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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.
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.
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.
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.
Published at Fri, 03 Mar 2017 20:02:39 +0000
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OPINION: Fishing is a classic New Zealand summer pastime and I thought I knew a little bit about fishing from when my father used to take us to the rivers in the South Island. But I have recently learnt a lot about hooks and the ever present appetite of the four-legged vacuum cleaner (labradors).
Rick was having a blustery day at the beach last week and was getting ready to come home. With the back of the four-wheel drive open, he was loading everything and by the time he turned around he was in time to see one of his rods being towed down the beach by “Odie”, his yellow lab. Fortunately, someone else stopped Odie but not before she had eaten the baited hook. Rick managed to quickly cut the nylon and free her from the rod but the hook had disappeared down Odie’s mouth.
If this ever happens, try to cut the line at a long length as it helps us to find the hook or whatever is at the other end.
Odie was with us within half an hour and we soon had her sound asleep on the anaesthetic machines. The hook, unfortunately, wasn’t in her mouth but the trusty X-ray machine quickly found it a little bit further down her throat.
This is where it gets tricky, because the shape of the hook is all important.
Odie’s hook, unfortunately, wasn’t a square shape, so the point was protruding and it was very likely that it had embedded in to the tissues. Next, it was the little flexible endoscope camera’s turn and we had it threaded in there to see if we could check out the hook and possibly retrieve it.
Luckily, we could see the hook clearly but, unfortunately, it was well-embedded in the soft tissues of Odie’s throat after she pulled back from the rod. So it was out with the stitch-up gear and a little incision on the side of poor Odie’s neck.
I have in the past, and I guess it is common belief, that the best way to get a hook out of anywhere is to push it through and cut off the barbed tip and then easily slide it back through the other way, Rambo style! But, oh no. Most hooks nowadays are specially strengthened – news to me. So there was no way this hook was coming out easily, but with a bit of delicate dissection around all those vital structures in the neck, we managed to retrieve the hook at last and within two days Odie was back looking for food.
But then in came Cammie, who had at least waited to get home before gobbling the fish hook. This time the hook was a long way down and we had to make a little zipper underneath to open up her stomach and “fish” it out along with the attached nylon. These surgeries are major, both in the procedure itself and recovery, as the patient is not allowed any solid food for several days so that the stomach can heal. Cammie is a model patient and is back home with a very relieved family.
Cats aren’t exempt from the list of patients that eat what they really shouldn’t and we get at least one call a year to search for a darning needle from a very guilty looking cat with a piece of thread dangling out of its mouth.
The nastiest object that they eat has to be that elasticised wrapping around roasts. You see, string-like objects can also cause obstructions because it attaches to the lining of the bowel in several places and then as the bowel tries to move it along it just concertinas the bowel up into a tight bundle. One dog ate a whole wrapping once but, fortunately, it was in cling film and when we made him vomit, it all came up in a neat bundle. So please, make sure the roast and leftovers are in a secure four-legged-proof bin!
So when you are fishing in the weekends, keep a close eye on the vacuum cleaner with four legs and when you are mending the kids’ clothes, hold on to that needle.
Anderson’s Veterinary Hospitals in Palmerston North, phone 357 9993 for Pitama Rd or 356 9993 for Hokowhitu, open till 7pm Monday to Friday and open Saturday and Sunday.
Published at Fri, 03 Mar 2017 23:07:01 +0000
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Every fisherman has a hard-luck story about the one that got away.
But today, boaties across Auckland are being asked to do just that to support Coastguard, the charity saving lives at sea.
In a novel twist on the traditional bucket donation, Coastguard is not asking boaties to donate cash – they are being asked to donate a fish.
Fishermen coming off the water around Auckland boat ramps will be able to donate what they have caught.
Coastguard will keep those fish on ice overnight, and auction them at Silo Park from midday tomorrow.
“This is something entirely new for us and we are hoping for a great turn out,” Ray Burge, Coastguard’s northern region operations manager, said. “It is a relatively easy thing to do to support a great cause.”
The auction’s proceeds will go directly to supporting Coastguard. It means Kiwis get to keep doing what they love, be that catching or eating fish – all the while supporting the service that looks out for them on the water.
“It is not just the fishermen and women who can enjoy the day, anyone who likes to eat fish can make an important contribution too.”
Coastguard is encouraging local boaties to get out on the water today and drop off any spare freshly-caught, legally-sized fish.
The fish will be collected between 7am-11am and 5pm-7pm at public boat ramps at Half Moon Bay, Takapuna, Westhaven, and The Landing (Okahu).
The fish will be available for purchase at auction tomorrow at the Silo Park Produce Market, from 12pm to 3pm.
And in true fisherman style – it is a donation you can exaggerate about later.
For more information about how to take part, visit donateafish.co.nz
Published at Fri, 03 Mar 2017 16:07:30 +0000