restoring mood and a sense of tranquility, and can have a positive effect on anxiety and depression, determined a 2011 Behavioral Research Therapy (NIH) study.

Healthy Salt-Water Fishing In Kayek

That’s why counselors and therapists who work with veterans, people with chronic illnesses, and others who have experienced trauma in their lives. Fishing challenges your mind, reduces stress and demands your undivided attention, per a Harvard Medical School 2020 “Fly-Fishing and the Brain” study.

Therapeutic experts claim that, because fishing requires focus, it helps take a person’s mind off internal conflict.  Locating fish, developing a strategy, choosing the correct fly or lure, and properly presenting that lure to the fish all require critical thinking and creativity, which allow a healthy escape from stress, depression, and anxiety.  This has been proven in clinical studies in which the stress hormone cortisol was measured in a group of Iraq war veterans before and after a weekend of fishing.

The cortisol levels measured high prior to the fishing trip, but quickly were reduced after fishing and remained low for at least 3 weeks.  Researchers at a 2011 Behavior Research Therapy study reviewed by the NIH noted that their patients slept better, expressed lower levels of depression and anxiety, experienced fewer symptoms of somatic stress, and were far less likely to experience the feelings of guilt, hostility, fear, or sadness normally associated with PTSD and traumatic experiences.

Fishing has helped countless people with chronic illness, post-traumatic stress, and debilitating injuries to recover and live full, healthy lives. It allows us to explore our natural world and stay active well into old age. Fishing is a calming, enjoyable activity that has the power to transform your outlook on life. Grab a rod and reel, you might just hook a better more healthy way to live.

Fishing Rapids For Healthy Rainbow Trout

We hope you found “Fishing Is Fun” article informative and that you’re ready to go fishing, or at least buy some fresh fish to cook and eat. Your comments and questions are welcomed. We’ll leave you with a few great fishing quotes:

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after,

Henry David Thoreau.

Early to bed…early to rise…fish all day…make up lies,

Author Unknown.

It has always been my private conviction that any man who pits his intelligence against a fish and loses has it coming.

John Steinbeck

Gone fishin’, be back at dark-thirty!

Author Unknown.

(1) James Tingley Video
(2) The Orvis Company Video
(3) Inside Human Video

Following the link (A) will take you to a product review for additional information, documentation, and to order wild-caught fish and seafood and other nutrient-dense foods.  Following the link (B) will take you to a product review for additional information, documentation,  and order the all-natural organic whole-food, nutrient-dense, Peruvian Maca to restore your health.