WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Kathryn Maroun’s ‘What A Catch!’: Like a Gypsy

The term gypsy first appeared in record in the 16th century from a category of people thought to be Egyptians who arrived in Britain. When the gypsies began their migration, people in other countries didn’t welcome them because they looked and spoke differently, and they were often harassed or even physically harmed. This likely contributed to the development of their wandering lifestyle.

A hit TV show called “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” has me finding it hard to turn the channel. The show looks at the milestones in a Gypsy girl’s life leading to the biggest day of all – her wedding. Gypsy girls dream all their lives about the wedding dress and as they move toward their goal of ordering “the Dress,” they have no idea that their energy may be misplaced. Literacy and education largely deemed unnecessary and domestic abuse startlingly common, the contrast between the daily life of a gypsy girl and the glitz and glamour of their wedding day is stark. Within a week of being married, some girls report that married life is nothing like they thought it would be. They are not alone on that brainwave. Present company excluded, of course.


Kathryn catches a beautiful bonefish in the Bahamas. Photo courtesy of Kathryn Maroun


Why is this noteworthy? Why am I like a Gypsy?

It is a snapshot into the human condition. The show makes me wonder what cultural cues led me to my traveling ways. My goal, to “capture the top game fish,” rather then “the perfect dress,” took me far from home and at times, put me in harm’s way.

We come into the world as travelers – through the birth canal – and leave, perhaps, on the wings of an angel. Not everyone wants to journey to places unknown. Something about my development has made me an adventurous soul.

What we do and what we want changes over time, usually due to tragedy or boredom … or both.

Wealth, spices, power, prestige, trade, religion, or building empires motivated other explorers. The possibility of catching trophy fish and sharing conservation practices motivated me.

Not unlike the gypsy girl who is disenchanted with where her journey has landed her after the honeymoon is over, I find myself at a crossroads.

Perhaps you have heard me telling the story of being told not to come home until I managed to land that elusive Atlantic salmon. I needed to land the Leaper on camera for the pilot of my TV series, “What A Catch!”


Oh, the places I have been

I fished in the highlands of Cape Breton, Canada, a dozen years ago.  With that trophy under my belt, I travelled, filmed and fished my way around the globe to some of the most unique ecosystems on the planet.


Costa Rica. Photo courtesy of Kathryn Maroun

I can still remember how it felt fishing in a warm, fragrant, tropical rain in Costa Rica. I couldn’t cast for a full day after my battle with a hot giant trevally while fishing near the desert in the Straight of Hormuz.


Tuckered out after landing a giant trevally. Photo courtesy of Kathryn Maroun

I shared stories of my childhood with my Indian guide, Misty, while we tied flies in the middle of a lazy stretch of river in the Himalayas – a great trick to suffer through the heat of the midday sun in India.

I understood the possibility of freezing to death when I lived in the Yukon – off the grid. Styrofoam is a wonderful material as a perch in a doorless outhouse with a snowy view of a frozen lake. I felt so vulnerable and alive when I fished all night in a starless sky. My senses made it possible for me to see and feel clearly for the very first time.

I never thought I would step foot in Russia after growing up during the Cold War era, but I did fish several times in that part of the world and a former KGB agent served me a streamside picnic lunch. Imagine that!  We didn’t talk much; I was busy watching the poacher with the AK 47. Coffee never tasted as good as those brisk mornings at sunrise when the loon cries carried forever, north of the 49th Parallel before the sun’s warmth had a chance to awaken the black flies in the bog beyond the tree line.

I celebrated a birthday of note with my Icelandic friend and hero Orri Vigfússon. We were born on the same day, but many years and miles apart. What were the chances of that? The day was made all the more perfect because I was his netsman.


Nicaragua. Photo courtesy of Kathryn Maroun

I bathed in the glow of the sun as its rays managed to find me in a clearing in the jungle canopy in Nicaragua. The monkeys entertained me to no end as they stuck their tongues out at their own reflection in my camera lens.

I loved hanging out with my Bahamian guides and their cooler of chilled Kalik in the cab of the salt pocked, powder blue pickup truck as we waited in the shade for the changing tide.


Bahamas. Photo courtesy of Kathryn Maroun

I left money behind with a herdsman to provide food and shelter for a Mongolian dog. Not sure if the young animal would have survived a Siberian winter in the land of Genghis Khan without my charity.

Just the act of leaving Australia made me feel good, but finding a McDonalds in Japan made me feel better.

Negotiating contracts with networks and feeling like somebody until they made me feel like nobody, is a necessary part of the business and I enjoyed the ups and downs. Sitting with some villagers and understanding how much a smile will communicate when language is a barrier … priceless.

Kathryn Maroun

Kathryn Maroun is undergoing treatment for Stage 3 Lyme disease, most likely a result of her extensive travels.

What it means

Sure, catching prized game fish was a thrill and I have several books’ worth of stories waiting to be told about my travelling ways and days. It was always the people I met along the way who helped me to find the richness and beauty in everything.

