The Beauty of Fishing
Written by Fred Rambo, president of the Orlando Kayak Fishing Club
Not all sports are created equally and access to various sports has often been made exclusive to various groups throughout the ages. In the ancient Olympics of the Greeks, women were forbidden from participation or even attending the events and had to come up with their own. Participation in any sport by a lady was not recommended until the late 1950’s with threats ranging from physical incapacity, induced masculinity and corruption to moral looseness and emotional breakdown. Race excluded African Americans from participation in professional basketball until 1951. Equal access to sports for women did not come until 1972 with the passage of the Title IX Act in the United States which prevented gender discrimination and equal opportunity for women’s participation in all levels of sports and educational programs.
With the emphasis that has always been placed on the personal value sports and the important role sports have in society, it is surprising that they have excluded anyone. Shouldn’t everyone in society be encouraged to develop socially and physically? Wouldn’t a culture want all of its citizens to become confident and healthy as well as skilled team players? Why not imbue our children with character and offer them the empowerment that comes with participation in sport? You can certainly bet these are the qualities I want my sons and daughters to have.
By now you are wondering what any of this has to do with fishing. This past year while participating in Kayak Angling Tournaments, the ladies had no problem keeping up with the gentlemen. In fact, the last competition I entered was not only won by the ladies but was dominated by them. Thinking back on all of the competitive sports I’ve played in my life, men and women were always segregated. It was refreshing to see competition from all facets of society and this encouraged a curious look back through the time.
Given all the history of discrimination in sports it may come as a surprise that one of the first how to books on the topic of fishing, written in 1402, was crafted by a Woman. Dame Juliana Berners of Great Brittan wrote her essay, “Treatsie of Fishing with an Angle”, describing various types of fishing, times to fish, how to fish and how to build the rod and even the flies!
The sport of fishing seems to me the most democratic of sports, and is open to all with the ability and opportunity to wet a line. You don’t need to be 8’ tall with 400 pounds of streamlined, testosterone filled muscle with the ability to build star destroyers and gunpowder with your bare hands and a bit of raw material! The traits that make a great angler are available to everyone and include a passion for the sport, experience, a relatively decent level of fitness and the ability to make the most of opportunities that present themselves. These traits come in many colors, ages and forms. So, when you see me on the water passing the time with my young sons and daughters, grab a rod and come along!
Special thanks to Fred for writing this article.