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Women and Sports: Fly Fishing Hydrotherapy

July 5, 2022

Tuesday Thoughts, Inspiration, Women, Women in Sports, Women in Business

Fly Fishing Lesson with Jim Sollecito

You couldn’t have imagined a more tranquil, warm, perfect summer evening to stand on a wooden deck, on a private pond, to try fly fishing. It was my own golden pond moment as the honeyed sun blazed in my eyes looking over calm, cobalt water waiting for fish to bubble to the surface to catch their dinner of flies. I’m pretty sure I’ve had flies for lunch before biking through Onondaga Lake Park in early spring when they were hatching as my fast, breathy bike ride drew them into my mouth.  

Higginbotham Fishing Excursion – St. John’s Island 2022

I have fished many times before with my sons and husband off Sanibel Island Florida in a private fishing boat, on wild 6’ waves off St. John’s Island where we caught a 10-ft 400-pound Dusky Shark, and on Lake Ontario in January ice fishing for perch in single digit temperatures. The first fish I ever caught was with my dad on our dock on Lake Delta one summer afternoon when I was young. It was a small sunfish but I remember this big moment because my father was at my side.

Jim Sollecito

When I saw spear fishing and fly fishing were still on my sports bucket list, I jumped at the offer by a neighbor to teach me fly fishing as seen in the movie “A River Runs Through It.” My neighbor isn’t just an average neighbor but rather Syracuse’s popular entrepreneur Jim Sollecito, Owner of Sollecito Landscaping Nursery who gave fly fishing a try over 60-years ago and has fished in 39 different countries, landing him 5 IGFA World Fishing records. As he says, “Fly fishing is hydrotherapy.”  I understand now why.

One, two, three….one, two, three…one, two, three…
Flick, flick
Ten O’clock, two O’clock…ten O’clock, two O’clock
Elbow in.
Only move your wrist and hand.

were some of the easy instructions Jim patiently repeated many times over the two hours. With a funny sense of humor, he was light-hearted and yet instructive in my novice abilities. The perfectionist in me wanted to do it right the very first time. But I couldn’t remain uptight for too long because every time the green line literally danced in the air beautifully, swaying back and forth, before gently landing on the pond’s surface, I was memorized. It was like ballet-style fishing with subtle symphonic tones in the snapping of the line. Stunning.

Ice fishing is simply up and down wrist movements through a white hole on a frozen lake typically surrounded by varying hues of grey. Deep sea fishing has always been for me turbulent waters with a queasy stomach worth the big catches and fresh tuna for eating. Fly fishing is simply breathtaking, rhymical, and intellectual.

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham and Jim Sollecito – Fly Fishing 2022

The lesson learned successfully throwing a fly on a six weight G-Loomis nine-foot fly rod 22’ with my generous neighbor Jim, is that trying a new way to fish on a beautiful summer evening is pretty spectacular at best. It tops my fishing list – much preferred over high seas and frigid temperatures. It is a reason I suggest you try every sport once in your life too because you never know the wonderment, challenge, and lessons it brings to your life.

Onto the next sporting adventure…..


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