Merry Beth on “Women on the water”

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Independent Equality
By  MERRY BETH RYAN


I decided to write this article after witnessing the evolution of a sport which was once thought to only be a man’s game. Saltwater fishing though, is not just a guy thing anymore. I’ve concluded that fishing is one of the most equal opportunity sports in existence. It’s one of only a few sports where woman and men can compete against one another on the exact same playing field. There are never any handicaps and never any point spotting.

Women no longer need to have the clubhouse mentality of no girls allowed. Females of all races and backgrounds can and do enjoy fishing. Overall, the influx of women into the sport fishing industry is for the better. We’re seeing husband and wife fishing teams, more family oriented fishing tournaments, more youth divisions and more family fishing in general.

Woman anglers tend to be very focused and attentive. One of the best attributes a woman angler can offer is that she listens. Usually listening means learning and female anglers are eager to learn. This is one of the reasons most fishing guides will tell you they prefer to have ladies aboard their boats, especially when it’s a paying charter. A guide’s worse nightmare is a boat full of male anglers who simply believe they know it all.

Most women make wonderful anglers. They listen to instructions, they ask the questions male anglers would never ask and they follow instructions. Women also don’t find the need to muscle in a fish. They tend to use finesse while fighting their trophies. I won’t go as far as saying that ego doesn’t come into play because it does, but not to the outrageous degree it sometimes reaches with male anglers.

Sport fishing would become even more popular amongst the ranks of females if they would just shed the perpetuating stereo type that woman cannot be feminine if they go fishing. Woman can look just as glamorous on the water as they do during a night out on the town. A vast line of outdoor apparel is now available for lady anglers which has been designed by women for women. No longer do you have to make do with baggy clothing your husband or boyfriend loaned you. The perception that if a woman likes to fish she has to be a tomboy, no longer holds true. The balance of women in the angling community is on the rise and there is no reason why the numbers will not continue to increase.

Times are changing, woman are no longer waiting on the docks for their husbands and boyfriends to return from the days fishing. They’re now joining their male counterparts and enjoying all that the sport can offer them and their entire family.

It’s common knowledge in the sport fishing community, that lady luck definitely applies when out on the water. On any given outing the percentages are quite high that a woman angler will not only catch the most fish but probably the largest fish. There should be no excuses as to why more women don’t take advantage of the great opportunities sport fishing can offer. The peacefulness and tranquility of the ocean is soothing to all. Fishing is nothing short of the perfect stress reliever. Spending time out on the water with family and friends is priceless and the memories will be cherished forever.

In addition, female anglers learn fishing techniques quicker then men as they’re eager to be instructed. Male anglers often feel they can teach themselves.

There aren’t many things I personally enjoy more in life than fishing. On any given day something new can be observed and learned. Dolphins, birds, manatees and stingrays are just a few of the many species of wildlife available for our viewing pleasure. I often stop fishing to gaze up at the clear blue sky while silently taking a moment to be thankful that I’m alive and able to enjoy the pure serenity Mother Nature has to offer. On more than one occasion I’ve been left speechless while witnessing first hand the spectacular scenery the aquatic world illustrates.

Whenever you do get a chance to go fishing, remember to always bring a camera with plenty of film. For some reason, fish always seem to look bigger when the proud angler showing off their catch is a lady.

Actually, catching fish is simply an added bonus. Being fortunate enough to experience the whole opportunity with family and friends is what life is all about. Woman should never feel intimidated when it comes to fishing. Ask any fishing guide who has witnessed it first hand and he’ll tell you that most women will out fish their male counterparts.

It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to continue discussing women on the water without mentioning Betty Bauman. Betty is the founder of the Ladies Let’s Go Fishing organization. The program offers a weekend seminar series which provides a complete fishing experience in an environment, where everyone is equal. Some of the topics covered include inshore and offshore fishing, hands on training, skills training and an actual fishing excursion. Many women have said that after completing the course, their lives have completely changed.

For more information on
Ladies Let’s Go Fishing, go to
www.LadiesLetsGoFishing.com.

According to the National Sporting Goods Association, 14.3 million women fish annually. That’s more than the number of women who participate in jogging, basketball, volleyball, softball, golf or tennis. It’s now estimated that close to a third of all fishermen are actually fisherwomen. It’s no longer uncommon to overhear lady anglers asking their male counterparts how she should prepare ‘their’ catch. Many female anglers are really taking the initiative and even going on fishing excursions themselves.

So ladies, get out there and wet a line. We too can land those beautiful linesiders, bull reds, gator trout, leaping tarpon and powerful marlin.

Luckily for all of us, in the world of sport fishing the sky is the limit. Girls, get out there and give fishing a try, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Fishing is one addiction, you’ll be blessed to have.