It has been on my mind now for the last couple of weeks as to why are women a minority in fishing? Whether it is as part of a tournament, within fishing clubs or just a social fish the men always seem to out-weigh the women.
I took myself last week to go and join Illawarra Fly Fishing Club. I didn’t know a soul but it was better that way. It wasn’t long before I was introduced around to some long standing members and a table of 3 other keen women anglers. These ladies welcomed me, happy that I now made 4 out of probably a room of approx 40 men.
Brains or brawn are not a requirement for fishing. Well let me re-phrase that it does help to be a little bit smart about it. So what’s stopping the women from joining in?
Firstly, I put it down to perception. Here’s a challenge. I dare you to go and ask a lady off the street her perception of fishing and I bet you get the answer of not wanting to touch the smelly bait, sitting their bored for hours thinking about all the unfinished tasks at home and then have to touch the fish that jumps around spiking you. If you ask them why they haven’t tried it, too busy doing house work or looking after the kids.
A majority don’t understand that you can make fishing into any form you want it. Whether it be the challenge of a tournament, the magic of fly fishing, actively hunting a target species with lures, either landbased, boat, kayak, kicking back waiting for a bite, getting the hands gruesome into the burley waiting for that big gamefish or making it a family affair. It can be as active or pleasurable as you wish it. This is what needs to be broadcasted across to the up and coming girls of our society.
Secondly husband/partners can either be a positive or negative influence. They have to want to take and teach you so you’re comfortable in asking questions to learn.
I work with a group of ladies that ask why would I want to spend 8 hours in the boat with my husband. For Scott and I this works as a positive tool in our relationship, not saying it will work for everyone. I guess through growing and learning together we have become the best of buddies, I am the one that is cranky if I can’t get out for a fish.
Ladies you have to forget about the housework, train the husband/partner to help, which will free half your time and allow you get out and enjoy the sunrises, the fresh air, scenery and perhaps the adrenalin rush of that fish on the other end of your line.
It is about changing perception of what fishing actually is. In my 20 odd years of fishing I have seen women grow in the sport but at a very slow pace. From 1 to 2 ladies in a tournament it can now be regularly 4 or more and the same goes for fishing club attendance.
With mentors such as Dolly Dyer, Kim Bain and Leanne Payne who have done a fantastic job for us ladies in the sport it is great to see a new breed come through such as Jo Starling, Tracey Mammen, Hayley Bonnici, Melanie Young and Chloe Taylor to name a few that are helping mentor the younger generation. These ladies are having a load of fun fishing and at the same time expressing that it is okay that you don’t know how to do everything but you will give it your best shot and have fun trying. Great work ladies keep alive the passion. Also with amount of available tools on the internet ladies don’t have to rely on partners to show them, you can learn off the computer at home and then the rest will come with time on the water.
Before you men think this is a women’s rights column it is not. I would just like to see more women introduced to the sport and experience the thrill. Once the perception changes so will women’s attitudes and fishing will become part of their bucket list of sports to try.
There is nothing better than going away for a girl’s weekend, fishing tackle packed and boats in tow with the essentials packed such as plenty of wine and food. Then wait for the fishing tales to begin; it is a load of fun. Keep fishing and sharing ladies.