Why ill-fitting waders are not the only problem to fly-fishing's future

Fly Fishing is a unique sport in that it can be practised by both men and women on a completely level playing field. Speed and strength don’t come into the equation. Its all about timing, accuracy and patience, the latter being a more common strength with the fairer sex. The only disadvantage we can think of is that loo breaks take a little longer when wearing waders, but were sure Simms or Patagonia will work their magic and work something out soon enough.

The gender issues in fly-fishing go deeper than ill-fitting waders, though. As a high-profile US guide says, "Women don’t want to feel pandered to,” she said. “I walk into a fly shop and they look at me like I’m lost.”

“It’s completely crazy that fly-fishing has been identified as a man’s sport,” said Kate Taylor, another US fly-fishing guide talking to the New York Times. “It takes so much patience and nurturing,” she added. “It deepens our connection to natural rhythms, and that brings humility and the understanding that you are part of something that’s much larger than our own personal self.”

Fly fishing is begging for more diversity; its future partly relies upon it. The face of the sport around the world is changing and its about time the UK caught up. We believe the first step in the right direction will be to get as many women as possible to pick up a fly rod and get out on the water.

To put things in perspective 30% of fly anglers in the US are women, we don’t have any official statistics in the UK but if we had to take a guess we would say 3% would be pushing it, 0.3% is a little more realistic. 

Alas all is not lost and 2018 is the year of change, with the major US fly fishing companies joining together is aiming to meet the goal of an even gender split in fly-fishing by 2020.

This is not unrealistic in the US, but an up hill struggle in the UK. But the sport is changing, and we are committed to making fly fishing as accessible and exciting for women as possible. Last year we started to run ladies' days which were a great success and we will be running more in 2018, we are also excited to offer mother and daughter days, which we hope will be a great introduction to the sport for many.

To find out more about what we can offer, then get in touch to discuss options.

Oscar Boatfield