A Woman's Point Of View
Thoughts from a river wanderer
I love seeing women get interested in fly fishing. When a woman walks into the fly shop and asks questions about getting started I feel my excitement start to well up. The first thing I say is, “you’re going to love it”. I have found that most women who start fly fishing keep fly fishing. It’s not a fly by night hobby for us. It takes us hook, line and sinker.
Fly fishing is not a new sport for women. We’ve been fishing for as long as men have. It has only been recently with social media that it has been talked about so liberally. There has also been a new trend of fishing gear that is marketed toward women. But I have also found that communities of fly fishing women have popped up in many places. We like to fish with each other. We like to learn from each other. We tend to trust other women fishers rather than some guy working at the local fly shop, especially when it comes to gear and safe places to go fishing.
So for those who are interested in going fishing and learning a little along the way I suggest going to your local fly shop and asking about any fishing clubs that are geared toward women. Many fly shops have clinics that are women only. “What is a clinic,” you may ask? Well it is a class that introduces the beginner to rig set up, casting, knot tying, entomology, gear maintenance and more. Sometimes these clinics are free and sometimes there is a charge. If the group thing is not for you, I suggest hiring a guide, preferably a woman guide. They can teach you all these basics while actually fishing. It is astounding how much you can learn in just one full day on the river from a professional fishing guide. It really bumps you up as far as knowledge and skill. I know that southwest Montana has the wonderful women’s group Gallatin Valley Wad’n Women. Click on this link to find women fishing clubs in your state. http://www.womensflyfishing.net/clubs.htm
It’s great to find a mentor. Your mentor can help you buy gear that won’t put you in the poor house. She can tell you what boots and waders fit best for our bodies. Yes, most gear is fitted for men. There are some brands that have women’s waders. Redington is a great one. Simms and Patagonia also has women’s waders and boots, but you will have to sell your first and second born child, pawn your grandmothers pearl necklace, and withdrawal your Christmas savings account to buy them. (I might have to save this lament for another time). Anyway a mentor or fishing buddy can really be useful when it comes to getting set up with equipment.
Another extremely valuable thing a fellow fisher woman can do is tell you where it is safe to fish when you are alone and how to be safe when you are alone in the boonies. As women our minds automatically go to that question of safety and not just from the four legged kind of prey. Many women will bring their dogs with them for protection and comfort. Some will loan you their big scary looking dog to take with you on the stream. (I guess this too is a rant for another time).
So don’t be afraid to ask questions at your local fly shop as to women’s clinics and clubs. Your local community can be a valuable resource. Nothing will turn a potential fly fisher off than being exposed to the scoffing, scowling good ole boys club (ah, yet another lament). So it is really important to find other women fishers. Many women don’t even want their experienced husbands or boyfriends to teach them how to fish. It can really be off putting. When we are in the company of other women it is a jolly time. There is no pressure or rivalry. There is no competition. Nobody cares if you don’t know the difference between a stonefly and a caddis. We are aware there is a learning curve to fly fishing and it is totally acceptable to go at your own pace. It’s also acceptable to bring a flask of honey whiskey, as long as you pass it around.