Fly fishing has exposed me to numerous adventures and opportunities to learn over the past couple of years. The sport naturally provides experiences that ultimately develop into life lessons and values we inherit. Out of everything I have learned, something significant stands out from the rest.
Behind every strong female angler is another strong female angler.
Most female anglers would agree that somewhere along the road they were inspired, motivated or taught by another female angler. It is not easy for women to persevere in this highly male-dominated industry, but having a strong support group of female anglers breaks this barrier.
I’ve personally never been one to run with the girls. One of my first memories is from kindergarten when a girl told me that I couldn’t play house with them because I had short hair “like a boy.” That moment seemed to set the pace for the rest of my life.
My best friend growing up as a child was a boy. You would find us playing with bugs by the creek or stirring up trouble on our bikes across the neighborhood. I then went off to college and my first best friends there were three guys.
It wasn’t that I couldn’t be friends with girls, but I had a deeply embedded sense of comfort with men that I never had with women. I attribute this to the fact that after my parents got divorced I spent my most influential years with my father.
When I decided to pick up fly fishing, it wasn’t really a surprise to anyone. What was surprising is that for the first time in my 25 years of existence, this sport would give me the female support group I had always been longing for.
One of the most beautiful aspects of fly fishing is the way it unites people.
It really can be a team sport. I love watching someone fight a big fish and their partner shadowing their every step with the net, waiting for the perfect opportunity to scoop up the fish. It's a tango, bringing those two people closer together. Not only does fly fishing unite people physically, but it has the power to bond people together emotionally. My fly fishing group is full of women from all walks of life - a mother, a genius, an adventurist,
We consist of women who have been fishing for one year and women who have been fishing for 10 years. We were raised differently, we have experienced different things and we have overcome different obstacles. However, none of that matters when we’re on the water together. We are all united by one common love and passion. Most people would assume that a group of women fly fishing together would cause tension and competition, when in all actuality, the opposite occurs.
Competition is set aside and encouragement and support shines through. We all share flies, techniques and overall expertise. When one of us loses a fish, it’s as if we all lost a fish. If one of us lands a trophy fish, it’s as if we all landed a trophy fish. We bask in each other’s success and victories.
In today’s society, it is not easy being a woman. We are pressured into trying to be what society and the media tells us. We are constantly comparing ourselves to other women. It is amazing to see how quickly all of this dissipates when women get on the water together. Every female’s most beautiful and genuine self emerges when they are outside. Here is my simple advice to all women:
Get outdoors and lift each other up. We are the key to empowering one another.