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Fly Fishing Should Be Less Manly

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November 30, 2011

Fly Fishing Should Be Less Manly

By Kirk Deeter

Okay, so now that I have your attention, believe it or not, there's a very serious message to be shared about the state of the fly fishing world. The sport is too male-dominated. And it is suffering as a result.

Thankfully, there are indeed many great female icons of the sport like Joan Wulff, Patty Reilly, Wendy Gunn, Lori-Ann Murphy, Diana Rudolph, lately April Vokey and others.

The root of the problem is gear, or the lack thereof for women. Okay, before you send the hate mail, fly fishing gear manufacturers, I will acknowledge that many of you do offer good products for women. Orvis has a long track record of making nice things for women fly fishers

Lately, Redington has really made a push in the women's product area; my wife is wearing the Willow River waders and absolutely loves them. Simms has a solid product lineup for female anglers.

But by and large, industry wide, the focus on women anglers is an afterthought. At the recent International Fly Tackle Dealer show, where all the retailers from around the world get to check out new gear, there was a vote for best products by category. In the women's product category, "none of the above" garnered more votes than in any other category. I know, because I counted the votes.

Thing is, I am absolutely convinced that women are born better natural fly fishers than men. Testosterone is a serious impediment to catching fish with a fly rod. But when you walk into many fly shops, you have to make a concerted effort to find the women's products, especially women's fly rods. Think, by way of contrast, about how hard it is to find ladies clubs in your average golf pro shop. How hard is it to dial in on women's skis? Or tennis racquets? Fly fishing should endeavor to emulate golf, skiing, and tennis in this regard, yet it isn't even close.

Of course, there's the "pink factor." I certainly support any product made pink in an effort to generate awareness and funds in support of causes like breast cancer research. But my goodness, for every woman I know who can rock the pink with confidence and effect on the river (and bless them for that ability), I know at least 10 (including Mrs. Deeter) who finds lipstick pink fly gear in the name of "I am woman, see me fish" well... revolting.

I know it's a chicken and the egg deal, and market demand drives product development. But man, we can do better. We must kill the boys club mentality before it kills the sport.

Comments (62)

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I've got a confession to make...got the hots for April Golkey. Hope I don't stalk her if I see her on the river. Would be embarrassing to have a fish cop throw the cuffs on me. And is that Detter in the photo? Must be..got the short rod stroke, and no wrist, and kept the rod in front of the beautiful hat. :) And women, not prone to being so Macho, do generally have better concentration, and focus on the small details that is necessary to become a good fly angler. Got a tip for any guy that wants to suggest how they can improve though...don't do it.

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from FOX wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

What do you mean make it less manly? Hell my mother more manly that some of my friends and she is not afraid to show it. But if pink rods reals and vests get more people outside good we need them. So that we can show them how great these sports are.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Can you imagine if that thing jumped off the cliff next to the boat in the caption contest? Good grief! The hole in the river would still be filling up.

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from Koldkut wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

LOL at the pic. I think that the market is being driven by the anglers, female recruiting must be down.

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from backcast wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Sayfu, a word of advice: should you meet ANY woman on the water, don't try the "stuck zipper" (or wading belt for that matter)trick that you've employed on the golf course, lest your picture shows up on a web site of a different nature!

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Oh would I like to waddle over to the clubhouse with my zipper stuck to April Golkey. I'd have a tough time convincing anyone that April needed help with her casting stroke. The gal's a certified casting instructor.

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from PZabel wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

OMG and to think I shared a tent with the fruit cake!

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Had to be a pretty large tent. I think we should have another contest, and guess what the lb. test rating would have to be for the float tube that raving beauty would need.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I really like the comment: "Testosterone is a serious impediment to catching fish with a fly rod". Speaks volumes of the marketing found in the industry.

I agree there are not enough women in the sport. The same with children under 18. I feel both are untapped niches waiting to be cultivated. For now the best return on investment for advertising dollars is directed towards the adult male. I cannot blame any manufacturer or retailer putting their money where the best return is.

