Anglers attending ICAST had the opportunity to gather at the RBFF 60-in-60 booth, snap photos and share stories about fishing and boating. I showed their attitude in the campaign t-shirts with sayings like “I am the captain of my own ship”, “I’m not afraid of making waves” and “I’m shedding labels” and connected with top anglers who make a difference in sports and share their experiences on social media. I was fortunate enough to interact with them on a social level and it was even better to have such a unique opportunity to share our recent adventures and collaborate on future personal endeavors.
On the floor of the show it is evident that men dominate the sport of fishing, but as Vice President of Communications at RBFF, Stephanie Vatalaro noted, “45% of new fishing entrants last year were female and that number is still growing.” it is imperative that we do our best to bring the sport of fishing to more women and girls on the water and to preserve our water for boating and fishing in the future.
During a brief live Facebook interview at the rally, I was asked, “Why do you think women should be involved in fishing?” Although fishing is a male dominated sport, I have always felt like a fisherman and I think it is important for women to feel like they have a place in the sport of fishing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this awkward pause when giving my email address to someone, usually followed by curiosity. “Fishing … you mean how what guys do?” Instead of offending myself, I take this opportunity to encourage women and girls who may not have a significant other or relative to take them outdoors, and show them that fishing is an incredibly rewarding sport for everyone.
SheFishes2’s Debbie Hanson also interfered during the live feed. As an angler and fishing guide, she added, “It’s about getting out, detaching yourself from everyday life and learning.” Fishing gives us the opportunity to connect with the people you fish with. Everyone has a knowledge or experience to gain, and every trip to the water is a new story for the memory bank.
On four days a year, ICAST shows the latest innovations in fishing equipment, accessories and clothing. As an angler in a male-dominated sport, it was empowering to see these women come together and realize that there is a real place for women in this industry. There is new fishing gear for the angler. It’s refreshing to see that we are actually making a difference in the world of fishing and boating.
Learn more about the Women Making Waves campaign and help us spread the word that we are calling all female anglers, mothers, daughters, watermakers and adventure seekers to try their hand at fishing! Just because we believe everyone should be excluded from such inspiring and relaxing sports as fishing and boating.