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The lure of casting a line

lady holding fish

Lynda Bess taking part in Casting for Recovery, a nonprofit that helps women pre- and post-breast cancer get out and fish.

Lynda Bess has always loved hiking the mountain trails of Colorado.

A native and longtime resident of The Village at Castle Pines, Bess, her husband and three kids never hesitated to get away when they had the chance.

Hiking was always her soul soother, a way to challenge herself physically while calming whatever was on her mind.  In 2017, breast cancer struck, and Bess said a lot of things changed for her.

While she tried to keep a happy face, Bess said she was zapped of energy.  Hiking suddenly took a backseat to something a little less strenuous.  Fly fishing.

“The connection with nature really squares your mind, and the motion of fly fishing is good for pre-surgery, or even after,” said Bess.  “You start it, and you think it looks so easy but then you learn there is so much to it.”  Bess likens it to hunting.  “If you were a hunter, I would compare it to using a bow versus using a gun.  The bow takes finesse and a lot of luck.”

What started as a way to relax quickly became an obsession.

“I tell people how peaceful it is and then I remember that I was swearing over not catching anything,” laughed Bess.  “But seriously, it is more about being in nature than the fish.  You always feel better afterwards.  You do not have to talk; it is just this peaceful thing between you and the river.  It starts to consume all my thoughts and really clears the mind.”

Bess added that we are all fortunate to have the Platte River and the miles and miles of “gold medal” designation, which means our rivers are packed with fish, making it an amazing fly fishing experience for any level of angler.

Bess recently purchased a historic 130-year-old cabin in Deckers – a place she can go and fish a stretch of the South Platte anytime the river beckons.  It is her own little slice of heaven.

While Colorado is her home, Bess casts a wide net with where she wants to fish and what she wants to experience and accomplish.

Bess recently traveled to Cuba and spent a week doing nothing but fly fishing from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on a boat with other fishermen.  They were all competing to catch what is considered big game in the water with a fly rod.

“The grand slam is catching four species of fish in one day,” said Bess.  “I did not see another human except those on the boat with me.”  She is competitive and loves to learn.  Next on her bucket list is a trip to Patagonia, Argentina, and then to Mongolia someday.

“They have two types of trout in Mongolia that are the oldest species on the earth – prehistoric looking fish called the taimen,” added Bess.  “There is 200 miles of river there that no one ever fishes and it is full of these gigantic trout.”

Her pull to the water is constant, but she is clear on what ties her to it: it is always about nature and being a student and steward of conservation.

If you are considering learning to fly fish, she said do not hesitate.  “Try everything that you can.  There will always be someone willing to teach you.”

There is even a site for fishing retreats for those with breast cancer.  Visit

lady fishing in turquoise water

Bess in Cuba trying to catch a grand slam, four species of fish in one day.


By Karen Leigh; photos courtesy of Lynda Bess



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