Take Me Fishing…Ladies First!
By Steve Chaconas
The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) recruits people into fishing and boating, targeting young children, teenagers, and college kids. Women, the low hanging fruit, rock the cradle, bait youngster hooks, and are fishing’s future.
When thinking of someone who fishes or is good at fishing, 8 in 10 women think of men. Ignoring this background noise, veteran Green Top pro staff angler Christie Bradley thrives on competition and opposition. Earning the esteemed position as the highest finishing female angler in a top level “men’s” Bassmaster tournament, Christie encourages and educates women and young girls on fishing’s benefits. “I’ve been examining what is it about me that makes me enter into male dominated stuff, like working in cyber security. I like challenging myself.”
Along with barriers and participation challenges, RBFF research indicates that women who fish are happier and healthier than those who don’t. Christie says fishing encourages confidence. “It’s a snowball effect. As you master skills, you want to learn the next thing and you’re more confident and proud of what you’ve learned and you share it, a sense of accomplishment and that feeds the desire to continue to perfect other skills.”
As female participation in fishing hits record levels, nearly half of female anglers don’t feel respected by the angling community and 1 in 3 feel stereotyped. While appreciating that the industry targets women Christie, pro staffer for Pure Fishing, Mare Marine, and Ranger Boats, says women complain about being underrepresented. “It’s our own fault. If we can’t put aside excuses, we can’t blame the industry for lack of support for us…companies are seeking us to represent their brand if we’re good representatives. We shoot ourselves in the foot, damaging our own brand when complaining. We have more opportunities than men, but women are so preoccupied with reasons why they can’t succeed.”
A 2022 Southwick Associates study found the average female angler in the U.S. spends $962 annually on fishing gear and services. A 10 percent increase could provide an additional $1 billion in revenue to the sportfishing industry. Producing women’s gear for decades, fishing gear specialist Simms recognizes that women in fishing is a fast growing sector.
Eighty percent of women don’t think fishing gear or apparel is designed with women in mind. Simms offers women stylish gear and apparel meeting the same technical fishing gear demands as men. More than stylish, Simms women’s waders, jackets, and a variety of sun protective gear contain cutting edge technologies. Simms steers clear from taking existing designs and tweaking a color or pattern or making the piece smaller. From the ground up Simms utilizes premium fabrics, technologies, and fishing features to form fit the female shape. Hardcore female Simms fishing team member’s field test, insuring women get what they want.
When the Women’s Bassmaster Tour ended, Christie entered “men’s” tournaments. “I jumped at the chance to take advantage of the Opens, time to step my game up, competing against the guys, surrounding myself with better competition to make me better.” RBFF reports women who fish have greater perseverance and are more likely to not let setbacks discourage them. Almost half of women say fishing teaches them patience and develops confidence. Christie summarizes. “A difference for a man and woman in fishing is accepting boat challenges. You need to handle adversity when you have a breakdown on the water, self-confidence helps you handle it.” Confidence in one life aspect can spill over to another. “Fishing is just accepting another challenge.”
Of women who fish, 1 in 4 say it improves their mood, brings them peace, and helps them manage their mental health and long-term stress. The RBFF campaign inspires more females to feel comfortable trying this life-enhancing activity. Christie says, “The outdoors continues to be where I’m able to absolutely focus, to shut out all other things, and enjoy being in nature and seeing the cool things out there.” Visiting new bodies of water and troubleshooting the fishing puzzle is exhilarating and alone time helps center her and reduces stress levels thinking through things. Studies state women who fish have higher self-esteem and a clear mind.
Moms are gateways to families, planning activities, managing calendars, and more likely to introduce children to fishing, so industries are working to overcome barriers wherever they exist. Many women anglers, guides, and outfitters can fish, row, pole, and run boats with the best of them. No matter the weather or body of water, Simms provides women with gear to remove barriers. Interestingly, clothing color choices allow femininity, but maintain Simms’ hardcore vibe.
Take Me Fishing‘s 2023 campaign confronts barriers and inspires women to challenge themselves to try something new to find their best self while supporting a more inclusive fishing and boating environment. Christie says if a girl shows interest in fishing, make it a priority to take her out. “I’m willing to help any girl to shift from only taking the boys fishing and hunting…if you see a spark, chase it down.”
Inspire women to try fishing and boating, visit takemefishing.org/find-your-best-self.
Potomac River Bassing in SEPTEMBER
A seasonal shift has fish moving and eating. Moving lures cover water as grass beds dissipate. Fish are shallow. Lots of bait around, so use bulkier lures and bigger soft plastics.
For small targets, wood, grass and docks, pitch Texas rigged Mizmo tubes on 12 pound test GAMMA EDGE fluorocarbon line with a 3/16 ounce weight.
Bladed jigs and shallow diving crankbaits on 12 pound test EDGE line can bounce off wood and snap from grass.
Topwater lures cover water in most conditions. Poppers and walkers worked quicker in clear and shallow water or slower in slightly stained or deeper water can locate fish.
Frogs produce under docks and over mat remnants. When bass explode on it, set the hook upward and horse them out of thick cover. White frogs make it easier to see strikes.
About the Author: Capt. Steve Chaconas is a Potomac bass fishing guide & freelance writer. Potomac River reports: nationalbass.com. YouTube channel NationalBassGuide.