5 Great Health Benefits of Fly Fishing

Go Fly Fishing – It’s Fun, Reduces Stress, Burns calories! 


1. Stress Bustin’

In these hard times of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s good to know that we can still escape the day to day grind and reep the benefits of being outside fly fishing.

So the boffins and medical experts have got together and finally proved what we’ve known all along-  Not only is fly fishing a great activity, it’s  good for you both physically and mentally, Result! 



Not surprisingly under the current pandemic that 74% of UK adults and 78% of US adults felt so stressed at some point over the last 12 months that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 13 people globally suffers from anxiety. Their data also reports that anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders worldwide.  ( World Health Organization: Mental Health )

Under the current Coronavirus situation, how many of us lie awake at night, worried and stressed out about health, family, friends or finances? 


Fear not my friends…FLY FISHING can help-  

This sport is a balance of mental and physical activity, which is a quality that the UK Department of Health has identified as fundamental to leisure activities that enhance your well-being.

It’s now widely accepted that fly fishing is thought of as having both preventative and restorative benefits to your health and well-being. 


So are you getting the itch to go fishing yet?


Getting outside into the wide open spaces is great and a tonic in itself.  All you can hear is wind, water and wildlife, that alone is exhilarating and you haven’t even started fly fishing yet!

Fishing produces lower activity levels in your brain’s prefrontal cortex than usual. This means that you can break out of a cycle of negative thoughts, leading to lower levels of that nasty stuff cortisol, also known as the ‘stress hormone.’ 

When you combine this mental benefit with the physical rhythmic movements of casting and retrieving and the increased focus needed for timing, it’s clear that fly fishing is the perfect activity for fighting stress, anxiety and other health problems.


So do you fancy having a go then?  Don’t worry if fly fishing is new to you and you’re not sure what tackle you need, or how to set it up….I’ve got you covered!  Check out-   Fly Fishing for Trout- A Beginner’s Guide to Essential Tackle

                     End of a great day’s Fly Fishing


2. Physical Work-out

It’s a fact that’s been known for a long time-  regular exercise can lead to lower levels of depression and anxiety. But did you know that you can burn as many or more calories fly fishing as you do when running on a treadmill in your local gym? 

Fly fishing is a total body workout – you’ll use your arm, shoulders, legs, core and back muscles. It’s a great way to get fit and feel healthier without having to go through that gruelling gym workout.


3. Calorie Crunchin’

Now then, this is where it gets interesting.  Your average bod will burn between 150 to 550 calories per hour fishing. Lighter intensity fishing such as fishing sitting in a boat will burn fewer calories. Likewise if you are in waders, waist deep in a river or lake then you will burn more calories.

To put a bit more science behind this, the number of calories you burn fishing will depend on your weight and the intensity of the fishing. (1) So let’s take two scenarios –

Bod one-   200-pound (90.8kg) person burns 191 calories per hour fishing sitting in a boat and 573 fishing in a river with waders.

Bod two-   150-pound (68kg) person burns 143 calories per hour fishing sitting in a boat and 430 calories fishing in a river with waders. 


So remember the next time you go on a fly fishing session, of say 4hrs and you’re standing fishing lakeside or river bank, including walking from your car and from one spot to another then you will burn between 573 and 2291 calories. That’s not too shabby now is it,  who needs a gym anyway!! 



4. Improves Concentration & Focus

Now if you’re anything like me, finding yourself constantly distracted, fly fishing may help you improve your attention span. Outdoor activities in general have been shown to increase your ability to focus.

Sports like ours are especially beneficial for enhancing concentration, as they require you to perfect your technique and replicate it consistently, keeping alert at all times, watching for that fish to take your fly.

You need to concentrate fully on the moment and be ”Zoned-In” (I discuss this in another blog-  in the zone fly fishing with confidence   alert to what the fish are doing.

It’s a rare moment when you can be calm, zoned out from the constant flow of thoughts buzzing around in your head and just be. The rhythmic motion of casting for fish contributes to this calm almost meditative state.

Anglers find themselves concentrating on their casting and retrieve, so their mind is occupied and actually can’t think about anything else.  This in turn allows them to escape from the pressing demands or worries of the memory, focussing instead on something entirely different.


Why not join a club?

Fly fishing is a great sport, no matter what age or ability you are. Each time you go is different  and builds up more memories and experiences.  That enjoyment is intensified when you go with a friend, especially if they understand ‘the need’ to go fishing. 

when you join a fly fishing club you become part of a community of like minded men and women.  Whether you take part in competitions or just nod a greeting to another club member lower down the bank. 

Most clubs and associations have a social side which you can join in as much or as little as you want to, we fly fishers are an easy going lot!  Being around like-minded people, sharing an interest is fantastic and a great way of meeting new friends. 

Want a chat about starting fly fishing or advice on tackle and where to get it?

Send me an email-  [email protected]  


5. Improves Health & Wellbeing

We fly fishermen love the opportunity to go angling, let’s be honest we don’t need asking twice!  It gives us the chance to unwind, de-stress and chill out in the wonderful great outdoors.  Did you know that just being near water lowers anxiety and instills a sense of calm?


It’s not a surprise that 63% of anglers say that relaxing and unwinding is one of the main reasons they go fly fishing.  Being outdoors is the second most common motivation to go fishing, with more than 58% of anglers stating that it’s really important for them.

I’ve listed below a few of the typical responses I’ve had over the years from fishermen when I’ve asked why they go fly fishing-

‘Fly fishing is a chance to get away from everything, it helps me relax and unwind’

‘It’s nice to be closer to nature, fishing, it helps to build patience as this sport is all about patience and timing after all.’ 

‘It’s a calm peaceful experience, gets me out of the house and away from the day-to-day stresses in my life.’ 

‘You forget all about work and just enjoy being outside at one with nature’

‘It’s addictive, gets under your skin and does me the world of good’ –  (this one’s mine)  

And finally as my best fishing buddy would say  ‘There’s more to fishing than fishing’


Just a quick refresher- For all those who are overworked, stressed out, worried and wanting to lose a few pounds (so all of us then!!) fly fishing is the ticket! 

It can also offer restorative or therapeutic value to people who have an underlying physical or mental health condition.  But be warned fly fishing is addictive!

Enough chit chat!  Now get outside and…..GO FLY FISHING!! 

Check out my next blog coming soon!

You can also access all my blogs at-

Visit- Fish More Work Less  for more information and advice!

Get in touch with me at-   [email protected]

tight lines – Gra





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