1) End of Stereotypes
Throughout my lifetime, albeit a very short lifetime so far, it always seems astounding to people that I enjoy fly fishing as much as I do. I can’t help but wonder: Is it because I am young? Is it because I am a woman? Is it a combination between the two? Sadly, I believe that being a woman interested in an outdoor sport is still something that is considered outside of the gender roles. It’s hard to understand my friends and family who are shocked or laugh when I tell them how interested in and serious about fly fishing I am. This cannot be anything more than a gender stereotype, that women are not outdoorsy. Women, ladies, girls, it is important to fly fish and talk about your love of fly fishing because this community needs to grow in order to end the stereotype of women as “indoor people.”
2) Mother Nature
Nature, throughout history has been defined as feminine:
- Mother nature
- Gaia, the ancient Greek mother of Earth
- Isis daughter of the earth
- Durga the Hindu goddess is mother of the universe!
- Nu Gua in Chinese mythology had the head of a human, but the body of a fish, it is she who built and fixed the Earth when damaged.
- Asase Yaa, for the Akan people of West Africa, is mother earth, and the upholder of the truth.
- Artemis, Goddess of the hunt, the most skilled bow hunter.
Reference Article from Time Magazine about Earth Goddesses Here
3) GOOD FOR US BODY AND SPIRIT
Fly fishing is one of the greatest forms of stress relief and peace. Anxiety and depression are not things to joke about, but there are many people who say that spending time in nature and it’s silence and stillness is one of the greatest methods to aide in these two very serious problems. I agree wholeheartedly.
For myself, there is nothing better than looking forward to a day of fly fishing. During finals at school or a stressful day at work, nothing helps more than the thought of standing in a river with my line in the water.
Fly fishing also benefits the body, fly fishing is a form of exercise. In order to reach good water and good fishing there is oftentimes a long walk or hike in. Especially here in New Mexico, there are not many ponds or rivers in backyards. My arms look amazing after the summer when every weekend I was fly fishing. Calf and foot muscles develop strength during wading after maneuvering slippery rocks. While it is not usually a high intensity workout, a full day of fly fishing is as much of not a bit more of a work out that a short run or walk.Regardless of how many calories it burns, fly fishing is definitely my preferred work out.
4) Patience and Gentleness
Women are usually more patient and gentle than our male counterparts. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen men lose fish because they don’t let the fish run until the fish is tired. My Dad gets so mad because I let fish run so well, and he so often loses fish because he sets the hook to early, or doesn’t tire out the fish enough. Women are natural fly fishers, we totally have what it takes and more!
Also I’d like to include here a little bit of science. So often I have people, especially women, ask me why I like to hurt the fish, and what is the point of fishing if I don’t eat them. It is hard for me to remain cordial and not tell them to go do some research before judging the catch and release fishing system.
Fish do sometimes die if they are out of the water too long, or they swallow the hook or are hooked badly. These are worst case scenarios and personally no fish I have foul hooked or caught badly have died, they all swam away quickly. We always make sure the fish are able to swim away. However, when a fish does die, that fish becomes food for the other big fish rather than the little fish, allowing those little fish to grow into bigger fish. This fish starts to feed the massive ecosystem of the river. While this does mean mankind has interfered, it doesn’t hurt the supply of fish. Catch and release fishing areas are actually saving our river systems from over fishing. Lastly, lets talk fish pain. We never want to cause a fish or any anima pain, and it will make many people out there happy to know that fish cannot feel pain. Their brain lacks the part that creates the feeling of pain.
“Fish have the simplest types of brains of any vertebrates… pain depends on a neocortex and other specialized brain regions in the cerebral hemispheres…. Fish, in contrast, have many small cerebral hemispheres that lack neocortex….The small, relatively simple fish brain is fully devoted to regulating just the functions of which a fish is capable. A fish brain is simple and efficient, and capable of only a limited number of operations.” –Dr James D Rose, PhD in Zoology and Physiology, Focus Study: neurological issues.
I feel that this science part was important. In my experience, this is one of the reasons some people hold back from trying the sport. I hope that answers some questions, and remember I am not a scientist, but I am an English major who did her research and this was the general consensus. I simply encourage everyone to do their research before putting something down.
After all the boring science lets get back to the main lesson here: be patient, be gentle, and keep tight lines everyone!
5) More Access for Women
If more women become interested in fly fishing, women will simply have more access to the same benefits of the sport that men have. For example, if there are more female guides and female owned fly shops, women fishing and traveling alone, would feel safer and probably go out fishing on their own much more.
For myself, this would be huge. I can only fish one place alone and feel comfortable because it is never crowded, and I am very familiar with it. If I was traveling to a new place on my own, a female guide would make me feel a little safer. With that said, I probably would have no problem setting up a guided trip with a male guide. I would tell people where I was and of course travel smart, but some women would be held back by the thought of being in the middle of no where on her own with a stranger of the opposite sex.
If more women start fishing, even more women will start fishing. I encourage everyone, men and women to start fishing because it is a wonderful sport, but women, you can do it too! Don’t let gender roles or fear stand in your way.