Reel Recovery is a national non-profit organization that conducts free fly-fishing retreats for men recovering from all forms of cancer.

Reel Recovery Update - March 2014

If you would like to be a participant, volunteer, or make a donation please contact us.

National: Toll Free 800-699-4490  |  National Website  |  Texas RR Website |  Via Email

Texas: 817-894-7832 Mike Emerson |  |  | Oklahoma: 405-808-7116 Martin Weaver


2014 Spring:
Glen Rose, TX (April 11-13);
Boerne, TX (April 25-27);
Broken Bow,OK (May18-20)

2014 Fall:
Broken Bow, OK (Oct. 5-7) ;
Glen Rose, TX (Oct. 24-26)

Reel Recovery Update - November 2013

These are a couple pictures which I hope will touch the hearts of all our TFF club members. The man in the short, olive green poncho is a picture of Mike Emerson, our Reel Recovery State Coordinator with a participant on the Evening Hole at the Broken Bow Retreat this past October. Mike is being a Fishing Buddy to Larry (the man pictured with the cane in the longer poncho). Larry is 70 years old. He is from the country, and Reel Recovery had to pay to have his dog boarded during the retreat because Larry could not afford to pay for the boarding expense. And, of course, without knowing his dog would be ok, he could not have attended the retreat.

Larry's first rainbow
They went through the rain with wheel chair, cane, and fly rod into this gentle run of the Lower Mountain Fork River. Larry and 9 other men out of 15 retreat participants braved the rain that day to enjoy this fly fishing outing during the retreat. The reward for Larry was a great experience as it was for Mike! These pictures say a lot.
Mike Emerson said “this first retreat in Broken Bow was perhaps my best Reel Recovery retreat ever”. Mike is excited about a another Broken Bow Retreat next year to add to the ongoing Boerne and Glen Rose retreats planned for 2014.

Reel Recovery Update - Sept 2013

TFF donations of contributions and member efforts are making a difference in Texas Reel Recovery efforts!
Mike Emerson
Texas State Coordinator
Reel Recovery!!


2013 has been a great year of contributions from TFF to Texas Reel Recovery (RR). First, the TFF RR Team has grown to a start of two members to fourteen with strong support of our club Presidents (David and Marcos) and other officers. Add to that, the news about RR is spreading to Memorial- Hermann, Texas Oncology, and hopefully soon MD Anderson male cancer patients. Our club made a contribution of $1000 this year, enough to support a participant at a RR retreat. The Chairmen of Texas and National Reel Recovery are very appreciative of the TFF club support, and hope the TFF members will build a team to support a Houston Reel Recovery Retreat. The challenge to the TFF RR Team is to continue spread the RR message in Houston, to gain donations/support from companies and community organizations, and to hold a fund raiser staffed by TFF Members.

At the State level, Texas RR added a first ever retreat Broken Bow OK to be held Oct. 12. This retreat was funded by a generous donation from the Lower Mountain Fork Foundation , RR Texas funds (donations/fund raisers), East Texas and Louisiana Fly clubs. There is strong participant demand for another retreat at Broken Bow in the Spring of 2014.

2014 - On the Horizon

Four TFF RR Team members or more will participate as Fishing Buddies and receive Retreat Coordinator training in the Spring. Other RR Team members will be making applications for grants and donations from many Houston companies and community organizations. A fund raiser will be planned, staffed and executed to raise retreat funds for 2014/15.

Want to help?

If you are interested in doing more like joining the TFF RR Team, or helping in some way, or learning how to get your company to make a donation, contact Nancy Lappin at 281-923-9388 or Dave Steffek at 832-288-4774. You can also make a personal contribution – go to the website Check out the short story on our club’s Harry Molder as a participant at the Glen Rose Retreat.

Want more of the background on Reel Recovery? Go to the video on Utube -


FF RR Team member Dick Pipkin attended his second Reel Recovery Retreat (RR) along with Dave Steffek at the Louisiana Retreat near Jennings Louisiana. Dick and Dave served as Fishing Buddies standing beside retreat participants showing them how to cast a fly rod, helping them select flies, and doing whatever necessary to catch fish. And, the men they helped not only caught fish, but became their instant friends. Dave also led one group of the participants in a short class tying flies. One of the men caught a fish on the fly he tied—told everyone about it!

