(Men)ding Lines – Kerry Sprouse

 In Blog

Welcome to Casting for Recovery’s (Men)ding Lines series. This month we feature Kerry Sprouse, a longtime CfR Wyoming river helper, donor and supporter (some of you may know his wife, Missy Sprouse, a CfR Trustee). Read more as Kerry talks about how he became interested in the sport of fly fishing and shares one of his most memorable CfR retreat experiences below.

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

Kerry Fishing the Bahamian Islands

I started with a Zebco reel, rod and float. I tied on a popping bug to fish the lakes in Canada on a family outing when I was 10 years old and became intrigued with seeing fish take off the surface, that was my introduction to what became my love of fly-fishing. I grew up in the mountains of East Tennessee, there were myriads of trout creeks and streams. The trout were everywhere. Fly-fishing was something I could afford to do. I could drive to the mountains in 45 minutes and wade the creeks for rainbows and browns, but then I was able to get up into the brook trout waters pretty easily and I really loved the brook trout. My first trip West was in 1974. I traveled with a few guys that had fished the eastern trout waters with me. We came for a week and fished just about every river in Yellowstone, sometimes four or five rivers in a day. I got my first taste of fishing the salt for Bonefish back in 1969 on a pleasure trip to the Bahamas and then seriously fished the flats in Eleuthera and Harbour Island. I fished several of the Bahamian islands and in 1990 I had the opportunity to buy into a fish cabin on Deep Water Cay. My partner and I raised our boys on the creeks and cays near and around Deep Water Cay. The fishing was superb, but I was really drawn to the Bahamian people and the island communities. We loved the Bahamas community and really explored the area and caught every kind of ocean fish.

Early on my stomping ground in the West was the Madison Valley and down in Idaho on the Henry’s Fork of the Snake. After the movie “A River Runs Through It” based on the book by Norman Maclean came out things got crowded in Montana and pushed me down to Wyoming where I live with my wife, Missy.

Kerry with CfR Participant

How did you get involved with Casting for Recovery?

Well, that was an easy choice because of my wife, Missy. She got involved as a volunteer in the Wyoming program as a photographer. I volunteered as a river helper. I had an immediate interest because breast cancer had been in my family and I knew what an insidious disease it was. I wanted to help in the recovery process of women surviving breast cancer. 

What was your most memorable CfR experience?

There are two things. These ladies are being helped to learn how to fly fish and to redirect their energies into something that most of them had never experienced…and to get so excited about it. It is really fun to coach them into catching a fish. That is delightful. And then to visit with those women after a morning of fishing at the lodge and hear them talk about how the program and the weekend had changed their lives and the friends and connections they made. It is very memorable. Powerful stuff.

What encouragement would you give to a survivor who is thinking about attending a CfR retreat even if they don’t fly fish?

Well, most of the ladies that come have never fly fished but they attend the retreats and love to learn something new. And of course, you know that trout are found in the most beautiful places in the world. So, number one they get to go there and see where trout live and the spectacular country. You add the quality of the guides, gear, materials and instruction that Casting for Recovery provides…all those things coupled with a passionate volunteer staff sets the women up for success. The ladies learn enough to be able to catch and land a fish on the fly in one weekend. Pretty great.

What is your favorite fly?

First of all it would be a dry fly. Secondly, it would be what is known as an attractor fly. The most productive fly I know are terrestrials, which are ground based…not, water based…hoppers, ants beetles. For me, the best choice is always the beetle. We call it Beetlemania. Lots of protein and fish know it and get on it every year. 

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