With the end of lockdown in sight and a big summer of fishing ahead, could this year be a game changer for female anglers? With today marking International Women’s Day, we spoke to some of Britain’s top ladies from various branches of the sport to see what angling means to them, and their hopes for a bright future.
Family fishing ambassador, presenter and Anglers Paradise host
“The reasons we fish are endless, but personally I have been brought up in a fishing environment so I’ve always loved it and know no different. More than ever this last year, fishing has supplied me with escapism from life’s daily struggles and the obstacles it thrown up. Just being by the water with a rod is the best natural therapy of all and I honestly don’t know what I’d do without it. It’s one of the best ways of protecting our mental health in this current crazy world we live in!
Fishing and family time have also been huge for me these past months. Quality time together as a family, away from the digital world is vital, and fishing makes this happen for us. Being a mum of two boys and seeing the endless benefits brings them, it’s down to us to share our passion of the sport with young people, get them outside and show them how much fun fishing can be! If we see more mums on the bank then we’ll also see more kids on the bank, boys and girls alike, and let’s face it – they are the future generation of our sport.
Over recent years, I’ve definitely seen more women and families getting into fishing, which is fantastic to see.The future of angling has never looked brighter and it’s great to see more and more lady anglers feature in the angling publications, online social media and even TV. Yes, it’s still a male dominated sport, but the world is starting to see that girls and women can be good at fishing too and, most importanly of all, get huge enjoyment from it.
After the start to 2021 and the lockdown restrictions, things are finally looking brighter. We have certainly seen an increase in people booking fishing holidays at Anglers Paradise. Not surprising, because boy do we need some fun and escapism right now! Everyone needs something to look forward to and I for one cannot wait to greet them and see those smiling faces on those banks catching fish or simply just taking in the magic of being beside the water.”
Top match angler and England international
“I have fished since a young and it has always been a huge part of my family’s life. It isn’t just something I do, it is part of who I am. Being brought up to win is in my blood and competing with and against the best in the world is my passion. It didn’t get any bigger for me than having the three lions on my shirt and representing my country, and I am extremely lucky that growing up I had two huge inspirations in my dad, Tommy, and my grandad Jack who sadly isn’t with us anymore, but I always hope he is looking over me and I’m doing him proud.
Although angling can still seem to be a male dominated sport, we have so many more females getting involved these days and I absolutely love to see this. Whether it is out on the bank with the family, or competing in events, the more women and girls fishing, the better it will get for the sport!
Not that it’s all about competition, because fishing is also important part of family time and a way to relax together. I often take my daughter for a few hours on an evening, to unwind after a busy day at work, and the joy it brings seeing her catch fish and be out in the fresh air is just priceless. Although the female presence within angling is continually growing, we absolutely need to keep this up and I want to see girls continue to come through the youth system, so they too can represent their country and continue the proud record we have.”
Top fly fishing guide and angling ambassador
“Fishing means everything to me, personally! Fishing is both my work and play. The outdoorsy lifestyle and environmental foundation of the sport have bettered me as a person, kept me out of trouble (I’m sure) and angling has challenged me on so many different levels.
Fishing offers direction and development of skills, it allows individuals to set personal goals without a deadline and it congratulates the rod holder with short and long term rewards. It’s something that can help anyone and that’s why it’s such a remarkably special activity for everyone who is willing to give it a go.
What could the positives be if angling gets more girls and women out on the bank this year? Well, there will be endless positives if angling gets anyone old or new out on the bank this year, regardless of sex, age, looks, background and ability. Anyone can fish and I do believe that the more diverse our community can be, the better. As a professional in the sport I’m aware of the barriers we have faced in the past and want to strive for a more inclusive outdoor space.”
Marina’s guiding services and more can be found at marinagibsonfishing.com, while she also support’s the Orvis “50/50 on the water” campaign, which supports inclusivity in angling.
Passionate angler and qualified coach
“Angling has been a big part of my life ever since my then boyfriend bought me a fishing licence to accompany him on his fishing expeditions. It didn’t look that difficult and I was soon hooked, too. When our family came along it was only natural they joined us, no distinctions were made and they both fished. Wendy, the eldest, was by far the most competitive and relished giving the lads a run for their money in matches. She was eventually selected for the Ladies England team and from the age of fifteen represented England for some years.
Angling wasn’t just a passion for us as a family it became a career for me. I have worked in angling administration for Warrington AA for many years and also qualified as a Level 2 angling coach. The opportunity offered to compete on an equal footing in angling was always a winner for me, and encouraging young people to enjoy the sport a bonus. I joined the Angling Development Board too, where one of our main aims was to encourage children and more women to enjoy the benefits of angling.
Overall, the angling industry is definitely inclusive, but we can do more becasuse there is room for many more women to be part of the angling structure, in the trade and in a variety of other roles. Last year has been a difficult one for us all, although a plus for me has been more women and families joining our club. I know that angling can be many things to many people, for me it’s to relish the peace, to rest my mind and a chance to enjoy beautiful surroundings and nature. Regardless of gender age, disability or ability, whatever discipline we choose I believe angling is good for the soul, not mention for our physical and mental well-being. Now that we’re hopefully on our way back to some kind of normality, I just can’t wait to watch my young grandchildren fishing again soon!”
Join us today to build a bright and inclusive future for fishing!
From the many fishing events and coaches supported by our Get Fishing team, through to supporting ladies angling squads in all disciplines, the Angling Trust is committed to making fishing as inclusive as possible. We know that the more open and welcoming fishing can be, the stronger our angling community and the more we can achieve! From investing fishing licence money to get more newcomers on the bank, to national campaigns to protect fish and fisheries across the country, we’re fighting to make a difference for the sport you love. Join today to give us your backing- together we are stronger!