Female anglers attending ICAST had an opportunity to rally, take photos, and share fishing and boating stories with one another in a campaign kickoff for women “Making Waves” at RBFF’s 60-in-60 booth. Showing their attitude wearing the campaign’s t-shirts with sayings such as “I’m the captain of my own ship”, “I’m not afraid to make waves” and “I cast off labels”, I connected with top female anglers that are making a difference in the sport and showcasing their experience on social media. I have been fortunate enough to interact with them on social and it was even better to have such an unique opportunity to share our recent adventures and collaborate on future endeavors in -person.
Walking the floors of the show, it is apparent that men dominate the sport of fishing, but as Vice President of Communications for RBFF Stephanie Vatalaro mentioned “45% of last year’s new fishing participants were female, and that number continues to grow,” I believe it is imperative that we do our best to promote the sport of fishing to more women and girls on the water and preserve our waters for boating and fishing in the future.
During a brief Facebook live interview at the rally, I was asked the question, “Why do you think women should be involved in fishing?” Although fishing is a male dominated sport, I have always felt comfortable viewing myself as a fisherman and I think that it is important for women to feel that they have a place in the sport of fishing. I cannot tell you how many times I have been experienced that awkward pause when giving someone my email address, typically followed by curiosity. “Fishing...you mean like what guys do?” Instead of taking offense, I take these opportunities to encourage women and girls, who may not have a significant other or relative that can take them outdoors and show them that fishing is an incredibly rewarding sport for all.
Debbie Hanson, from SheFishes2 chimed in during the live feed as well. As a female angler and fishing guide, she added, “It’s about getting out there, decompressing from everyday life and learning.” Fishing gives us an opportunity to bond with the people that you are fishing with, everyone has some kind of knowledge or experience they can gain and every trip to the water is a new story for the memory bank.
For four days out of the year, ICAST showcases the latest innovations in fishing gear, accessories and apparel. As a female angler in a male dominated sport, it was empowering to see these women come together and recognize that there is a real place for women in this industry. New fishing gear are appearing with the female angler in mind. It is refreshing to see that we are in fact making a difference in the fishing and boating world.
Learn more about the Women Making Waves campaign and help us spread the word that we are calling all female anglers, moms, daughters, watermakers and adventure-seekers to give fishing a try! Just because we believe anyone should be left out of such an inspiring and relaxing sport, like fishing and boating.