Sun Lakes Flyfishers Help Disabled Vets

Photo by
Lynn Thompson

Lorin Hicks, Club Member

The Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club (SLFFC) teamed with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHW) ( to host eight disabled veterans at a spacious lake in the Chandler Oakwood Hills development. The event occurred on the first day of December and was made possible by the generous hospitality of Sandra and Mike Pike. The Pikes are Oakland Hills residents, and Sandra is the president of the Oakland Hills Homeowners Association. Four Project Healing Waters volunteers assisted five SLFFC members to accompany and support the eight veterans as they pursued 10-pound carp visibly seen cruising the lake shoreline. Sun Lakes Photography Club President Lynn Thompson donated his time by spending the morning shooting pictures of the entire event. Also, special thanks to club member Rose Sumners for initially introducing the SLFFC to Sandra.

Action began quickly by 9 a.m. when one angling veteran hooked a large carp that snapped his line and stole his fly. The veterans plied their fly-fishing skills for nearly three hours under beautiful, blue skies, mild temperatures, and crystal-clear water. Our angling vets repeatedly expressed the excitement and anticipation of casting to large fish lurking just below the water surface.

As SLFFC’s founder George Abernathy summed up the day, “The fishing was fantastic, but the catching was slow.” Despite the lack of big fish in small nets, the PHW veterans learned some valuable fly-fishing technique tips from SLFFC members and PHW volunteers, met new fellow anglers, and picked up some great new fishing stories. All enjoyed a great day in the outdoors that was capped with a lavish barbeque hosted by the Pikes. PHW’s program coordinator Gary Shoman thanked the club, the Pikes, and the other PHW volunteers for their successful efforts to make the day a resounding success.

The partnership between the SLFFC and PHW is only one element of the role that the SLFFC plays in our community. The club solicits donations of fishing and camping gear to support PHW activities. Between the cash and equipment donations and event outings, the SLFFC raised in excess of $6,000 in 2021 for PHW.

The club’s philosophy is to bring people together who want to fly fish; no red tape, no politics, “catch and release.” Just wet your lines and go hunting and, very importantly, support our disabled veterans and active military personnel through fly fishing. Our club actively seeks members who want to learn or practice the sport of fly fishing a variety of fisheries within Arizona and throughout the West. If you enjoy fly fishing and have a desire to meet up with others who enjoy the same, then our club is what you are looking for.

If you are interested in learning more about the Sun Lakes Fly Fishing Club or donating fishing and camping gear to support Project Healing Waters, please contact SLFFC President George Abernathy at 480-521-1060 or [email protected], or visit