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Fly-Fishing—The Sacred Art

Casting a Fly as a Spiritual Practice

Rabbi Eric Eisenkramer and Rev. Michael Attas, MD
Foreword by Chris Wood, CEO, Trout Unlimited
Preface by Lori Simon, executive director, Casting for Recovery

5.5 x 8.5, 160 pp, Quality Paperback, 978-1-59473-299-7

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Discover the spiritual potential hidden in every cast of the fly rod.

“For us, fly-fishing is about more than catching fish. We have been skunked on the stream too many times to count, and stood shivering in our waders in 45-degree water long after sundown. Yet, every chance we get, we head back to the river in search of trout and something more.”

—from Rabbi Eric’s Introduction

“Early in my fly-fishing career I remember telling a friend that there is so much to learn! Some forty years later, that is still true. Every trip I learn something new about rivers, fish and the natural world. Most importantly, I learn something new about myself. Every encounter with the waters of our planet draws me deeper into who I am and who I want to become.”

—from Reverend Mike’s Introduction

In this unique exploration of fly-fishing as a spiritual practice, an Episcopal priest and a rabbi share what fly-fishing has to teach us about reflection, awe and the wonder of the natural world, the benefits of solitude, the blessing of community and the search for the Divine. Tapping the wisdom in the Christian and Jewish traditions and their own geographically diverse experiences on the water, they show how time spent on the stream can help you navigate the currents and eddies of your own inner journey.

“Offers beautiful and original perspectives on a pastime that for many is a kind of religion. They find common ground in the rivers they fish and the spiritual truths they encounter. Lovely, learned, personal, heart-warming and instructional.”

James Prosek, author, Trout: An Illustrated History and Fly-Fishing the 41st:
From Connecticut to Mongolia and Home Again—A Fisherman’s Odyssey

“[A] fascinating spiritual journey.”

“Tastefully integrates valuable fly-fishing principles, accounts of adventures and deep spiritual truths that we can all apply to our lives and reflect on when we are on the water.”

Italo Labignan, television host, Canadian Sportfishing

“Clearly [shows] we are all united in our spirit…. A great read for anyone who cares about people, the conservation of our planet or learning to fly-fish.”

Sherry Steele, communications chair, Federation of Fly Fishers National Board of Directors

“An interesting and compelling tome on the angler’s rationale.... Insightful, heartfelt and very entertaining.”

Trout: The Journal of Coldwater Fisheries Conservation

“Wonderfully written, inspirational … thoughtful and articulate, a careful read of this exceptional book will make you a better fly-angler, but more importantly, it will make you a better person.”

Todd Larson, PhD, history professor, Xavier University; publisher, Whitefish Press; creator, the Fishing for History blog

“A great, great resource. Fun, full of (tall?) fish tales and some meditative ideas about finding God in the outdoors.”

Hearts and Minds Bookstore blog

“Help[s] explain why so many people have ascribed spiritual meaning to this sport, and it does so in a way that will help others find such meaning in this pastime as well.”

Kenneth H. Lokensgard, PhD, creator, the Literary Fly Fisher blog

“I loved this book. Both men write beautifully, lyrically, poetically about ... the connection, the preparation for and act of fly-fishing. You will enjoy it. The words will ‘take’ you there.”

John Lionberger, author, Renewal in the Wilderness:
A Spiritual Guide to Connecting with God in the Natural World

“I have attempted to develop some kind of spirituality into my fishing, but have barely scratched the surface compared to these two anglers. It was enjoyable reading how they brought their religion into their fishing, truly making it a spiritual exercise.... An easy read and a delight.”

Iowa Driftless chapter, Trout Unlimited

“Delves into the spiritual side of the sport while inspiring the reader to do some soul-searching and to appreciate the beauty of nature around us.”

Rabbi Eric Eisenkramer is creator of The Fly Fishing Rabbi: A Blog about Trout, God and Religion, and a contributor to Trout magazine. He is the spiritual leader of Temple Shearith Israel in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and he fishes the cold-water streams of New York, Connecticut and the Northeast.

Rev. Michael Attas, MD, an avid angler for over forty years, is assisting priest at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Waco, Texas, a practicing cardiologist, professor of medical humanities at Baylor University and a columnist for the Waco Tribune Herald. During the summer months, he works as a volunteer fly-fishing guide in Colorado.

Chris Wood is president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, the conservation organization whose mission is “conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s cold-water fisheries and their watersheds.” He is the author of Watershed Restoration: Principles and Practices and coauthor of From Conquest to Conservation: Our Public Land Legacy.

Lori Simon is the executive director of Casting for Recovery, a breast cancer support group that uses fly-fishing to heal sufferers, both mentally and physically. She enjoys the contemplative and spiritual surroundings of the natural world through hiking, fishing, horseback riding and sitting quietly in a canoe.


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