War veterans learn to build custom fishing rods

A group of Amarillo men called the Fly Guys reach out to and teach wounded warriors and war veterans how to fly fish.

They do so by teaching them how to fly tie and how to build their own rods.

"They're actually constructing something that they'll be able to use later on, on the river and then ultimately pass down and hand down to their kids and things like that," said Amarillo Fly Guys Founder, Kyle McAdams.

The veterans were learning how to build lightweight fly rods, which they will have the chance to use next spring on their trip to Cimarron, New Mexico.

It's there that mcadams says the veterans will have a chance to relax.

"It's unbelievable, anybody that's gone fishing before realizes how great it is to get out and decompress, so you can imagine the greatness these guys feel in putting what they've been through behind them."

Each veteran started with a beginner rod building kit, which included reel seats, grips, guides, and thread, all the things you'd need.

"These will enable the guys to get completed rods and be able to fish with them, and they might not look the best, but they'll be able to fish with them and be proud of them," said Custom Rod Instructor, Austin McWhorter.

It also gives veterans the chance to be together with their brothers, and one veteran told me for him, it breaks up the monotony of waking up and going to work every day.

"Meeting other veterans that have been in the same places I've been and i'm able to talk to them and enjoy the comradery with fellow brothers that have been through the same situations I have," said Vietnam Veteran, Richard Luna.

McWhorter says when he first started volunteering he was a little nervous at first but those feelings quickly passed.

"Was kind of scared to come into the VFW hall, I'd never been into one and was really impressed by how stand-up everybody is and how friendly and open everybody is and it's just kind of like family. Everybody treats you really well and it's been a great experience so far."

Luna also said it's gratifying to be able to catch fish with the rod you made, and he can't wait until he gets the chance to try his out.

"It only takes about $80.00 to purchase a veteran a quality tying vise, $125 to purchase them their own fly rod kit, and $25 to provide them with tying materials that can last a year. There are also several pictures you can use of various outings with group photos as well as veteran participants and their fish. Feel free to grab anything you want from the galleries on our website and facebook page," said McAdams.

McAdams also said they couldn't do this without their sponsors, Brown Automotive Group, Amarillo National Bank, Budweiser Distributing Company, Top Notch Outfitters, Travelers Oil Company, Southwest Honda, Marble Depot Incorporated and Dennis M. Plunk, D.D.S.