Fly fishing and women

Tammy Dockter shows her catch.

Tammy Dockter shows her catch.

George Abernathy

Who said fly fishing isn’t a women’s sport? Seriously, are they still living in the ‘50s when women were expected just to cook and clean? They haven’t met or know some of the female fly fisherwomen I know or know of. Take for example – Wendy Gunn has won multiple Arizona and National distance fly casting competitions. Standing at about 5 feet 2inches, she outcasts the majority of the male competitors and is part owner of Lee’s Ferry Anglers.

At our club’s March 2 meeting, we had the pleasure of having Cinda Howard, a female professional fly fishing guide and owner of Fly Fish Arizona & Beyond do a powerpoint presentation on fly fishing in the White Mountains. She totally captivated me and other members with her knowledge. She offers regular and teaching guided fly fishing trips for women as well as men.

Some women associate fishing with handling those dirty squiggly worms, slimy fish and forget about the idea of cleaning one. A fly fisherman does none of these things. First of all, most fishermen are supporters of catch and release. Secondly, we always use manmade barbless flies that simulate aquatic bugs that live near or in the water. Last, but not least, a seasoned fly fisherman very seldom touches a fish. After bringing a fish in, they simply detach the fly with a pair of forceps and allow the fish to swim off without being handled.

I’m smiling right now, just thinking about what happened in February when professional instructors from the Orvis Fly Fishing store held their exclusive free fly fishing lessons for the residents of Sun Lakes. Two couples came to one of the classes together. Both men had expensive rods and reels and judging by their casting techniques, they knew how to fly fish. The first time I yelled out “Fish on! Fish on!” was when one of the wives caught a bass and landed it. About half an hour later the other wife caught a bass. Neither one of the wives had ever fly fished before let alone held a fly rod. By the time we wrapped up the class, neither one of the husbands even had a take, let alone land a fish. I had to seriously control my laughter, let alone keep a straight face when one of the wives started softly talking to her husband; “Come on honey we can come out tomorrow and fish but we need to go home now”. That wasn’t her only comment she made to him. Grudgingly, he packed up his equipment and they all left together. Their names are withheld.

Fly fishing is a sport that will give you a challenge and peace of mind at the same time. Spending time with Mother Nature, somewhere far away from any city in the midst of the mountains, on the elusive hunt for trout with a fly rod is a sport that can be enjoyed by everyone.