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WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Women adding to surge in fishing’s popularity

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Women adding to surge in fishing’s popularity


This one is for the ladies.

Did you know that more and more females are taking to fishing in the U.S.? I can see it in my trips around Connecticut and elsewhere.

One of the very best women who fished was our Mom, Jean Roberts. She spent the last years of her life fishing the shores of Cape Cod and, in doing so, she became a living legend in the area.

Mom could “read the ocean” and always seemed to set up where the fish were.

One day while I was on a fishing trip to the Cape, I was at a bait and tackle shop when an out-of-state tourist came in to make some purchases and get some fishing information.

The owner of the shop did not know Jean Roberts was my Mom, so I just sort of stood back and listened to what he had to say.

“Where are you going to fish?” he asked the gent.

“We are at the camp grounds by Head of the Meadow Beach and will probably fish there.”

“Well, if you fish that beach, look for a little old lady with three fishing poles, and more than likely she will be doing some knitting while waiting for the fish to bite. Set up near her, but do not get too close to where she is fishing.

“If she starts to get fish and you don’t, she might come over to see how you are doing. She might even offer to share her catch with you.”

The tackle shop owner went on.

“That lady has mastered fishing on Cape Cod. I don’t know how she does it, but it is like the fish come looking for her. A lot of the local fishermen look for her when they are fishing that area because they know that if she is there, the fish are there.

“She is easy enough to find. Like I said, she will have three fishing rods out and she also carries her fishing gear and knitting in a couple of those bags they use to deliver newspapers with.”

I had to hide my smirk because I knew he was talking about my Mom and you just have to know they were Meriden Record-Journal newspaper bags. Hey, maybe that’s why I ended up writing a column for them.

Anyway, when the out-of-state fisherman left I introduced myself to the tackle shop owner and he told me, “Your mother is a living legend up here on the Cape.”

It made my day and, as I recalled it, prompted me to pen this column to let you ladies know that it is perfectly all right for you to take up the sport of fishing. I, for one, welcome you.

Studies have shown that more and more women of all ages are really getting bit by the fishing bug. I was on the computer and came across “Women Making Waves.”

The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, a driving force in the boating and fishing industries, mentioned the group in one of its press releases. When I went to the Women Making Waves website, I came upon a video of females of all ages fishing and having a great time doing so.

Even at the city’s Children’s Fishing Derby, held at Hubbard Park each year and run by volunteers from the Meriden Rod & Gun Club, I can see the ladies getting excited over the fishing they are seeing. We hold the event on what the DEEP refers to as a “Free Fishing Day” so that any adults (particularly the ladies) who want to try their hand at fishing can do so without a license.

It is becoming evident to many sports manufacturers that women are now having a much bigger impact on their industries and they are doing their utmost to help get them into sports once dominated by men.

Surveys have shown that while there has been a slight reduction in hunters, more people are fishing, and much of the increase is due to the ladies getting into the sport.

In earlier years, one of the main gripes I heard from many women about outdoor sports was the clothing, that items like boots and waders were not designed for many women. Thanks to the increase in ladies getting involved in outdoor sports, this has changed.

“Women in the Outdoors” is another program that is geared toward introducing women into trying out different forms of outdoor recreation, including fishing, camping, shooting and hunting.

And for those who are in charge of setting up laws and regulations in our state and country regarding the great outdoors, do not underestimate the impact we fishermen and the women coming into the sport of fishing have on our economy. There are an estimated 60 million anglers in the United States, and an estimated 46 million of them fish in a given year.

To the ladies in our reading area, I say welcome to the outdoors. Get your fishing license and come see what you have been missing.

Looking for an easy spot to start fishing? Why not try Mirror Lake in Hubbard Park? It has loads of fish waiting to be caught, including trout and catfish provided by Connecticut’s DEEP Inland Fisheries.

A reminder: the Springfield Sportsmen’s Show at the Big E is this weekend. Hours are Friday, noon to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is the largest sportsmen’s show in the Northeast.

See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops wherever they may be.