I believe the longevity for most outdoor sports depends greatly on the participation of woman and children.

Hold this thought. I have work pressing.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I am back.

Yes, I agree the industry needs to create an atmosphere where females feel welcomed and even wanted. The MoldyChum Friday pin-up and the Outdoorlife.com faces of fishing (basically cleavage shots of girls holding fish) are not helping the cause.

If F&S would step up and put a girl on the cover it might be enough to turn the tide.

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from tkbone wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I don't think the proportion of female to male flyfishers is much different than the male/female ratios of bass, deep sea, cane pole, or trot line fishermen. I don't know too many good fly fishers whose first fishing experience was with a fly rod. The energy and angst would be better focused in getting girls interested in fishing generally and then keeping them interested enough to want to try different techniques like fly fishing. Not easy to do once they hit middle school - my only hope for my 2 daughters now is that they marry well.

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from Nyflyangler wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I think it's the idiots who think that making a product for women entails making it in pink that keep women out of the sport.

The only thing you might need to do is reduce the diameter of the grip slightly because women generally have smaller hands than men.

I think women can appreciate good craftsmanship and quality materials as much as men can.

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from Muleynut30.06 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Not only is it dominated by males its dominated by rich-snobby males. If you want to get the younger generation into fly-fishing companies need to start making more budget friendly QUALITY gear. Imagine if sage made a quailty rod for $150. I dont know how many times I have gotten the stink eye from some rich jerk on the river or in the fly shop because I didnt have the latest and greates gear or because I have my spinning equipment because thats what I have and that what I can afford. If we dont want the sport to die when all the rich old retired guys pass on then the image of fly fishing needs to be changed.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

My thoughts are you guys are understating a woman's world today. They will do what they want to do. If they tell the man to stay home and wash dishes while they go flyfishing, the man says, "where's the soap." The flyfishing industry is hurting for participation period. I teach in a HS in Eastern Idaho, one of the best flyfishing areas in all the lower 48. It is a school of over 1,200 students, and I can count on one hand the number of fly fisher persons in the school.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Just this weekend I mailed my daughter one of my favorite trout rods, at her request. I really had to grit my teeth since it was one of my favorite but I know in the long run it will be a good investment. So the number of women into fly fishing has increased by one, or two if you count the young lady in the photo above.

Muleynut, I have been fly fishing a long time and have yet to meet one of these "snobs" everyone speaks of. Have met a lot of guys who admire good equipment. Cannot blame them because they can afford it. Does not make them better fisherman.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Muleynut..What community do you live in? There is all kinds of inexpensive gear out there. Flyfishing is CHEAP! Sounds like your very jealous of those successful folks that want to circulate their money benefiting others that aren't so financially well of.
Sage is a top of the line rod maker. Kinda like a Jaguar in the car industry. The car industry also makes Chevies and Fords. Doesn't make a Jaguar owner a snob.

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from Muleynut30.06 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Sayfu I'm not jealous at all I am telling you what I have experienced with the majority not all of the people I have ran into fly-fish. The worst ones are the people who run the fly shops. The places I have been where I have had noses turned up at me I feel becuase I was a young guy who didnt have the money they wanted. The worst was bass pro shops in denver the two guys in their on a number of occasions would barely talk to me when I was asking for their help. In another shop in Denver the owner was tying flys when I walked in and he couldnt even look up at me and greet me to see if I needed help. In a shop in Utah at the head of the A section of the Green me and buddy wanted to buy a bunch of stuff but walked out because the shop keeps where catering to the guys in all of the high end fishing stuff while we were in shorts and cut off shirts. As for the cheap stuff yeah its out there but you get what you pay for maybe I just have my standards too high. Yeah I know sage is top of the line but for someone starting the cheap setup at walmart may not cut and they give up anyhow. What I was saying if the high end companies made a reasonably priced good quality gear such Vortex for optics then maybe more people would try it stay in it and help the sport grow. All I am saying is that if you have the money to spend $800 on a pole then good for you, hopefully your not one of the snobs, not everyone is, who looks down on the guy spin fishing or with something old.