“Fishing buddies” are a key role at the every retreat. They help connect the fly fishing experience in the great outdoors to the participants. This is an important aspect of every retreat. More important is people supporting people. The experience of being a buddy is very rewarding, and the men at the retreat, coping with cancer, are very appreciative of the time donated to give them hope through a new avenue of life’s joy and hope as they look ahead to/in recovery.

Orvis, Fishing Tackle Unlimited, and Anglers Edge are flying the RR Banner and spreading the Texas RR Retreat flyers along with Bass Pro Shops. Men coping with cancer or their friends or relatives see the RR Flyers, the retreat locations and dates, and contact RR to sign up for a retreat. RR gets a significant number of participants by organization support like this, and people spreading the word about the support RR can provide. Thanks for Orvis, FTU, Anglers Edge and Bass Pro for helping Reel Recovery spread the word! The TFF RR Team will continue to have Teas RR flyers available at meetings—pick one up. Or, if you know someone, talk with them about the retreats and direct them to us for a flyer. Contact Dave Steffek 832-288-4774.Your personal donations to RR are also very much appreciated.

TFF RR Team Members Joe Burton and Dave Steffek set up Reel Recovery Information booths at Orvis Days events at the Westheimer and Woodlands stores. This same activity is going on in Austin and Dallas stores.

Posted, Sept 30, 2013

I would like to put a short post to this Reel Recovery section on the TFF website. This would be some feedback from a recent Joshua Creek Retreat Participant who provided some very well thought out feedback on his feelings regarding the retreat.

Dave Steffek

From a Participant at the Joshua Creek Reel Recovery Retreat – Bourne Tx April 19-21, 2013

This short blog entry contains the comments from a recent participant – Jimmy Blunt at the Bourne Retreat. There are web sites referenced within this blog for other reading about what people feel , how they see cancer and hope for recovery, and what encouragement and hope means to them.

There are two more retreats this year. If you know a man who has cancer or is in recovery, please tell the about Reel Recovery, and refer them to our web site for more information, Reel Recovery on the internet, or have them contact Dave Steffek at 832-288-4774.

Posted, May 01, 2013

This is Reel Recovery and This Is How They Help.

“This was the best time of my life! It’s by far the best thing for men with cancer.”

Retreat Participant

Combining expert fly-fishing instruction with directed “courageous conversations”, the organization offers a unique experience for men coping with cancer, a time to share their stories; learn a new skill, form friendships and gain renewed hope as they confront the challenges of their recovery. Retreats are conducted over a two-and-a-half day period at a Retreat Participant fly-fishing facility/lodge with onsite or nearby fishing access. All meals, lodging and fly-fishing equipment are provided at no cost to the participants. Retreats are led by professional facilitators and expert fly-fishing instructors. A maximum of 12-14 men are invited to participate, to ensure the quality of the instruction and to create a powerful small-group dynamic.


I discovered that while fly-fishing, I was in another place. In this place there was no cancer, no pain and no fear.”

Retreat Participant

“This retreat was so much more than fishing; this was a life-changing experience.”

Retreat Participant

“Reel Recovery is a gift. Being here has given me the strength and courage to move forward with my life.”

Retreat Participant

Provide a safe, reflective environment for the participants to discuss their disease and recovery with other men with shared experiences, thereby providing support and information to help them in their recovery.

Provide expert fly-fishing instruction that enables the participants to learn a new skill, form a healing connection with nature, and participate in a sport they can continue throughout their recovery and lifetime.

Provide participants information about cancer-related resources, both in the local community and nationally to facilitate networking and enhanced management of their recovery. If you would like to be a participant or a volunteer, please contact us.

National: Toll Free 800-699-4490
Texas: 817-894-7832 Mike Emerson

2013 RETREATS : Boerne, TX (April 19-21, 2013); Broken Bow, OK (October 13-15, 2013)
Glen Rose, TX (October 25-27, 2013)