Fridays On The Fly: Fly Fishing Saves Lives

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“Those first few months after the accident, I was losing the battle. And then I tied my first fly.”

It’s no secret that fly fishing not only changes lives but saves them as well. Fly fishing has helped disabled veterans with PTSD, people combat depression, and troubled youth find a creative outlet. There is just something about it. It’s meditative, healing, and unbiased. Fly fishing doesn’t care who you are or where you are from. It doesn’t care about your age or the color of your skin. Whether you consider it an art, a sport, or even therapy, fly fishing is loved by all for the same reason. It’s a passion. It’s a way of life.

In this video by Orvis, we meet Joey Maxim, a [then] 16-year-old who found his way back to life from the brink of death through fly fishing. A basketball, soccer, and lacrosse player, Joey was an active kid. He was a Straight-A honor student and aiming to go to Westpoint.

On their way home from a birthday party, Joey and his friends crashed into a tree. He suffered two collapsed lungs and aspirated. He wasn’t breathing. His recovery was bleak. After having your passions taken away from you, starting life over is unimaginable at any age. Fly fishing gave Joey a second chance.

Check out Joey’s story and learn about his incredible recovery process below.


Justin Forrest is an outdoor writer, fly fishing addict, and co-founder of Narrative North—based in Asheville, N.C. He posts pictures of cats and fishing on Instagram sometimes.

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