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from Muleynut30.06 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

After reading my previous comment maybe it's not the fishermen themselves I dont like I think its the customer service I have recieved from a number of shops so I relate the guys who have all the expensive stuff with that. Like I said if guys and gals have the money to buy that good for them, I hope to be there myself someday, maybe its the shops that need to be checked.

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from mlshore wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

If you want to *truly* understand why there are relatively few women in fly fishing, take a good, close read of Sayfu's comments. That kind of stuff is really off-putting, and the fact that he seems to be totally comfortable trotting that nonsense out in public should probably tell you something about the environment.

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from mastersjohn25 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

In order to get to fish more and so we would have something new to do I started trying to get my girlfriend to fly fish. It was a slow process getting her to want to fly fish but in the end she gave in. After she had watched me fly fish several times she asked for me to let her use my older rod. We started by pond fishing for bluegill with popper flies. Within 30 mins she was fishing with better form than me.

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from Koldkut wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Pink rods and equipment are not killing this sport, trust me. I've built a few pink custom rods that would sell for over $200.....so that's not the issue, I'm always getting asked about high end pink gear, because the market is saturated with low end pink gear. And lemme tell ya what....It's hard to find high end pink or purple rods(other than Fuchsia Metallic from St. Croix). My wife does fish, but man is she picky about her gear, or it's looks at least and she doesn't want to sacrifice quality either.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Muleynut...Not in my opinion you are not. When you "run into someone",.... I have NEVER known ANYONE to flaunt the fly equipment that they own. And I have been in the business for 45 years in lots of different capacities. It is the low income folks that, in their mind, they think anyone fishing with such expensive gear has to be a snob. They see no more need to catch a fish than to buy a $19.95 Zebco outfit, and pick up some worms.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Muleynot..After reading your entire post I would say your biggest problem is you don't understand economics. And the upper Green? Could be. They looked at you young guys dressed the way you were, and said "time is money"...don't waste the time. Those places have but a short season, and have to make their money, and lots of it, during that short time frame. They don't want to spend the time giving out a lot of free info when they don't think the persons will spend much. When I go into one of those places, I respect their need to pay the bills. If I am spending money, no problem taking up some of their time. But if it is just hanging out, and wanting a sales person to spend time with me, I do not do it out of respect.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

And milshore. What did I say that isn't true? I get tired of folks, especially on this thread, conveying the idea...Where can I get a good flyrod, or outfit, for $5.95 type thing. Most decent fly anglers appreciate the difference between flyfishing, protected waters, etc. and the basic bait/worm fisherman, and the ethics that go with it. They don't want to take time off, and go somewhere, and have someone standing next to them that just got a $5.95 outfit, and doesn't understand the ethics that go with flyfishing. Understand and learn the sport, not just put a bunch of newbies on the water. When I teach fly fishing, I also teach ethics, and what it means to become a fly angler. Your comment said a lot about the community of folks we live with today, and why a lot of folks live behind locked gates.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Koldkut...I know a woman, Jim Teeny's wife Donna Tenny who is a very good angler, and the products they had produced involved a lot of pink. Her pink vests were highly desired by women.

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from fflutterffly wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

It's not that we women want any clothing that is any specific colors or fufu, all we want is quality fly fishing clothing. Women's waders that are made in the exact same thoughtful way men's waders are designed. Shirts that are more tailored to our body shape, not gunny sack shaped. Boots are also a problem since women's feet need a smaller heel cup. If your a women try to find a pair of pants that fit around the waist with a leg length to match. My inseam is 34. In order to get that length I have to purchase L or XL! As for color... I hate pink.
The majority of women do not want to make a "fashion statement." We just want the same quality and thoughtfulness that goes into men's apparel. It's not an us against them kind of thing. We are all on the water to do one thing enjoy fly fishing.

