For some people, fishing is about the fish while for others, like Aaron Wood, there’s a seeking of a different sort going on. From his initiation into fly fishing in the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the rites of passage he’s had to pass along the way, what began as a salvation of sorts has turned into something more – redemption. This is his story.


“I was never baptised as a child. Wasn’t dipped in holy water or christened before a crowd of smiling faces. Despite coming from a long line of god-fearing Southerners, somehow the window came and went.

I’m alright with that. I tend to do my church-going with a rod in my hand. It’s restorative, meditative, and gives me the clarity to understand that this world is still a place worth placing faith in.

But there were definitely times when I needed saving. In my late teenage years, I went off course. I don’t think baptism as an infant could have changed that. But somehow, somewhere between being a boy and being a man, I got lost down a long and harrowing road.  There were drugs, and a lot of them, and I exhausted a lifetime of luck to come out on the other side.

Way up on the mountain in western North Carolina I found solace.”


Read the rest of Aaron’s story in issue 15 of The Mission below.