All for the love of a Fish

By Tom Keer

Apr 04, 2018

Back in the day just about everyone I knew was a fisherman.  I use the word 'fishermen' intentionally because they were all guys.

Back in the day just about everyone I knew was a fisherman.  I use the word 'fishermen' intentionally because they were all guys.  One was my father, others were my school teachers and coaches, and the rest were my friends.  Depending on the season we'd catch all sorts of trout and bass, and if they weren't biting we'd look for pickerel and panfish.  Striped bass and bluefish in the salt were welcomed especially during the Fall Run.  Our garage was full of spin, conventional and fly tackle, and we'd use it all.  Back then, none of the girls in my middle and high school liked to fish, and that was a bummer.  Given the choice of going on a date or fishing I went fishing.  

Gradually it changed.  These days, women are the fastest-growing group of anglers.  I'm fortunate that my wife loves to fish.  My daughter does, too, but my son not so much.  It's the opposite of the way it used to be, and it's a change that happened over time. In celebration of Women’s History Month, this past march, we asked women to share with us their fishing stories to inspire even more women to get on the water.  And according to the following anglers why we go fishing still remains a personal decision. 

Kim Dugan @Kim Dugan talks about fishing as a way to spend time with someone you love.  I couldn't agree with her more, especially these days.  Fishing removes us from the day-to-day and allows us to reconnect with life.  We learn lessons along the way and they are ones we can apply to other aspects in our lives as well.

I understand and respect Dawn Gwinn's @Dawn Gwinn holistic approach to fishing.  My late father was a soldier and the only post-war solace he found was on the water.  Dawn's message is inspirational, and the fact that so many folks mentored her as she healed speaks volumes about why many of us picked up a rod in the first place.

I smiled at Jean Harbor's story @Jean Harbor. Like her husband, I am more pleased when my wife or daughter catch lots of fish.  If they land a big one as Jean did then I'm overjoyed as well.  Jean's view of the importance of a shared experience is powerful.  
Valerie Frost @Valerie Frost  made me laugh, for getting pulled into the water by a fish reminds us of the humor in life.  Life sometimes has a way of making us take ourselves too seriously, and that's precisely why Valerie's point is so important.

I never fished with my grandfather, but Sissy Keeha did @ms.sillygoose61. She connected with him and her story is one of legacy and the passing down of a sport.  Echoing that sentiment is Beth Hill Wood @bethsgotblueeyes who remembers fishing as her best childhood memory.  I bet if the two of them shared a campfire they'd go back and forth with lots of wonderful stories. Storytelling and fond memories is a sweet part of every angler's life.

Some experts say that confidence comes from Google, but I'm more partial to Shelby Mallory's @Shelby Mallory explanation . Confidence comes from doing things on your own.  Included is planning, execution, failures and lessons learned that when combined yield success.  That confidence is earned and it carries over into other aspects of life.  Confidence provides us with the grit to use when the going gets tough.

Fishing centers people by calling us to examine our priorities just as Gayla Webb Chisholm @Gayla Webb describes.  What we thought might be important prior to a fishing trip might not be the same as when we return.  In this fast, digital world, reconnecting with ourselves through nature is probably more important now than ever.

Increasing numbers of women are fishing and that makes me wonder if we'll see another shift.  When we were dating I took my wife fishing.  Is the next step that my daughter will take a fella on a fishing date?  Ask me in a few years, but right now I'd say those odds are pretty high.  

Check for the complete stories of each inspiring woman mentioned above and share to inspire more women to give fishing a try!
Tom Keer
Tom Keer
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at or at