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from lyl315423381 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

When I teach fly fishing, I also teach ethics, and what it means to become a fly angler. Your comment said a lot about the community of folks we live with today, and why a lot of folks live behind locked gates.
yes,i agreen。

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

flutter...Problem is..back to economics. If the demand is there, you get everything you want, and then some, but in the flyfishing industry, there isn't the demand, especially when you thin it down to the women involved in the sport. The manufacturer just can not crank out a lot of variables, and product, and expect it to sell. And the retailers as well. Flyshops are going under...lots of them. And the box stores do not have the knowledgeable sales folks to sell the product. Fly angling is not in good shape. And I know that from my neighbor who manages a Sage division co. He knows the numbers. Also, think about this. There are a number of fly anglers who have made the big commitment. They understand the ethics, they've taken the time to learn. They don't want the sport to grow! They know the type of people a box store, for example, would put on their waters. And I do not blame them.

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from SheLovesFlyFishing wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

The sport will remain primarily 'manly' until I can get someone to manufacture my SheLovesFlyFishing "Waders that don't make your butt look big".

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

shelovesflyfishing...and here are my variables. My pant length is shorter than normal, and my posterior has broadened over the years, as has my perspective of things :) I also like the boot foot bottoms. I want to step in to them, and go fishing. I have enough other things to get ready other than to sit down and put on a wading shoe. I can't find my needs either. They make a "stout" if you can find it, but it also matches your shoe size to the stout. I looked for over a year, and finally found my wader that would fit me in the Cabeles catalog.

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from Captjim wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Topless women's fly fishing on ESPN, I'll vote for that. Then we can move on to topless women's basketball. Just joking guys, lighten up.

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from Sue Bookhout wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Here, here! Kill the boys club. I need new waders.

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from ZachMatthews wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Rods are unisex already, Deeter. My wife Lauren crushed 80' casts all summer with a "man's" ten weight, standing up in a canoe fishing for stripers. It has more do to with skill than the rod, just like it does for men. I don't think we need to put women in some small-grip ghetto, although I agree that basically nothing should be pink.

I think the real problem is pretty obvious just from looking at the comments here. How do you think someone like April feels being ogled by a bunch of anonymous online creepers (no offense but dudes it's creepy). Would you stick around a sport if you got treated with disrespect all the time?

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from thejgrdispatch wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Sayfu - I think you're talking about April Vokey, not Golky. Anyway, Deeter has a good point. There just isn't much in the way of fly fishing gear out there for ladies. Fly fishing is a technical sport, if you want more lady fly fishers, make them better gear.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Right! Gawd how can I get her name wrong! I read about her in flyfisherman Mag. watch her on my cable fly fishing show. The gal is attractive, and a good fly angler. And a good flyfisher gal for steelhead, something I did a lot. I don't know who "wants" them as you say. Those that make the gear, and the shops that sell it have to turn the stuff over, and make a profit. The business is just in decline. I was in retail. You have people come in all the time as say, "Why don't you carry this, or that?" Many, if you would say make a deposit, and I can get it for you, pass. It is all about making a profit, and crunchin the numbers.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Zach...gets some humor. you need it. I'm an old dude, and been in the business for a long, long time, and luv to see talented folks in the business, or in any sport. I've mentioned how good Joan Wulff is. There aren't that many gals that good out there that I have seen, and I've been on the water many, many times. Quit acting creepy. And I bet I know how April feels being in the business of promoting her name.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I really do not think it is the lack of gear that keeps women out of fly fishing. Truth is waders do not fit many guys or girls well.

While working with kids I see an equal interest and skill between both boys and girls. The girls have an advantage because they mature quicker and also follow instruction better. Males are naturally competitive and want to catch the biggest and the most and they want everyone to know it was on the fly. Advertising takes advantage of the male competitive nature to sell product. It also works well with other sports, especially golf. While I believe the female will recognize and enjoy the art of fly fishing more, the male will measure his success in numbers and size.

And it is numbers and size which the industry uses to sell it's product.

