I was SO EXCITED to see this NY Times article this morning on how more and more women are fly fishing and how fiiiiinally, more and more fly fishing gear companies are hopping on it.
Fly fishing was something I didn't really give much thought to until we moved up here and Steven became, frankly, obsessed. I've gone with him a bunch of times. Even took a lesson with local legend Judd Weisberg.
It's become Steven's thing more-- his way to get into the woods alone-- and so I've drifted to other solo activities of my own. But when we do go I've found I prefer Tenkara Rod fishing on the little feeder creeks nearby to doing the whole waders/casting in big water thing. It's simply less of a to-do. Tenkara rods are a super lightweight Japanese design that telescope down to about 20" and have no reel so they're easy to say, bring on a hike but ANYWAY! I'm getting lost in fishing technicalities when what I really started this blog post to say is--
Well, a handful of things. And forgive me as I bounce from thought to thought perhaps a little erratically, but that's what I have the baby-is-napping-time for. SO:
-Reading that "women make up about 31 percent of the 6.5 million Americans who fly-fish... [and] in 2016, more than two million women participated in the sport, an increase of about 142,000 from the previous year" made both me and Steven go, I thought that was happening! But I couldn't tell if that was true across the board or if it was something I was simply more personally interested in these past few years.
-Waders for women DO suck... when they even exist! Fly fishing seems to have historically been for wealthy overweight dudes whose body types resemble Santa Claus; even Steven had a hard time finding a slim pair for himself a few years ago when he first started the sport. So I'm glad to hear that Patagonia, Orvis, and Simms are all working on designing waders for women and have decided to NOT, as the Patagonia fishing director says, "take a men’s wader and dumb it down and color differently for women. Women don’t want something that’s designed for a man. They want something that’s designed for them.” Yes STOP MAKING WOMEN'S VERSIONS OF SPORTS CLOTHES JUST SMALLER AND PURPLE WITH ABSTRACT FLOWERS ON THEM. It's so irritating! I mean, even my camping sleeping pad has fucking flowers on it. Whyyyyyy??
-So what do waders for women have aside from a different shape? A drop-seat so you can actually go to the bathroom in the great outdoors without having to strip all the way down. BRILLIANT.
-Weirdly, American fly fishing goddess Joan Wulff was not mentioned in this article. She's an important figure in the fly fishing community regardless of her gender. Steven actually got to meet her this summer when he had a trout painting show at the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum!
- I think Joan Wulff's Internet image suffers from the same thing that Joan Didion's does-- this black and white romanticization/sexualization of her youth over her actual talent. I mean, look at this pic of her from seventy years ago that's still one of the top Google Images of her:
And look at Joan Didion's Google Image collection too:
Lately my Instagram feed has been so awash with these supposed-to-be-feminist sexy-Joan-Didion-smoking-and-pouting posts that I literally cheered aloud when I saw this one of her via The Strand Bookstore BECAUSE IT'S FUCKING CURRENT AND REAL. THIS IS WHAT AN EIGHTY SOMETHING WRITER LOOKS LIKE PEOPLE.
- All of this makes me think about how sometimes as women we tell ourselves that being sexy will do the job of initially getting us in the door and THEN we'll be listened to right? Riiiiiight. I mean, why else does the Orvis rep pictured in the NY Times article have perfect Hollywood beach waves that are the epitome of current female I'm-not-trying-but-actually-it-took-an-hour-to-create-this-I-look-like-I'm-not-trying-look?
-At least that's better than the “cupcakes in waders” or “fly-fishing Barbie dolls" mentioned in the article, aka the women in bikinis holding fish who tend to dominate a certain section of women in fishing online.
-Then again, who am I to pretend I'm totally above that? We posted this pic on the Spruceton Inn instagram account right before we opened:
Yes, I really was fishing while wearing that. A mini skirt was good for wet-wading since only my legs got wet but I wasn't just traipsing around in only a bathing suit. HOWEVER, we deeeeefinitely knew it would get more likes than Steven in his suit. So, I'm just your average hypocrite.
- I sincerely hope Amina comes to like fly fishing on her own terms out here. We've been taking her since Day Three.