(Men)ding Lines – Ed Kohler

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Welcome to Casting for Recovery’s (Men)ding Lines series. Each month, we will highlight a male river helper, donor or volunteer who is supportive of CfR. We kick of the series with Ed Kohler, a Long Island River Helper who is passionate about both fly fishing and serving women with breast cancer.

Tell us about yourself and how you became interested/involved in the sport of fly fishing?

I retired from the New York City Fire Department in 2002 after 24 years of service, followed by 15 years as an Registered Nurse at Northwell Health Glen Cove Hospital – retiring again and for good in 2014.

I first started fly fishing when I was 20 years old after my cousin went to the store and bought us matching fly rods and reels. After 46 years I still have them! Back then it was a self learning experience, no internet or fly fishing clubs around. Learned by trial and error and finally finding shops that had some fly fishing equipment, flies and some knowledge to share! I’ve been “hooked” since fishing all over the country and now tying my own flies, which I love to share with other fishers!

When did you get involved with CfR and makes you want to return as a River Helper to continually support CfR?

I became aware of Casting for Recovery after joining the Long Island Flyrodders 4 years ago and participated in my first outing. Again, I was hooked. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with beginners and my very first participant fished before that day. She hooked a beautiful 18″ rainbow trout and after a few minutes of fighting the fish she said, “I can’t do this, take the rod.” I told her, “It doesn’t work like that, you have to catch the fish and bring it to my net.” She did and that was the only fish we hooked all day. 

What’s your memorable experience (with a participant or at a CfR retreat) that stands out in your mind?

Each year has its own memories but this first year stands out to me the most. As we were all standing in line for food, all the women smiling and laughing talking about their day, my participant tells one of the other gal’s “This was one of the Top 5 Best Days of my Life!” I wanted to cry, I gave her the fly she caught the fish on.

What words of encouragement would you give to a breast cancer survivor who is hesitant about attending a Casting for Recovery retreat because they don’t fly fish?

I would tell the women who are thinking about attending a Casting for Recovery retreat that this is a great opportunity to meet and hang out with other women who are going through the same situation as you. You all understand each other, there are plenty of women at the retreat who have never fished before, but that’s what this is about meeting new people, making new friends and learning a fun life changing sport with the help of dedicated life long fly fishermen/women.

Do you have a ‘lucky’ fly that you use on CfR retreat waters?

As far as a Secret Fly? Yes, I do have a few, but I only share them with my Ladies! 🙂 

 Looking forward to the next retreat!

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