How do we change the industry from a "competitive numbers and inches" game back to the relaxing art of the past? We don't. There is room for both except the art of fly fishing has given way to the dark competitive nature guys enjoy.

I can say for sure if a woman was in charge we would never have invented the strike-indicator.

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from mlshore wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Thanks, Zach - that's exactly it. You'd think that at some point the guys would start to see women as people, but apparently that point is still somewhere out in the future. There are definitely women around, but I'm can say with some certainty that we aren't going to hang out with people with attitudes like Sayfu's and CaptJim's if we can avoid it.

On the gear front, I agree that rods are already unisex. I think the idea of pink rods is funny, and I might buy one as a gag, but I'm pretty good with the standard gear that's out there already. (Not that much a fan of the St Croix Imperial, but in the modest price range I think the Redington Classic Trout is pretty excellent). But, waders and boots are definitely an issue (gloves, too, but there are probably more options there). Does the lack of good stuff in women's sizes keep me off the river? Definitely not. But I live in interior Alaska and having warm, dry gear for late-season fishing matters a lot, and it can get pretty challenging.

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from Captjim wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Sorry mlshore, I didn't realize fly fisherman have no sense of humor. My bad.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Go stand in the corner Captjim.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

You know, there is something to what capt.jim said. I got a big kick out of a co. AD awhile back featured in Flyfisherman Mag., the leading flyfishing mag by the way. It showed a gal in a skimpy two piece bathing suit bent over "displaying the product" I will say. There was a stream of e-mails that came in stating "Flyfishing should have nothing to do with sex!", and on and on." "I'm canceling my subscription! etc. I thought that was a hoot. So I do believe the good Capt. has struck a reality.

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from Miz RC wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

As a woman who is not only short, but stocky, I really find it hard to find waders, shirts and packs that are well-designed for women. The neoprene socks on waders are always too long, leaving me with the heels wadded up around my ankles. Chest packs that fit over my bosum block the view of my feet and those that fit below my bosum end up soaked at the bottom.

To deal with the problem with packs, I have been working on designing my own. I'm now on my third prototype, but am getting closer to a workable solution for women. I hope one of these days to take the finished project to a manufacturer to see if I can sell the design.

And I, too, am insulted by the idea that women want pink in their outdoor gear and that we will accept any shoddy piece of gear so long as it is (purportedly) sized for women. We want stuff that fits, is designed well, and is reasonably priced--although at this point of my fly-fishing life, I'd be happy to find something that fits and is designed well, and I'll pay a premium price for it. But so much of what purports to be women's outdoor clothing and gear is just overpriced crap.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Tell you what I do. I'm on the hefty side myself, have flexibility problems with Arthritis, and do not like to be bound down by vests, and waders. I use a fanny pack, and organize my flies, and needs according to the needs at the time. I also luv to wade wet, shorts and wading shoes, and will do so at the first chance. Why wade past your knees anyway if stream fishing?..I can see the need for chest highs for float tubing. I will wear hippers rather than waders when given the opportunity, and have both. A fly line will hang up on what ever it can, and vests often have things hanging where it can. I cut off my hip boot straps because the fly line has eyes for finding those.

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from Koldkut wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Sayfu, in all your posts on this blog topic, it sounds to me like your petitioning for a job as a female body type model for fly companies.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Hey Koldkut. Wanna be my business mgr? Think you've got something there. And I have the moves, unlike Deeter. "She walks! She talks! She crawls on her belly like a reptile!" Our "Little Egypt" product promotion. Put some pizzaz into this stuff shirt sport. It would make that "Rivers Run Through it" temporary shot in the arm deal look pale in comparison to what we could offer the sport. You've got the hunch, now let's bet a bunch.

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from Koldkut wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Say, The fine folks over at Drake forums may be more interested in your movie. You should go pitch it to them in your forum intro.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

So your backing out of the deal Koldkut? Your wife tell you she won't let you hang out with me? Come on! I've been practicin my Little Egypt dance already.

