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Ask Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is recognized as an authority on surf fishing for striped bass. He is the author of six books and hundreds of magazine articles. Frank is a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and lectures throughout the Northeast.

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  #1  
Old 01-25-2015, 07:03 PM
JoeG@Breezy JoeG@Breezy is offline
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Default Fly Fishing and Women

I usually attend a number of mostly surf fishing focused shows each year. One takeaway from these shows is the almost complete lack of female attendees. The only women are those manning the booths and helping their hubbies manning the booths of small businesses. Last Friday I went to the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset NJ. I could not help but notice all of the women in attendance; working the product booths, giving seminars and in general attendance. There were even seminars for women only. There were quite a few women there. So the question: Is Fly Fishing more artsy and civilzed than bait bucket, boat and surf plugging ? I'm thinking yes, or it's at least viewed that way. What say you ?
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Old 01-26-2015, 06:42 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Women

" Is Fly Fishing more artsy and civilzed than bait bucket, boat and surf plugging ? I'm thinking yes, or it's at least viewed that way. What say you ?"

Your show observations could be an accident. In general women are underrepresented in all outdoor activities. The lowest level of participation is in hunting. If you meet a woman in the woods hunting take her picture! The fly fishing connection that you speak of might be a recognizable trend. Not sure. I know our daughter, who teaches for a big outdoor house, gives fly casting lessons but she comes from an unusual world of Joyce and I who -- if you have read any of the auto-biographies -- would have to involve fishing. But I certainly don't think of our family as representative. The rate of female participation, much to my distress, is dismally low. That is not likely to change much in your lifetime.
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Old 01-26-2015, 07:02 AM
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Women

One aspect of fly fishing, there is a "Casting for Recovery" program that many clubs, including my local one, run that is specifically targeted for women with or having survived, cancer.

It's a National program and we've met women in our community who, once they found out I fished, mentioned having gone through the program and one in particular expressed an interest in continuing on fly fishing.
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Old 01-26-2015, 11:57 AM
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Women

It might be more accurate to tone down my original answer. My daughter, who is a Maine guide and casting instructor, is working with all women and they all are rabid participants and she also has a lot of clients. Joe@Breezy just might have a point.
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Old 01-26-2015, 02:35 PM
John_P John_P is offline
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Women

I did see at the Somerset Fly Show they had some sort of cocktail reception for women. No idea of the details, but was fairly well attended.
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Old 01-26-2015, 03:47 PM
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Women

The more we talk about this, the more credence I give Joe to his theory. Never forget that I am called Mr Smarty because I often am not. Next question is why? The outdoor world is loaded with variations from surfcasting to skeet shooting to name only a tiny part of the list and the female recruitment is dismal. But unaccountably some things appeal to what we used to call the "distaff". I know in sporting clays, which is a clay target variation of skeet, women love to participate and they do well. Might be that it is so social. This thread is really making me work. It buzzes around in my head.
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Old 01-26-2015, 04:26 PM
JoeG@Breezy JoeG@Breezy is offline
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Women

Frank
On one of your book covers there is a visual of you powering a cast into the darkness. I'm sure you know the picture. There are zillions of photos like that depicting guys with stout rods standing in surf, on rocks etc. Then there are all of the videos on youtube. They seems to fit an image of what we expect a surfman to be. The boat fisherman's image is not much different.
Now think about all of the visuals we get from fly fishing. Flat water, fall foliage, riffles, a soft stroke with a rubbery looking instrument and the line flying overhead in a nice tight loop, all while standing thigh high in a quiet stream. Seemingly no power involved, just technique.
Could it be that it just looks like a "softer sport", sort of like tennis vs UFC ?
Another thought I had was that it seems more cerebral if the variety of techniques, available specialized stuff is any indication. At that show there had to be 30 rod makers, another twenty of so reel marketers and about a half billion fly tiers. The equipment is light, the fish are generally smaller, the venues..well they are not the big bad atlantic surf and it's daylight fishing. Lot's of exotic locations.
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Old 01-26-2015, 06:56 PM
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Women

Well, it would be easier for me if you posed a question. the notion that fly fishing is a daytime endeavor flies in the face of all my surf philosophy. No doubt what you saw at the show was day addressed and I only fish, at least when I did it in freshwater in the day time. Next thing is would a woman fly fish at night? If not then, in the striper surf at least, she would be missing something. This business of fishing is all interconnected and while fly fishing belongs in the mix, you have to have the lights out. When I meet a guy fly fishing, and I would soil myself if I met a girl, at night I know in my heart of hearts this guy is the real deal. All the parts have to come together. Fly fishing, shore, night, competence.
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Old 01-27-2015, 08:02 AM
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Women

