X chromosomes on the water

Women on the Water

In a male dominated industry, it can be extremely intimidating for a woman to walk into a fly shop to buy flies or ask questions, to go out on the water alone to fly fish or even attend fly fishing events when you do not feel like you know enough or belong.

Through this blog post, I am hoping to spur y’all to have the confidence and grit to get out there and do all these things.

Y’all are well aware of the female presence on both Facebook and Instagram. Females are now the fastest growing demographic in fly fishing (or in all fishing for that matter) in one of the most male dominated sports.

YES. I use the word “sport”. In fact, Wikipedia states that the word "sport" comes from the Old French desport meaning "leisure", with the oldest definition in English from around 1300 being "anything humans find amusing or entertaining". So, I feel this word applies to fly fishing.

"We are strange and mystical creatures and maybe they haven’t seen us fish before and are amazed."

Now let me say before I continue about this mainly male sport, I have no problem with men being skeptical of us. We are strange and mystical creatures and maybe they haven’t seen us fish before and are amazed. Or on the other hand, another female may be using the sex sells option for her posts and men can’t fathom us truly in love with the same sport they enjoy because of these chicks that post for likes. They don’t realize we crave the same adrenaline rush when the indicator goes under the water, then we have the perfect hook set through practice while shouting with joy over the ziiiiiing of our fly line running across the river. That’s fine. I have no problem earning respect. Like I say to my female anglers, less skin and more skill!


So, let’s get back on topic, shall we?

What are some things you need to know before getting out on the water?

Casting. Yes, you can learn about the sizes of rods, types of line and what the various and odd names of flies are later. Without a good cast and presentation, you have no foundation. I watched a ton of Mad River Outfitter and Orvis videos when I first started out to learn how to cast and read the water. YouTube can be a great rabbit hole to go down for this.

Next, know your water. Going to a new lake, river or access? Google earth it. Great cheat code, right? It's the MapQuest of fishing. Cool. I showed my age, oh well. When you look at google earth you can see the layout to scout a few places to try. THEN GO DO IT. 

"It’s not what happens to you, but how you react that matters”

On to river etiquette. There is no need to sugar coat it, sometimes people suck but here is the truth “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react that matters”. So, if someone is in your space, nicely tell them. If they are being rude ignore them. Whatever you pack in, pack that trash out!


What is next?

FISHING! No one knows it all, we all make plenty of mistakes while fishing. So just fish. Most fishermen are more concerned with watching their fly swing downstream than what you got going on. Practice, make the mistakes and learn. Shoot, I still have at least one gnarly wind knot on every trip. 

Give yourself grace, but also get better. I know you are a fierce lioness and you can handle your own. Just know that myself and other lady anglers are rooting you on and are here to answer any questions you may have.

Tight lines and good vibes, y’all!

~Rebecca Baker

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  • This couldn’t be anymore true! I got in fishing when I was about 4 years old and got into fly fishing about 17 years later! Fly fishing is all about the cast! I still am learning how to cast as well! I will always learn to be better!

    nicole on
  • Hey there. I’m not exactly sure of the era this lifestyle became so masculine and I feel like I should apologize for the behaviour of some of us, but honestly I do not think that men who cling to much of anything They feel must be kept masculine to protect their insecurity.
    The history of fly fishing honestly belongs to women, at least a good piece of it.
    Dame Julienne, the mother of it all, Meghan Boyd who never ever fished but tied flies sought by Atlantic Salmon fishers all over the world and she was the Tyer for the British Royal Family. Carrie Stevens who was a Milliner who added extensively to the Rangeley Streamers and she never owned a vise or bobbin.
    Joan Wulff who is in her 90’s and still consults on fly rods and lines.
    Kathryn Maroun who before she contracted Lime Disease, was one of very few FFF certified Fly Casting instructors, President of Canadian Casting for Recovery, she wrote and produced her own fly fishing show called “What a Catch,” the first North American woman to do so, she also designed a line of women’s clothing so you could go from fishing to a business meeting. Kathryn is also my good friend.
    So you see k have no patience with men who try to own fly fishing. K know Kathryn put up with a lot of cowards bullying her. I also know she would like you.
    I support all women everywhere, I encourage them to ruffle feathers and do what they want to do.
    When I was an instructor I loved teaching couples. The guys were always harder to teach because they were men, they already knew how, but their girlfriends and wives got better faster, because they would listen because, they wanted to be better than their partner and most times they were!

    Kerry Pitt on

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