A Fishing Dream Comes True
Hunt of a Lifetime (HOAL) is a nonprofit organization that fulfills fishing and hunting adventures for children, 21 years and under, who have life-threatening illnesses. One such youngster who was able to realize his fly-fishing dream was Daniel Myslivecek, from North Chili, N.Y.
Daniel was diagnosed with metastic melanoma at age 14. He went through extensive chemotherapy treatments along with a radical neck dissection to remove the cancerous lymph-nodes but two years after his HOAL fishing trip, Daniel succumbed to the disease.
I was able to learn about Daniel through the efforts of his father, Dean. Dean was kind enough to share with me photos and memories from Daniel’s trip.
Daniel and Dean began their trek on July 11, 2005 by flying from their home in New York to Colorado. But, to reach their final destination, a secluded beaver pond located 10,000 feet in elevation, they had to ride for hours by horseback before getting to their fly-fishing Shangri-La.
The questions I asked Daniel’s father helped underscore the beautiful memory the two shared —
What was it about fishing that Daniel enjoyed the most?
Dean: Fooling the fish into eating his fly or lure. He didn’t enjoy using live bait because it was too easy. Daniel loved the challenge of artificial bait, picking the right size, color and texture.
What was Daniel’s favorite fly to use?
Dean: In Colorado, Daniel’s favorite was the Dry fly: #10 Elkhair Caddis and he used a Wetfly: #8 RedHeaded/Egg-Sucking Leach.
What was Daniel’s favorite part of the trip?
Dean: Meeting the families in Gunnison, the shear beauty and catching the largest brook trout anyone from our family ever has!
What was Daniel’s favorite species to fish for and why?
Dean: Brook trout, because they rarely grow bigger than 16 inches. Their growth rate is about an inch a year, so that means Daniel’s 20-inch brook trout was 20 years old. Daniel was a great steward; he rarely ate the brook trout he caught because he understood they’re a rare and beautiful resource.
Anything else you’d like to add about the trip?
Dean: The trip was intense. Walking around with chest waders on at 10,000 feet was not easy on the cardiovascular system. We got tired but made the best of everything! We are so blessed by HOAL and Tenderfoot Outfitters of Gunnison, Colorado.
I also feel blessed to have been given a chance to meet Daniel through the memoirs Dean provided. It’s obvious that Daniel had a passion for the outdoors and an adventuresome and humorous spirit. I want to thank Dean Myslivecek for allowing me a glimpse into his son’s remarkable life.
Because of the Hunt of a Lifetime organization and the kindness of others, HOAL has been able to fulfill fishing dreams for 78 children. If you’d like to help make a child’s fishing or hunting dream come true, contact the Hunt of a Lifetime organization at www.huntofalifetime.org or call 1-866-345-4455.
Stephanie Rainey is a freelance writer and host of an outdoor television program in Northern, Arizona called “Stepping Outdoors.”