Fly-fishing – boys being boys

Looking to wind-down and relax with a bunch of like-minded surgeons? Dr Gary Kode runs an annual networking meeting – what’s the catch? It revolves around fly-fishing.

SOPPS was founded around six years ago as a society for plastic surgeons who fly-fish. The aim was, and still is, to bring like-minded colleagues together who otherwise may not have the chance. It is about collegiality, friendships and sharing with each other. It’s all about supporting and helping mates.

SOPPS is not exclusive – it is an inclusive Society and a wonderful forum, especially for those that are a bit reserved as it is a non-intimidating environment.

We get together at the end of a day of fly-fishing, share some appropriate beverages, prepare good food and throw around ideas. As is tradition, we always toast to Saint Hubertus, the patron saint of hunters, mathematicians and opticians. The environment lends itself to good robust discussion, openness and honesty. We discuss topics of real interest and concern, which are not always mentioned in the big meetings – for example, stress and burnout, billing and difficult patients.

We have around 20 members in Australasia and a couple from the USA. The plan is to approach a similar group in Canada, which is not confined to plastic surgeons, to look at some form of collaboration.

At present, we have an annual conference in November but individual members get together with each other more frequently. We have had all our meetings except one at Simon Thomson’s House in the Central Highlands of Tasmania. One year it was held in New Zealand. Next year it might be a salt water fly-fishing trip up North.

I would like to develop an international network for plastic surgeons who fly-fish and value our fundamental principals. Our meetings will intentionally stay small and personal. Joining is easy at present; contact me and I will keep you in the loop!