When I turned 30, I set out to capture the top game fish from around the world. Fifteen years later I realized that what I was chasing wasn’t what I was looking for.




  • About Kathryn Maroun

    Kathryn Maroun is one of a handful of Canadian women to be certified as an FFF casting instructor. She is the award winning executive producer of What A Catch Productions. The 52 show series highlights Kathryn's fishing adventures from around the world. Kathryn exposes never talked about hazards of the sport, conservation, culture, as well as showcasing exotic game fish in her series. Her show first aired in the US before being internationally distributed. Kathryn is featured in the collection of two prominent museums for her significant contribution to the sport of fly fishing. Kathryn Maroun is the president and founder of Casting for Recovery Canada, past director of Trout Unlimited Canada and past member of the Canadian World Fly Fishing team. Along with creating a line of clothing for women at work in the outdoors, Kathryn has fished around the world and has a number of world record fish to her name. Today she dedicates her time to writing about her miss-adventures and enjoys telling her stories through keynote speaking opportunities. Kathryn is campaigning to create a more balanced playing field for women in the sport.


The Conversation

  • Moirajeanne fitzGerald says: April 2, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Kathyrn, this read is a wonderful note to end my evening on. Not sure how or why it popped up on my FB page, but i am very glad it did. You are one lucky gal to have done so much in such a short period of time. But most of all you are lucky that you realize where you’ve been & why & have the insight to put it all in perspective. Please continue to put it into words, for us all. I truly appreciate reading your adventures & outlook on life.

    • kathryn Maroun says: April 3, 2013 at 7:23 am

      well I’m starting my day by reading your note. What a wonderful start to my day. You and I share so many of the same loves. It was a special day when our paths crossed a few years ago. I felt like we had been friends forever. That does happen from time to time and I take notice when it does because it usually indicates that I’m about to learn something new.I wish we lived closer so I could find out what that lesson is. Not clear to me yet but I’m sure it is not as simple as just a few days on the river together(Although that would be fun.)
      Sitting with you one day soon and seeing your original postcard collection of woman angler’s is on my bucket list.

  • Jim Teeny says: April 2, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Kathryn, We have only met on the internet but I truly feel like we know eachother. The common bond that we have is our love for the fish, Fly Fishing and the great outdoors. It is in our blood and we are the truly lucky ones. I think of you often and hope only the very best for you and appreciate all that you have done and are doing for our great sport! Jim Teeny

    • kathryn Maroun says: April 3, 2013 at 7:32 am

      Hey thanks Jim
      It is amazing to think that we have not had an opportunity to sit together and share war stories. I’m sure that day will come. Thank you for the fun exchanges. You add a lot to the fishing community and we need your voice. I will be interested to hear what you think about my new film. It is a little slow getting finished but it is well underway. I’ve started doing more and more hookless fishing and the film shows this. This is all part of the love of fishing that you talked about. Its complicated.

  • Pete Tilton says: April 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    You’ve had a hell of a ride so far, and this sinkhole you fell into is a setback for sure. Still, I think there are a lot places you haven’t seen as yet that are home to unmet friends and prideful fish that need to be taken down a notch by the blonde stranger with the crazy hats!

    • kathryn Maroun says: April 3, 2013 at 7:39 am

      Well a sinkhole is a great description Pete.
      I had it all worked out…my plan for the series that is. Then life got in the way. “Reality”
      How shocking. I’m trying hard to sort it all out but it is a lot to take in and loosing my health sure has been a game changer.
      I have new dreams that are a lot less ambitious these days. A dog and a better quality of life are at the top of the list. I still dream of going after a Nile Perch, Makong Catfish, African Tigerfish etc etc.
      It is the first time I have a wantado rather than a can do. sad

  • Les Booth says: April 2, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Kat … ’tis possible all your travels and adventures have prepared you well to take on the challenge you now face – not as victim – but as Valiant for awareness and education in outdoor pathogen safety. It is Purpose that fuels our Passion, that fuels our Reason, that fuels our Action. You have the launch-pad; you are a passion; there is a reason and you see it; Act On.

  • Rachael Paterson says: April 1, 2013 at 11:16 am

    I agree with Howard Levett.
    I am very glad to have met you.

  • Ari Vineberg says: April 1, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Thoreau once wrote that most fish all their lives without realizing it is not fish they are after. You have had a blessed life! Can’t wait for the book!!

  • Howard Levett says: April 1, 2013 at 10:24 am

    If my arms were long enough Kathryn, I would reach out to wherever you are right now and give you a hug. Your spirit and sense of adventure speaks volumes about the person you are and make us all want to do more…do better and live life.

    • kathryn Maroun says: April 2, 2013 at 4:53 am

      you sure do have a way of lifting a person. Thank you for reading my rant and telling me that it was ok to run away to join the circus. What a life!
      I want to do more and do better……..