Women in Fly Fishing

Everything has changed- in the fly fishing sphere anyway. It is no longer solely a man’s world, a boy’s club where women are not welcome. Women have been flocking to the sport over the past few years. Many would even consider themselves “enthusiasts.” Gear companies have started targeting their female customers with gear made specifically for women.

There are lots of statistics, studies, and articles floating around discussing this new trend. Some statistics say that around thirty-five percent of fly fishers (not fly fishermen- that term is apparently dying) are women. The search to find gender neutral terms is as evident in fly fishing as it is in other once male dominated arenas. Terms such as fly fisher, fly caster, angler, and the somewhat clumsy fly fisherperson have become more common.

Actually, the oldest surviving English text on fishing is attributed to a woman. In 1496, “Treatyse of Fysshynge with an Angle” was published by Dame Juliana Berners. The book covered different aspects of fishing including how to tie a fly. Of course there have been many other notable women fly fishers over the years.

So what is the draw of fly fishing? Well some may attribute it to Brad Pitt’s movie from 1992, A River Runs Through It (um, yeah I’ll go fishing with Brad Pitt!) But according to one study, eighty six percent of women surveyed said they fished to spend time on the water. The draw seems to be enjoying the great outdoors. There are many reasons to love fly fishing for both men and women. It can be relaxing, exciting, challenging, and fun all in the same moment. There is always more to learn. Even the most seasoned expert can discover something new to love about fly fishing.

What about those men out there grumbling that they go fly fishing to get away for some peace and quiet? Well I might remind them how handy it would be if the women in their life loved to fly fish too- they would understand the need for another fishing rod despite already having fourteen at home, the draw of spending as much time as possible on the river, following the dog around hoping for a piece of hair to tie the perfect fly, and dinner table discussions might even include new fishing spots to try. And best of all, you may hear those beautiful words, “Let’s go fishing!”

by Angie Stephens


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