September 29, 2020

Women in Fishing

Most men I encounter in the fishing world think it’s awesome that I am so involved in the fishing industry, but like any area there are those that aren’t as welcoming. It is sometimes hard to be seen as an equal being a woman in a male-dominated sport. I started fishing more seriously about 5 years ago. Growing up I would fish off the dock at my family’s lake property and catch bluegill, bass, and perch for fun. I went ice fishing a few times, but I was always too cold and too impatient to catch much of anything. Once I got older and graduated high school, I realized how much more involved I could be in fishing. I quickly learned that there were some awesome opportunities out there including my Field Staff position with FishUSA, field staff position for Pikespearing.com, and my new recent Pro Staff position for DSG Fishing Outerwear. I also learned that there were many obstacles I had to face as a fisherwoman. I’m not writing this to focus on the negatives of being a woman in the fishing world, but to offer other women ways to break into the fishing world!

Like any other angler I had to quickly learn how to stay warm, back in a boat and trailer, an how to rig up a pole for different activities. But more specifically I had to learn how to talk and interact with other fishermen that were surprised when I jumped out of the truck or boat instead of a guy. I have had to explain myself and prove my knowledge countless times on the water and
on the ice. I found loads of respect from most guys, but I also felt some skepticism from others. I discovered that as time went on and I surrounded myself with a great friend group, I was treated as an equal. I was able to go fishing with the guys and talk fishing with strangers. I learned new things and I showed people I loved fishing just as much as them. I’d like to focus on some of the ways that helped me build myself to become a better fisherwoman!

Over the last few years I have expanded my knowledge and friend base by becoming involved in my local fishing community. Many areas have clubs, associations, and organizations that are easy to become apart of. I joined the Lake St. Clair Walleye Association this past year and I have learned so much from going to club meetings and talking to other members. Organizations like LSCWA often open up doors to fun fishing derbies and fishing tournaments. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous to be one of the youngest members and one of the few female members. Members in these clubs and organizations are some of the most influential and supportive people in the industry! Other clubs, associations, and organizations that are present nationwide include focuses on fly-fishing, ice fishing, and the betterment of specific fish species. The biggest thing is to get yourself out there!

I also found a huge support system through interacting on social media! Social media is a great tool that can help women anglers meet up and converse about common interests. I met multiple women in my home state of Michigan through social media. Sites such as Adventuress Magazine, Reel Camo Girl, Huntress View, Sportswomen United, Backcountry Hunters, and He Wilderness Co. offer women opportunities to be featured and promote all women fishing adventures. Past events include opportunities for women to gather and learn how to ice fish, spear, salmon fish, and even how to noodle! Some organizations offer virtual fishing tournaments and contests for women as well. I never realized how many women hunted and fished in my area and state until I started expanding on social media. Many people often tell me I’m the only girl they know that hunts and fish. I tell them that there’s a lot more girls out there that are exactly like me! I love meeting new women and I love to exchange knowledge with them. Everyone knows social media is a great tool to be connected with others and I find this even more true for women of the outdoors looking to connect and meet new people. I’m very fortunate that many brands have extended their lines to include women equally, if not specifically for women. DSG, Simms, AFTCO, Huk, Pelagic, and Striker are brands that offer an awesome selection of women’s apparel and products. Better yet, most of these brands are sold by FishUSA!

Many guys think I’m into fishing for the cute outfits and colorful gear, but many of the products aimed towards women keep me comfortable and confident. Who doesn’t want a new fishing shirt or rod in their favorite color? And who knew ice fishing bibs with a drop seat would be such a game changer? Other brands such as Pflueger and St. Croix also tailor some of their rods and reels to attract the female eye. Rods such as the Pflueger Lady Trion line and the St. Croix Mojo Bass & Avid Pearl offer women more “girly” options including blues and purple based designs. I enjoy my holographic Abu Garcia Ike Signature Finesse rod too. Although, most of my rods and reels are not “girly” it is awesome to see companies offering these options. In the end, I want women in the fishing world to understand that they are not alone. There are tons of women interested in fishing just like you. Reach out to clubs and organizations in your local community to gain knowledge and respect. Hop on the social media bandwagon and connect with other outdoorswomen and attend women’s only events/trips. Make use of gear made and designed around women’s comfort and confidence in mind. Most importantly, be you and embrace your love for the outdoors!

Sarah Kowalewski

Sarah Kowalewski

Macomb, Michigan Sarah is a member of the FishUSA Field Staff Team and has been multispecies angling since a young age. Sarah's knowledge of fishing and the outdoors, as well as being prominent on social media maker her a prominent angler in the fishing industry.

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