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeG@Breezy View Post
I usually attend a number of mostly surf fishing focused shows each year. One takeaway from these shows is the almost complete lack of female attendees. The only women are those manning the booths and helping their hubbies manning the booths of small businesses. Last Friday I went to the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset NJ. I could not help but notice all of the women in attendance; working the product booths, giving seminars and in general attendance. There were even seminars for women only. There were quite a few women there. So the question: Is Fly Fishing more artsy and civilzed than bait bucket, boat and surf plugging ? I'm thinking yes, or it's at least viewed that way. What say you ?
1. Fly fishing is more "artsy", that is for sure. That women gravitate toward it seems no surprise as
2. (Frank is going to attack for this but..) I've always said that fly fishing is "for girls". I've gone to calling it "girly fishing" on many an occasion.

I have developed this "view" from years of associating fly fishermen with Democrats!
(I'm sure there are some examples of the opposite somewhere)

JC
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Old 01-27-2015, 03:01 PM
John_P John_P is offline
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Women

Walking around the fly fishing show in Somerset NJ is a good way to be reminded of the differences.

You won't find many shows for regular saltwater fishermen that have as many booths on books, and such an interest in historical or collectors books. You see more than a couple booths on bamboo rods. More booths on artwork. A strong emphasis on destinations and high end fishing lodges. Jeez, I bring home the brochures and my wife looks at them and she says "i'd go there" to 90% of them. You've got "Friends of the Delaware" etc. and various chapters of Trout Unlimited manned by women volunteers. Some vendors set up furniture in the display area encouraging people to come and stay for a long chat, and a couple were serving wine later in the day.

Many of the presentations are slick with heavy use of film or high end photography.

They even had fly fishing movies on the Friday night, with a full stocked bar in the back of the very full ballroom.

I go to many of the saltwater shows and its basically a nice flea market, with rows of beef jerky and rubber shads

That doesn't always translate to more women on the water, but its a helluva more inviting thing to take a woman to fly fishing show these days.
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Old 01-27-2015, 03:38 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Women

All the tourist and gear, fishing, hunting, target shooting industries see the growth potential in getting women involved in what is largely seen historically as men's activities. Its the obvious solution to their mission of selling more gear to a greater audience. This was successfully done in golf, tennis, down hill skiing and probably a whole bunch more that I haven't thought of. But fishing and hunting seem to have a stronger male following which women are seemingly less likely to break into. When my wife tells someone she shoots deer, the eyes roll back in their heads. They just don't expect that. Our culture is locked in traditional pursuits. You want to see more of that look at women in the military. Though that is changing probably faster than fishing and hunting.
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Old 01-27-2015, 03:55 PM
JoeG@Breezy JoeG@Breezy is offline
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Women

Quote:
Originally Posted by fishinglsister View Post
1. Fly fishing is more "artsy", that is for sure. That women gravitate toward it seems no surprise as
2. (Frank is going to attack for this but..) I've always said that fly fishing is "for girls". I've gone to calling it "girly fishing" on many an occasion.

I have developed this "view" from years of associating fly fishermen with Democrats!
(I'm sure there are some examples of the opposite somewhere)

JC
Democrats ? I love that. If someone tells me I look like a democrat I will for sure deposit my stomach contents onto the beach. eek.
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Old 01-27-2015, 04:14 PM
JoeG@Breezy JoeG@Breezy is offline
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Women

Maybe it's the numbers. There can only be how many surf fishermen...50,000 ?, 100,000 ? including the bucket brigade and occasional fishermen. You can fly fish all over the US and the rest of the world, and the exotic destination opportunity probably helps. There are must be 50 times as many fly fishermen/women. I just took a look at Pulaski NY as a search. No problem finding female guides and that looks like combat fly fishing, not the delicate little creek wandering through the landscape. The Fly Show catered to them, no doubt. Someone I know suggested that the answer to my original question is "Just look at the surfcasters" and compare us to the fly fishermen, as if we were a bunch of ogres or devils. I think we all look pretty sharp, you just gotta like devils.
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Old 01-27-2015, 08:24 PM
John_P John_P is offline
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Women

https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnpm...57648238600430

They need a little icon thing to help embed an image, but here's s shot from the Somerset show. (Orvis seems to be quite interested in marketing to women)

Last edited by John_P : 01-27-2015 at 08:35 PM. Reason: can't embed image
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Old 01-28-2015, 07:51 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Fly Fishing and Women

Following this thread makes me wonder which group needs work.
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