Almost everyone I knew used to be a fisherman. I use the word “fishermen” on purpose because they were all boys. One was my father, others were my school teachers and coaches, and the rest were my friends. Depending on the time of year, we caught all kinds of trout and bass, and if they didn’t bite we’d look for pickerel and panfish. Striped bass and bluefish in the salt were especially welcomed during the fall run. Our garage was full of spin, conventional, and flycatcher, and we’d use anything. Back then, none of the girls in my middle and high school liked fishing, and that was a bummer. Given the choice of going on a date or fishing, I went fishing.
Gradually it changed. Women are the fastest growing group of anglers these days. I am fortunate that my wife loves to fish. My daughter too, but not so much my son. It’s the opposite of before and a change that has taken place over time. To celebrate Women’s History Month last March, we asked women to share their fishing stories with us to inspire more women to get on the water. And according to the following anglers, why we go fishing still remains a personal choice.
Kim Dugan @Kim Dugan talks about fishing to hang out with someone you love. I couldn’t agree with her anymore, especially nowadays. Fishing removes us from everyday life and enables us to reconnect with life. We learn lessons and we can apply them to other aspects of our life.
I understand and respect Dawn Gwinn’s @Dawn Gwinn holistic approach to fishing. My late father was a soldier and the only postwar consolation he found was on the water. Dawn’s message is inspiring, and the fact that so many people helped her heal speaks volumes about why many of us picked up a rod in the first place.
I smiled at Jean Harbor’s story @Jean Harbor. Like her husband, I am more happy when my wife or daughter catch a lot of fish. If they land a big one like Jean, I am overjoyed too. Jean’s view of the importance of sharing an experience is powerful.
Valerie Frost @Valerie Frost made me laugh because dragging a fish into the water reminds us of the humor in life. Life has an opportunity at times to take ourselves too seriously, and this is exactly why Valerie’s point of view is so important.
I never fished with my grandfather but Sissy Keeha did @ ms.sillygoose61. She has bonded with him and her story is about legacy and the passing on of a sport. Beth Hill Wood @bethsgotblueeyes, who remembers fishing as her best childhood memory, echoes that sentiment. I bet if the two of them shared a campfire they would go back and forth with lots of wonderful stories. Storytelling and fond memories are a sweet part of every angler’s life.
Some experts say the trust comes from Google, but I’m more interested in Shelby Mallory’s @ Shelby Mallory statement. Trust comes from doing things yourself. This includes planning, execution, mistakes and knowledge gained, which in combination lead to success. This trust is earned and carries over to other aspects of life. Trust gives us the stuff we can use when things get tough.
Fisheries call us to check our priorities as described by Gayla Webb Chisholm @Gayla Webb. What we thought was important before a fishing trip may not be the same as when we returned. In this fast-paced, digital world it is probably more important than ever to reconnect with ourselves through nature.
More and more women are fishing and that makes me wonder if we’ll see another shift. When we met, I took my wife fishing. The next step is for my daughter to take a guy on a fishing date? Ask me in a couple of years but right now I’d say those odds are pretty high.
Find and share the full stories of each inspirational woman mentioned above to inspire more women to try fishing!
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Tom Keer is an award-winning writer living on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, author of Covey Rise magazine, editor of Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and blogger of the Take Me Fishing program of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. Keer is a regular contributor to over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics including fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor activities. When not fishing, Keer and his family hunt highland birds over their three English setters. His first book, A New England Coast Fly Fishing Guide, was published in January 2011. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or www.thekeergroup.com.