No, that's not my comment, it's the tag on an article
in the Summer 1999 Trout magazine. The article, written by the
magazine's editor Christine Arena, seems to say she had a perfectly wonderful
time fishing striped bass, one morning last month. In fact it was so engrossing
she didn't realize until the second hour she was the only woman there.
Quoting Christine, "While accustomed to fishing in communities of men,
I'm still disappointed when I don't see other women anglers. There are
several reasons for this, from my belief that women should have a stronger
presence in the fishing industry, to my wish for more women conservationists.
And on a lighter note, I'm tired of being watched by the guys. I'm sure
they're simply curious or, as was the case with the somewhat stoical fishermen
on the Potomac, they're just looking up to see where the laughter's coming from.
But with more women fishing, I know each of us will be less of a spectacle."
Christine goes on to make a pitch for the International Women Fly Fishers and
their annual festival in Stratton Vermont this coming October.
I find Christine's comments interesting from the standpoint I don't share her
disappointment. The recent FAOL Fish-In did not have "equal" numbers of
male and female anglers, but we did have several - who fished on their own or
with their husbands. I sure didn't notice if we drew a crowd, and don't think
anyone in attendance found it noteworthy that women were there and fished.
Certainly not a "spectacle."
There is part of a paragraph in Christine's editorial however that puzzle's me.
I'll quote it in full, "We're making some progress. A recent survey by the
American Fly Fishing Trade Association says that 25 percent of the nation's
active fly anglers are women. And a new organization, the International Women
Fly Fisher (IWFF), is now helping women anglers of all skill levels to network,
exchange information, and raise our profile in the industry and the media."
Raise our profile? What is that about?
Following paragraph, "It's a forum to interact with like-minded women, advocate
for better fishing products, and support the participation of women as guides,
pro-staff advisors and instructors," . . . .
Excuse me? What do you mean advocate for better fishing products? Would
you mind being a little specific here? Support the participation of women as guides?
Most states have license procedures for guides. There is no "female guide license" or
"male guide license." The prospective guide has to be able to do the job. And prove
it. Support how? Only hire female guides? Get real.
Pro staff advisors? It is my understanding that Pro-Staff members are chosen
by the level of expertise, ability to communicate with the public, and their
visibility. Is the IWFF suggesting manufactures hire women to pick the pro staff?
I'm not at all clear what the IWFF thinks their mission is.
I am not against folks coming together to inspire and learn from each other.
We just had a wonderful experience doing exactly that in the Black Hills of
South Dakota. Big time.
The interesting thing is no one had an agenda. There was no mission
statement. Just a bunch of like minded folks who spent some time together,
tied some flies, cooked some food, did some fishing and shared the
best of what fly fishing has to offer.
Too bad you missed it Christine. ~ LadyFisher
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