Fly fishing is an incredible, adventure-filled, challenging sport, and more and more women are revolutionizing the fly fishing industry and making a name for themselves in the water.
By Anna M. Cohen
You are walking through a cool river, the water streaming against your legs. Your feet find their way, slowly, carefully over the smooth, slippery stones. Around you is nothing but wild nature. An eagle soars overhead, and mountains rise up on the other side of a grassy meadow. You are seeing nature from a new point of view: the middle of a river. You are able to appreciate land that you wouldn’t normally see if you just stayed on the trails. You are working hard to make your way up river against the current. Your thighs burn and your core is engaged constantly to keep you upright. Your arms are tired, because they have been swinging a fly rod overhead for the past few hours, reeling in trout from various, technical, hard-to-work holes. And you are content.
This is fly fishing. This is something that more and more women are starting to get an interest in. Although the number of guys who fly fish probably still out number the girls who do, women are starting to stand out in the fly fishing world and make a name for themselves, inspiring others to give the sport a try. For example, if you need any convincing that you can be a beautiful and badass chick who kills it on a fly, just Google April Vokey. She somehow maintains picture-perfect makeup on while putting the guys to shame on the river.
I was introduced to fly fishing a few years ago, and if I’m being honest, I was a bit intimidated to try it at first. It seemed challenging and complicated, messy and dirty, and overall like really hard work. I soon discovered that all of my initial assumptions were correct. And yet I loved fly fishing.
The challenge and grit of fly fishing, especially the kind that involves wading for miles up a rocky, mountain creek are unparalleled, and the experiences you have while doing it are spectacular, too. I soon learned that the fact that I was a girl didn’t matter at all with fly fishing. I was soon out-fishing my fishing partners and getting to see some incredible places that I would never have seen otherwise, as it is inaccessible except by river.
Fly fishing is everything you think it might be, while simultaneously being a whole lot different than you could ever imagine. It will surprise you. It will make you cry. It will give you blisters. It will give you some of the biggest thrills of your whole life, like when you land your first trout on a fly or your first fish over 12 inches… Hell, every fish you catch on a fly will be the greatest thrill of your whole life. Guaranteed. Fly fishing takes skill. If you aren’t doing it right, you won’t catch a fish. So when you do catch fish, you know you did everything perfectly, from the selection and placement of a fly, to letting it float just right with the current, to setting the hook at just the right second.
If you are looking for a new way to challenge yourself in the great outdoors, fly fishing is a sport that deserves your serious consideration.
Start by heading to your local fly shop. Talk with the guides, get to know the best areas for a newbie to hit the river. Get some advice on what flies to use and what weight of line to have.
Take a class. Classes will teach you the basics of knot tying, fly selection, casting, and how to read the river. Get set up with a rod, reel, waders, and boots.
Rent first. Many fly shops will rent gear out to you so you can try it out and get a feel for what you like before you purchase it.
Women are quickly taking the fly fishing community by storm. They are proving that they are strong, capable, and clever enough to tackle this challenging sport. They are revolutionizing the industry and inspiring others.
Fly fishing is a great workout, a mental and physical challenge, an excellent way to get out in nature, and a world-class thrill. If you get out there and give it a try—a fish or no fish—you’ll have the experience of a lifetime and you’re sure to be left hungry for more.
Anna M. Cohen is a writer, adventurer, fly fisherwoman, and founder of the outdoor lifestyle blog ‘Wild Writes’. She is all about the mountains, chasing trout, and inspiring others to get outside. She is on a quest to live a life worth writing about. Find Anna on social @annamcohen and at www.annamcohen.com.