Simply stated, men and women find females in the the fly-fishing world fascinating.
Even though I showed up a half hour into the Happy Hour for women interested in fly-fishing last night, the place was packed with co-ed members of the Southern Wisconsin Trout Unlimited chapter. The energy in the room zapped my skin and as I gazed across a conference room of ear-to-ear smiling faces, goosebumps reminded me why I am joining SWTU again. Fly-fishing folks care.
Walk into most TU chapter meetings and (from what I hear) you can expect to find about a dozen older white men wearing chamois flannel tucked into cargo pants sharing fly-tie patterns, embellished of course with the famous “fish tale” of why this pattern is so successful. Last night’s SWTU meeting on the second floor of the Coliseum Bar definitely burst outside this old school box. Women made up at least one third of the attendance of at least 100 people. This is great! Why? Women belong in this fly-fishing sport, as history proves, and we all need to embrace and celebrate it.
Jen Ripple from Dun Magazine, a fly fishing magazine by women for women, presented to all of us a short history of women in fly fishing just to prove this point. Today’s women interested in fly-fishing feel intimidated to join a group stereotyped as (one friend put it) “grumpy old male curmudgeons who creep out the women.” Despite this, or to spite this, women from all over the world, and plenty from Wisconsin, shine in the history books as the most innovative fly-tiers, record-breaking fly-fishers, and ground-breaking ecologists.
I find this extremely exciting, inspirational, and encouraging! Don’t you?!
You ask, “Why?” Why fly-fishing?
I don’t want to speak for anyone else. For me the sport offers at least two essential therapy treatments: 1) tying flies combines my passion for nature’s beauty and art into one gorgeous, tedious, zen and 2) fly-fishing joins friendship and environmental stewardship into one gorgeous quiet zen. Do you get stressed out? Lose sleep? Feel depressed? Grind teeth? Watch too much TV? Stare at a computer screen or mobile device too many hours in each day? Try fly-fishing. It seriously might save your life.
And if you join a TU chapter, especially the SWTU chapter, you will make friends with the most caring comrades (male and female) in your area.
So what am I going to do about it? I’m going to get more involved, fish a lot, and design a fly-tying group for the ladies. There are already at least five groups of guys doing this. What should I call it? Pink Squirrel Girls? Wine and Tying? I gladly take suggestions.
Happy balancing of work/life and Tight Lines,