About Us


Reel Recovery was founded in 2003 by a group of avid fly-fishers, inspired by their fishing buddy’s ongoing battle with brain cancer. Witnessing first-hand the beneficial impact fly-fishing provided their friend, they created Reel Recovery to provide the same opportunity for other men battling the disease. Combining expert fly-fishing instruction with directed “courageous conversations”, the organization provides men with all forms of cancer a unique opportunity to share their stories, learn a new skill, form lasting friendships and gain renewed hope as they confront the challenges of cancer.

“What is a Reel Recovery Retreat?”

In a nut shell – a weekend of fly fishing and camaraderie for men with cancer. Though only a few days in duration, a Reel Recovery retreat can be a life-changing event for men battling cancer. The program blends outdoor activity with directed conversations to create a unique environment conducive to relaxed, open interactions. The program is designed to be both experiential and reflective, to develop group camaraderie as well as individual skills, and to build bonds of friendship that provide a reservoir of personal hope. This is a special weekend of support, reflection and adventure.

Mission & Purpose

The mission of Reel Recovery is to help men in the cancer recovery process by introducing them to the healing powers of the sport of fly-fishing, while providing a safe, supportive environment to explore their personal experiences of cancer with others who share their stories.

Our purpose is to address the growing demand for and limited supply of support services specifically tailored for men with cancer. Our overarching goal is to improve the lives of the men we serve. We seek to give these courageous men a respite from their day-to-day concerns so that they might gain a fresh outlook on their fight with cancer; we facilitate discussions that give them strength, encouragement and a new network of friends and support; we provide cancer information and resources to enable better management of their disease; and we provide them new skills to bring joy, enthusiasm and renewed hope as they confront the challenges of their cancer survivorship.

Program Goals

  • To 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.
  • To 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.
  • To provide participants information about cancer-related resources, both in the local community and nationally, to facilitate networking and enhanced management of their recovery.



“Who is eligible to go?”

All adult men (age 21+) who have (or have had) cancer, in any stage of treatment are eligible to participate.

“Do I need to know how to fly fish?”

Not at all – guidance is provided by expert fly-fishing instructors. Time fishing out on the water will be with an experienced fishing buddy who will help you find your way in the water.

“How many people attend?”

A maximum of between ten and twelve men (venue dependent) are invited to participate, to ensure the quality of the instruction and to create a powerful small-group dynamic.

“What will it cost me?”

There is no cost to yourself for the weekend – all you need to do is organise your own transport to and from the venue. Reel Recovery provides all meals, accommodation, fishing equipment and fishing licenses.

“Where is the retreat held?”

Currently our venues are located in the North Island of New Zealand (in the Waikato and King Country). Please keep an eye on our Facebook page for announcements of future retreats and their locations.

“Do I need medical clearance to attend a retreat?”

Yes – a signed medical release from a physician must be received prior to the Retreat.