Female anglers add special touch to fly fishing

Female anglers add special touch to fly fishing

Rebecca DePole with a typical NZ brown trout.

Zane Mirfin

Rebecca DePole with a typical NZ brown trout.

If you ever read fishing or hunting publications it can invariably be a male dominated exercise.

In the past, female anglers, when they featured, may have been allocated a token spot somewhere toward the back pages or more commonly featured in a large page three photo, replete and proud in a stunning bikini.

Fortunately times are a-changing and women are becoming increasingly involved and accepted within the fishing and hunting fraternity.

Rebecca DePole supervises her husband Pat DePole catch a trout.

Zane Mirfin

Rebecca DePole supervises her husband Pat DePole catch a trout.

This is a great thing, and I’ve tried hard to encourage my daughters to enjoy the outdoor life like I do. In this modern world of gender equality and equal opportunity, there are a lot more outdoor female role models around for other women to emulate, and my guess is that women anglers and hunters will become a more common sight on local trout streams and in the mountains hunting in the years ahead.

As a fishing guide of 31 years standing, I’ve had the good fortune to have guided many female anglers both here in New Zealand and overseas. Many of these women, ladies, and girls have been excellent anglers and lots of fun to guide. Often they accompany fathers, husbands, and boyfriends, but increasingly they come on their own terms to enjoy nature and fly fishing success.

Fishing, and particularly fly fishing, is not an exercise in brute-strength, and success invariably occurs because of what you have between your ears, and not what you have between your legs.

Rebecca DePole navigates the backcountry boulders in search of the next trout.

Zane Mirfin

Rebecca DePole navigates the backcountry boulders in search of the next trout.

Women frequently show their menfolk how to really fish and can act as a moderator to the excesses of male behaviour onstream.

I find women anglers a real tonic for a guide’s soul because they enjoy nature and notice little things many males do not, like the subtle colours of a trout being released, or the sounds and smells of the countryside.

The other thing I appreciate about women onstream as a guide is the near absence of testosterone and ego. Female anglers are more prone to accept good advice and act accordingly than many of their male counterparts. One particularly hardcase female angler even joked with me that “if men menstruated, they would probably brag about how often and how much”.

Getting involved in the outdoors is much easier for women these days with specialist women’s clothing, online forums, women’s fishing events, and increasing media exposure.


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Unfortunately, the traditional roles and responsibilities of life often mean it is difficult for women anglers and hunters to get into the outdoors as much as they would like.

Aimee used to come fishing with me a lot before we were married, but the tyranny of childbirth, motherhood, and now managing four unruly teenagers, plus holding down a full time project manager job, running a household, and supervising her fifth child (me), doesn’t leave a lot of spare time for fishing.

In the future though, I’m hoping we can spend more time enjoying the outdoors together as a couple.

This fishing season I’ve been able to enjoy the company of more special lady anglers, and one of my favourites was Rebecca DePole of Texas. With flaming locks of red hair, petite figure, and over-sized enthusiasm for life, Rebecca was a true star onstream. Fishing with her husband Pat, Rebecca was fit and able, throwing a mean fly line, and a threat to every trout in the river.

Rebecca’s enthusiasm was contagious, and the 60-something Texan was a delight to guide.

We fished local waters and helicoptered into wild and remote wilderness streams. Many of our best trout were sighted in emerald green pools, hanging suspended near the surface for all the world like a leg of mutton. As the dry fly landed in front of such fish, they would tip upwards and gently sip the fake imitation before Rebecca would expertly drive the hook home, the flyline would sizzle and slice through the water, and trout would run or jump, often attempting to change postal codes.

We worked hard through a challenging moonphase, but Rebecca’s unfailing positivity added real value to each day and meant we were always going to win.

One day we even took a day off from fishing to see the sights of the West Coast, and a special dinner at Greymouth’s Speight’s Ale House capped off a great day of windswept surf, isolated beaches, limestone outcrops, tree ferns and nikau palms.

Best of all, Rebecca made the fishing seem like fun again for Pat and I. It’s true that lady anglers can be a real asset, and I can’t wait for us to fish together again next year.


 – Stuff

(Why?)

Published at Fri, 03 Mar 2017 20:02:39 +0000

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