After Beating Cancer, You Need Reel Recovery

by GregP_WN

Reel Recovery is a national non-profit organization that holds free fly-fishing retreats for men recovering from all forms of cancer with a mission to provide support through the healing powers of nature, sport, and close interaction with others who have similar journeys.


Jimmy Blunt with his first big catch of the day!

 Reel Recovery provides a safe and reflective environment, expert fly-fishing instruction, and information on cancer resources. The retreats facilitate networking, build empathy, and help men with cancer discover new insights from their peers.

Reel Recovery offers free retreats for cancer survivors. The retreat is led by professional psychosocial facilitators and expert fly-fishing instructors. A maximum of twelve men are invited to each retreat to create an environment of close-knit comfort and make it easy for the participants to open up to one another.

Joshua Creek Ranch

Joshua Creek Ranch participates in Reel Recovery

WhatNexter Jimmy Blunt (TicklingCancer) attended a retreat; here is his firsthand experience at Reel Recovery...

Due to some car issues, I arrived an hour late for the start of what I hoped to be a great weekend with a bunch of guys hanging out talking about their cancer journey and in between, learning to fly-fish. This very quickly became something much more and turned into one the best weekends I’ve ever had.

Our retreat took place at Joshua Creek Ranch in Boerne, TX. This place is absolutely beautiful. Five-star accommodations. Meals cooked on site by a professional team of chefs. Fly-fishing equipment is provided to you for use all weekend. All of this is provided to you at no cost.

The weekend starts with what they call “Courageous Conversation” which is facilitated by a psychosocial professional. The purpose of this is to get guys talking about what they’ve experienced. It gives you the opportunity to maybe break down some of the emotional walls you’ve built up. The format of the discussion isn’t set up in a way to say “this is how you cope”, It’s set up so that someone may say, “this is how I cope”. The goal, I think, is to help each other. And you do. You open up your heart and talk about things you would never talk about with anyone else. The great thing is that the conversation doesn’t stop at the end of the meeting. It rolls into dinner. It continues in your room. You may talk about it at breakfast. Guys helping guys get through difficult situations. Could you ask for anything better??


In between Courageous Conversation, you learn to fly-fish. Before you begin fishing, they provide you with a vest to wear that has some of the tools you will need while out fishing. There is an entire ceremony where you sign each vest before you put it on. This vest is also signed by those that used it before you. These vests are then used in the next retreat where someone new will get the opportunity to sign and use it, even leave a little message of encouragement!

When you’re out fly-fishing, nothing else matters. It really just takes over. If only for a few hours, you forget about your cancer. You forget about your pain. You forget about your fears. You fish!! Each participant is teamed up with a fishing buddy who knows the in’s and out’s of fly-finishing. Just like the guys in the group, you very quickly begin to develop a relationship with your fishing buddy.

The closing ceremony is a pretty emotional experience. The question presented to each of us was, “What will you take from your experience with Reel Recovery?”. Each person had a different answer. We were all touched in a way that will help us get through our journey one day at a time. If given the opportunity to participate in a fly-fishing retreat with Reel Recovery, don’t pass it up. It’s a life-changing experience that you’ll never forget. Be Well, Fish On!!


To sign up for a retreat at Reel Recovery, fill out an application on their website. Adult-aged men in treatment or recovery with cancer are eligible. Retreats at no cost to participant; meals, lodging, and fishing equipment is provided. The only thing participants are responsible for is their own transportation; they may also be asked to purchase a fishing license. For more information visit

Reel Recovery
160 Brookside Road
Needham, MA 02492

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