Cast a Wider Net: Is Fly Fishing the New Yoga?

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From the Robb Report, By Sheila Gibson Stoodley On August 30, 2018

Are you ready to trade in your yoga mat for a fishing rod and waders? Women are embracing the sport of fly-fishing like never before, and they’re doing it for some of the same reasons that yoga retreats took off.“Today, it seems to be more important to women to be able to unplug and be immersed in nature,” says Christine Atkins, from The Orvis Company and a co-leader of the 50/50 On The Water project, the outfitter’s campaign to increase the number of women fly-fishers to 50 percent through offering women-only classes, events, and trips, and fostering a sense of community. “The adrenalin piece of catching a fish is nice, but there’s so much more to it. It’s pretty meditative.”

Women are the fastest-growing demographic in fly-fishing, thanks to the introduction of better gear, the rise of digital media delivering captivating images, and efforts by entities such as Orvis. According to the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF), 31 percent of American fly-fishers are women, which reflects a double-digit jump over seven years.

Regardless of how quickly fly-fishing reaches equality on the water, the women who love it will see it as much more than a hobby. “Fly-fishing is such a personal experience,” says April Vokey, the Canadian founder of the 11-year-old guiding operation Fly Gal Ventures. “I like it because I can personalize it to what I need at that time. If I need to reflect and reconnect with myself, I find an intimate trout stream or a misty lake accessorized by calling loons. If I need invigoration and excitement, I raft the whitewater of wide, rugged British Columbia rivers in search of silver steelhead fresh from the ocean. But mostly, if I need to find myself, fly-fishing allows me to do so while trekking through the bush in search of fish, animals, foliage, and experiences… it’s the perfect symbolism.”

new zealand fishing lodges

There are several opportunities to learn fly fishing, from Orvis’s all-women fly-fishing trips to Belize (the next one is planned in October 2019) to private guides at luxury resorts, including The Resort at Paws Up in Montana, which employs women fly-fishing guides. “On vacation, it’s the perfect time for them [women] to step out of their comfort zones and experience something brand new or improve a current skill that they don’t get to do every day,” says Alison Lewis, an executive at the resort.

“We have had women at the lodge who have never cast a fly rod before, and with some instruction, have success on the first day,” says Shauna Daughters, owner and operator of Cedar Lodge, on the South Island of New Zealand, who notes that the resort is planning a women’s fly-fishing week for March 2019. “One of the wonderful things about teaching women is they are very good listeners, and novices don’t come with any bad habits, so it’s really fun to watch their success.”

from The Caddis Fly Angling shops casting instructor Lou Verdugo

We continue to see an increase in women in our Intro to Fly Fishing Classes. Over the past few years women’s attendance has increased by 40%. Women are leading the way in our classes and enjoying the benefits of fly fishing. They get it, its not the just the catching, but the whole experience!

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One Response to Cast a Wider Net: Is Fly Fishing the New Yoga?

  1. MWB says:

    This article is completely embarrassing starting from the title alone. Obviously the author does not quite get the picture and are still profiling women in a less than that if a man picture. As a father of two daughters (and a son) and husband to a wife that is tough as nails – no fly fishing is not the new yoga. Women love fly fishing for the same reasons men do – adventure, challenge, the hunt and love for the outdoors. Often my wife (who is very feminine herself and a die hard angler) is frustrated by the offerings of female gear. All she wants is gear that functions just like the men’s but is actually in her size. Everything does not have to be pastel or lined with micro fleece to be worn by a female. As with everything else these days apparently we have not made as much progress as we are championing. Disappointing that the head people in the industry don’t view females as having the same fortitude or motives for outdoor adventure as their male counterparts.

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