Fly fishing has been on my bucket list for a few years now, but I always seemed to find an excuse to not start: ‘Equipment costs too much’. ‘I don’t know anyone that fly fishes’. ‘I don’t know what I’m doing’. During my first season fishing, I’ve logged 32 days on the river and despite promising my Dad I wouldn’t fish alone; about 16 of those were solo fishing trips. (Sorry about that Pops!!) Our dads, grandfathers, brothers, or man-friends may have gotten us started, but we are in a new era of fly fishing and women don’t need to be supervised on the rivers anymore. People still stare, though. I had an audience once on the South Platte: Men can spot a ponytail and breasts (even under layers and waders) miles and miles away. C’est la vie.
Fly fishing is not something you can do just now and again. It is dedication, patience, concentration, and a desire to keep learning. So how do you start, where do you go, and what you do? My first recommendation is reading. Read forums, read reviews on products and fly shops, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I also recommend finding a good local fly shop.
My experience with fly shops and guides has been more annoying than dating. I suppose it’s important to keep in mind that guides are vastly men, whom work with men in a male dominated industry. A female walking into a fly shop to talk about entomology is almost as rare as a unicorn at the end of a rainbow. It took 7 shops before I found my favorite. I’ve been talked to like I should have been in the kitchen cooking or on the other side; my questions ignored and just hit on. Both are equally infuriating. Don’t give up though, because there are good places out there.
Long story short, just go fish! Trial by fire is not a bad way to learn. It only takes one fly in your own face to learn not to cast that way. It only takes one fish taking your fly to learn to tie a better knot. Trust me!