Conversations with CfR
Meet Sarah Clark, best known as “Shark” from River’s Edge Fly Shop. As a longtime cheerleader and supporter for Casting for Recovery, we had some questions we just had to ask her, and well, she told us all that we needed to know. Thanks Shark!
Where did you learn to fly fish?
I grew up spin fishing the lakes of Minnesota. I enjoyed lake fishing, but also got easily bored with it. I started fly fishing in 2000 when I lived in Missoula. Until I started taking classes and then working in a fly shop, I learned mostly through trial and many errors, very patient friends, and just getting out on rivers whenever I could.
Do you remember your first fish caught on a fly? Yes! my first time fly fishing was on a guided float trip in Montana. I caught so many whitefish (no trout) that day. I loved the constant motion and engagement of fly fishing. I loved the entire experience and basically went forward in fly fishing from there.
If you could catch only one fish today, what fish would it be and why?
I would have to say Tarpon. I love the visual hunt and the challenge of tarpon. A fish that rockets out of the water and fights like hell to get off the hook is pretty cool.
Best piece of advice to someone who is new to the sport?
I see a lot of women who want to make sure they’re doing it exactly right or know everything before they start fly fishing. Not only is that super overwhelming, but it’s not always that black and white, there is a lot of gray in fly fishing — and that’s ok. Find what works for you, don’t take it too seriously, have fun, and respect the power of rivers.
Beloved piece of fishing gear you’re never without?
I mix up my gear a lot depending on how and where I’m fishing, so I would have to say my Costa Sunglasses! I never fish without them.
Any casting/angling habit you are trying to break or improve upon?
I will always be working on my cast. That said, I am currently (or still) working on my double-haul in windy conditions.
Tell us a bit about your history and involvement with CfR?
As part of my work with The River’s Edge, I co-coordinate an annual large-scale women’s fly fishing event here in Bozeman, known as Chica de Mayo. This event is a fun day for ladies to learn, network, and get excited about fly fishing general. We just held our 11th Annual event on May 11th. In a way, our event has always supported women with breast cancer – originally giving proceeds to ‘Rowing for A Cure’. When CfR and ‘Rowing for a Cure became partners’ in 2013/2014, we then began our great relationship with Casting for Recovery. Because breast cancer touches so many women, educating women about this program aligns so well with our event. Through our amazing industry and community donations, we have been able to help raise funds to support Casting for Recovery.
What does working with CfR mean to you?
I love hearing the stories from retreat participants about their experience with Casting for Recovery. It makes so much sense that this sport is so healing on so many levels. Besides being so incredibly well organized, CfR retreats are changing women’s lives…and offering hope. I love that I can be a small part of making that happen for more women.
Your encouraging words for a breast cancer survivor?
Be gentle with yourself, laugh often, always hope, be outside as much as you can…and keep fly fishing.