In my new novel, River Whispers, the main character, Regina Bernard, likes to fish. Whenever she can, she steals away and drops a hook in Idaho's Snake River. Fishing calms Regi and makes her feel at one with nature. Of course, when she comes upon a dead park ranger in the willows, her world spins out of control, but it was bound to happen. After all, the book is a romantic suspense. Murder and mayhem is expected. And remember it is fiction.
Some people may say only a fictitious woman would enjoy fishing. Real women don’t like it. But some people would be wrong in that assumption.
|My mother on one of her fishing trips.|
We drove to the middle of nowhere and had to walk through open grazing pastures where huge Hereford bulls roamed about, but my mother was a woman on a mission—to teach me the pastime she loved. We found a good spot where the water rippled over river rocks. I watched as she stuck and looped a worm on my hook, tossed the line out in the river, and then handed me the rod. She showed me how to hold it and tease in the line. She told me where to stand so the fish couldn’t see my shadow in the water. I stood there swatting horseflies, stepping on ants, and keeping my eye on those huge bulls who occasionally bellowed. I thought the day would never end.
And then, I felt a fish hit my line.
My heart raced as I watched my graphite pole bend when the trout on the other end tried to swim away. All at once, I became caught up in reeling that fish to shore. Mom was jumping up and down just as excited as I was. The thrill of the moment took control of me. As soon as I had the fish close enough I couldn’t wait for the net and flipped it onto the bank. I’d caught my first fish!
But, you may say, that’s just you and your family. How do you know other women enjoy the sport?
According to Betty Bauman, the founder of the “Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing!” organization, she had a hunch that more women would fish if they had a chance. Located in Florida, she approached the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission about a weekend seminar where women could learn fishing theory, practice fishing skills, and participate in a fishing trip. Over 120 participants showed up, women from all walks of life. Her program became nicknamed the “No-Yelling School of Fishing” and has expanded to other states. You can learn more about her organization at Ladies Let's Go Fishing.
Then there’s Claudia Espenscheid, President and CEO of Team Fishin’ Chix. After living through several hurricanes and having her world tossed upside down, she became focused on fishing. She said, “I demanded an avenue that allowed me to feel empowered and self-confident in my existence, which had completely spun out of control. It was so weird standing in line for ice, water, and food, something that I had never really thought twice about. If everything truly continued to go down the tubes, at least I would have the skill-set to feed my people.” So she went to a sporting goods store and asked for all the equipment she would need to go fishing. She said, “…at the age of 40, I unknowingly reinvented myself into a Fishin’ Chix.” She founded the Pink Rubber Boots Ladies Fishing Rodeo and other events. You can learn more at Fishin' Chix.
So . . . there are real women who like to fish. My mother was not alone in her excitement over the sport. I dare say there are thousands of women who are like my mother and me. Maybe we fish because it fills a need deep inside us to provide food for our families. Maybe we do it because we like to be at one with nature. And maybe we do it because the river whispers to us. But the bottom line is—fishing is just darn fun.
Do you like to fish? Comments from guys are welcomed as well. I'd love to hear about the fish that got away.