Little victories. That’s what fly fishing is all about, according to Steve Love, president and CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council. “It’s all in how you cast, how you lay the fly, how you present the fly to the fish,” he says. Sure, fly fishing requires technique and skill. But above all, Love says, comes patience.
Love has been with the DFW Hospital Council for more than eight years, and in the healthcare industry for more than 40. The council represents 88 hospitals and works with more than 100 associate members that support and do business with hospitals.
“We advocate on behalf of the hospitals, and deal with issues specifically unique to North Texas,” says Love of his organization, which aims to promote communication, education, and collaboration. “They work together to ultimately do what’s best for the patient.”Love grew up in Virginia and took his first fly-fishing excursion as a kid, when he was around 6 years old. “I would take a fly rod, and I’d go to local farm ponds and catch perch, and sometimes I would catch bass on little popping bugs,” he says. “But as I got older, I really enjoyed learning more about fly fishing.”
Unlike the typical hook-and-sinker method, fly fishing is an angling technique that involves precision and attention to detail. An artificial fly and barbless hook are cast using a fly rod and reel. To carefully cast a lightweight fly on top of moving water requires a high level of skill. (It’s actually a lot like lassoing with a fly rod.)
The type of fly you use depends on the season, region, or type of fish you are trying to catch, says Love. Dedicated anglers craft and assemble their own flies. “I tried doing that one time and I didn’t do too great of a job,” Love says. He purchases his flies from fly shops instead, and always makes sure to carry two of his favorite kinds, a hopper fly and a girdle bug, in his tackle box.
He has traveled to parts of Colorado and fished the Durango River, as well as the Navajo Dam in New Mexico. He often travels with a group of friends, which include current and former coworkers, or his son. He has explored Henry’s Fork in Idaho a handful of times, and considers it his favorite fly-fishing destination. Described as “an angler’s dream,” the 127-mile river is located in the rural part of northeastern Idaho just 45 minutes from Yellowstone National Park.
“As I got older, I really enjoyed learning more about fly fishing.”
Love says one of his favorite memories came when he and friends were fly fishing in below-freezing weather. “It was snowing and 32 [degrees] and we’re sitting out there fishing, but we were catching fish!” he says. Another not-so-favorite memory involved a rookie angler accidentally hooking Love. “Thank god it was a barbless hook, but he caught me in the ear.”
“As I got older, I really enjoyed learning more about fly fishing.”Steve Love
Along with creating lasting memories, Love says fly fishing has taught him a few lessons—patience being a big one.
“I’m not always the most patient person,” he says. “Some of my business associates would say, ‘Yeah, he needs all the patience he can get.’” He also appreciates the individualism of the sport. It’s a fun activity to do as a group, but also all by yourself, he says.The next stop on his bucket list is Arkansas. Although he is usually only able to get away for a long fishing trip once a year, he hopes to explore more local fly-fishing destinations in nearby Arkansas and Oklahoma.
“My son reminded me recently, ‘Dad, it’s time for some good fishing trips,’” Love says. The two plan to return to Henry’s Fork this summer.
But in any season, Love is no fair-weather angler. “I enjoy all types of fishing—freshwater, saltwater, deep sea fishing, surf fishing. I just enjoy fishing.”