Globetrotting Canadian fly fisher and television hostess Kathryn Maroun has been doing a lot of thinking, and writing, lately—not only about fishing, as one might expect, but also about life itself.
Kathryn has fished, and filmed, in many exotic, far-flung corners the world, pursuing (among many other species) bonefish in the Bahamas, giant trevally in Oman, taimen in Mongolia, sea trout in Iceland, mahseer in India and peacock bass in Brazil. She is also one of the featured women in the exhibition A Graceful Rise at the American Museum of Fly Fishing in Manchester, Vermont.
“I used to be the GI Jane of fly fishing,” Kathryn says. “I was always wading neck-deep in piranha-infested waters, paying little attention to what I was wearing, rarely bothering with bug spray and so on.”
But Kathryn paid a price when she fell seriously ill with Lyme disease, carried by ticks (which she refers to as “nature’s dirty needles”) infected with bacteria of the genus Borrelia. Kathryn believes she was bitten by an infected tick while fishing in British Columbia. She not only developed the serious, long-term complications of inadequately treated Lyme disease, but also coinfections with other illnesses (“God-knows-what I picked up God-knows-where”), which have been difficult for doctors to diagnose and treat.
“This doesn’t mean,” she points out, “that Lyme disease isn’t a preventable, treatable illness.”
She was bedridden and suffered seizures. “I really felt my life energy was draining away,” Kathryn says. Unable to travel and cast a fly rod, she had time to sit and think, about her beloved sport of angling and fisheries conservation, and the part that good catch-and-release practices play in both. One result is her article in the current issue of Marlin World.
Kathryn tries to set an example for all anglers in following smart catch-and-release practices: fish only with barbless hooks; fight fish quickly; avoid fishing in extremes of water temperature or when fish are spawning; and avoid removing fish from the water if possible.
Kathryn is happy to report that she is recovering from her illness and is now editing trip footage into new What A Catch! programs, which she expects will be ready for broadcast around the end of 2012.
Check out Kathryn’s What A Catch! website.