The book on fishing and the outdoors for grief relief

Grief is something very real. We all deal with it differently. When I lost my mom earlier this year, I turned to some quiet time in the outdoors – walking, reading a book, remembering many of the good times, stopping at her gravesite. It was a great way to reflect and accept the loss of someone close.

It was also a very normal progression. Our parents get old. I know in my heart my mom is in a better place, but it still hurts that she is gone. Still, a piece of her is with me.

For my friend Joel Spring of Ransomville, it was different. He lost his daughter to a brain tumor at the age of 23. It’s not supposed to happen that way. Sometimes life isn’t fair and you question why things happen the way they do. The tragedy struck Spring like a freight train. He was crushed, losing a daughter well before her time. It was far from being a normal progression. His only escape was fishing and the outdoors.

Spring would grab his kayak and head out fishing, grieving along the way with each paddle stroke and with every cast. If life is a river, he was pushing the water along as he struggled forward against the current. Sometimes he wouldn’t make any progress at all. Other times he went backward. Fish and fishing became a welcomed distraction.

Along his travels, he began to put his experiences into chapters for a book, detailing his feelings and transforming them into words. Sharing a personal battle that people can relate to if they’ve lost someone close, Spring slowly crafted “Strong is the Current.”

For Spring, he envisioned time as a river, flowing around its many curves and bends, currents and rapids. His words will make you laugh, and they will make you cry. You will enjoy this book if you are a fisher person – or not. Once you read the book you will want to share it with someone close. You will want to buy it for a family member or a treasured friend. If you need a gift for someone who has everything, this book would be a perfect stocking stuffer at Christmas, a birthday present, or for a friend who has just lost someone close and is having a hard time coping.

Fishing and the outdoors is a perfect escape for some people, but it’s different with each individual. It could be birdwatching or hiking the Adirondacks (which I did with my mom as a youngster, another special memory). Maybe it’s fishing in a small aluminum boat or fly fishing on an inland stream. Whatever the case, find your sanctuary and deal with your grief accordingly. It’s important to come to grips with it and accept your loss, however difficult it may be.

Spring grew up in Niagara County, fishing Twelve Mile Creek in Wilson as a place of refuge and a place for fun. He returns to this hallowed water time and time again, catching fish like longnose gar, bowfin and bass. He has some favorites. It’s the fish that have helped him through these difficult times, a grief he continues to deal with.

Even the book itself did not come easily when it came time to printing it. The publisher of his earlier books (The Ultimate Guide to Kayak Fishing, The Ghosts of Autumn, Thursday’s Bird, and Season of Obsession) really enjoyed reading the draft of the book, but the company declined to publish it because it didn’t fit with their library of offerings. Spring tried a couple more publishers, only to receive the same – good book, but …

It wasn’t until Spring was introduced to West River Media on Grand Island, N.Y., that the prospects of seeing his latest work would become a reality. Enter Jerry and Rick Kustich, local fishing authors who grew up right here in western New York, like Spring.

“I’m proud of this book,” Spring says. “I think the writing is good, the aftermath of how I dealt with losing Jen. I can’t say enough good things about Jerry and Rick Kustich with West River and their attention to detail. I was thoroughly impressed with how they handled everything.”

The book is available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I’ve read it three times so far. I will read it again.

Categories: Blog Content, New York – Bill Hilts Jr

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