The recent growth of women in fly fishing during the last decade is long overdue, and an event to be celebrated. For too long fly fishing has been thought of as a stuffy sport full of white-haired men. That has proven intimidating to both women and our youth, and it is a welcome change to see those barriers falling down. The truth is, women make excellent fly anglers and I always look forward to fishing with them.
When I first started guiding I rarely had women in my boat. When I did, they were almost always accompanied by their husbands. Many of those days were miserable as the husband tried to guide his wife from the back seat of my boat and I could hardly do my job. What I learned during that time was that women have remarkable potential as anglers. When I had a man and woman who both had little to no experience in the morning, by the end of the day the woman would undoubtedly be the better angler.
Women approach the whole sport of fly fishing differently than men do. Often they are actually interested in the whole process while men tend to focus on the end result. When it comes to casting, men think that more is the solution to any problem. More power, more force, more speed while women will actually take the time to think about the problem and how to solve it. Men look for a quick fix and immediate results, but women will often give up opportunities to catch fish if it means correctly solving a casting or fishing problem.
I am not trying to beat on men here. There is no shortage of great fly fishermen today, but as a guide it is refreshing to have a woman in the boat. They are great anglers, clients, and impressive ambassadors of our sport. We need to do everything possible to encourage more women in fly fishing. This year was the first season where I had a very experienced angler and wife who brought her husband as a rank beginner on a trip. I hope to see more of that in the future.