“Catch and Release” – A Poem by Branden Wells, USMC (ret)

Over the past decade, we have received hundreds of incredibly moving testimonials given by PHWFF veteran participants, their families, and hospital staff. Reading first-hand about how challenges, heartbreak and adversities were overcome through the help of the PHWFF program is tremendously significant and heartwarming.  We are particularly honored to a share a wonderful poem penned by PHWFF Roanoke, VA participant Branden Wells, USMC (ret) that he has dedicated to “the Veterans of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing.”  It speaks volumes to what we do.  All of us at PHWFF would like to thank the Branden for so eloquently crafting these lines and sharing them with us.  Our hope in sharing it with you is that it will perhaps expose others yet uninformed to the healing that occurs in our healing waters.

Catch and Release

Daylight, whisper of the riffle as the cold water slowly wakes,
Quieting your mind, silencing the memories, numbing the aches.


A tight neon loop seeks the fish as I cast their direction,
There’s a calm, a serenity, the water causes Reflection.


Back cast area secure, as I’m shooting the lines,
Helps me forget the Over There, forget the hardest of times.


It’s a healing, a fresh day, waiting to bring some satisfaction,
It’s a fraction of a distraction from the grit of unspeakable action.


A frantic trout explodes from the stillness, pure ichthyological power, struggling for Freedom’s sake,
The rod bends and it flexes, but like US, it will not and cannot ever


Dedicated to the Veterans of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing

Branden Wells, USMC (ret)
PHWFF Roanoke, Virginia

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