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from Koldkut wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Backing out of a deal that is looking like it was drafted by Penn State......yeah.

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from FlyFishilicious wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Add me to the list as a new(er) lady fly fisher. I too have been frustrated with the gear options for women. Don't get me wrong - I like pink in certain instances, yet I'd prefer neutral colors when fishing - but it's mainly the fact that (as other's have said) I'd like to find quality gear that fits a woman's figure with functionality and style. I don't want to resort to looking like a bag lady on the river! I also think that fly rods are unisex - I have yet to have an issue with that aspect of fishing. All in all I've been having a blast and loving it so far!

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from Miz RC wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

If we are expected to look sexy on the river, given that all our male comrades look like variations on a sack of potatoes with legs, then we all have lost the battle before we start. All I want to be is a well-suited sack of potatoes, without wads of fabric that water wants to grab, without chunks of stuff poking out from my breasts that make it impossible to see my feet, side cast or bring in a fish without tangling up with a zinger.

If you fish tailwaters like the White in Arkansas, being in waist-deep water isn't unusual, unlike Colorado stream fishing. I wear hippers or waist-highs on fast and small streams out there, but in Arkansas, after you suit up on a cold fall or spring morning with enough insulation to keep you from freezing to death in waist-deep 45 degree water, I don't also want another bunch of bulky crap on my chest, or a pack buried in water at my waist, or stuff hanging all over that catches my line every time it comes near me.

One pet peeve I have is that women's jackets never have good pockets, or enough of them, or if they do, they aren't in the right place, as if we really just should be carrying purses on the stream, so we don't need pockets. The current trend of narrow, tight-fitting jackets is fine for style or fair weather, but doesn't serve the needs of those of us who want a few pockets to tuck away a fly box or a flask. (Yes, women use flasks, too--even if mine more often has water in it than whisky).

All in all, I understand that manufacturers cater to the majority, but not all men are tall, skinny, and comfortable with things jutting out all over their torsos, either: can't we just all get along????

Seems like there is some technology available out there that would permit designing two-piece waders, so that we could match tops to bottoms, and making wader socks interchangeable with waders so that you can customize the size to your body type. Just sayin': get busy, manufacturers, and realize that not everybody with a 40" butt has a size 10 foot and is 6 foot tall.

Meanwhile, I am focusing my project on making the backpacks we carry more accessible while we are on the water so that we don't have to have everything we carry on our chests until we need it. That doesn't take miracle fabrics, just innovative design.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Miz RC, If you carry a flask you can fish with me any day.

Ironically my preferred method for carrying gear is a purse style bag hung to the side. In which case it is difficult to find "manly" purses.

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from Woods Walker wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

There are some excellent points being made here and I hope someone in the industry is paying attention and taking notes. I currently work in a sporting goods store and there is a dearth of good women's products to be had and most of them do involve the color pink which many women (my wife included) find repulsive.

Also, as a male with short inseam (29"), I can relate to what some of the women are saying - it is not fun to put on and use waders or hip boots that were made for long legged folk. The few that I have found that fit my inseam were made for people with a much different girth!

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from fflutterffly wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

As usual many of the guys on the forum are off point. (For those who are not up on lingo that means off the subject) The opening question was 'is the sport to manly?' No, the sport is not to 'manly.' However, the sport is lop-sided since most of the participants are men. The marketing value of women is now being recognized by the manufacturers, since it tis the largest growth segment. The manufacturer is putting $$$ into this sector not because of the loud cry for pink and pretty, but because they know their growing market, which has not been saturated. Usually with women come children, another yet smaller marketing group. It's all about the numbers ($$$) balanced by the R&D and return on capital investment. There is no vodoo here, just capitalism and it's lovely head peaking through to test the waters. Fish don't know if you are woman or man, they only want to survive, regardless if your shirt is tucked, flapping, baggy or tight.

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from Woods Walker wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

fflutterffly - as in your earlier comment, I think that the points being made about "pink" are that the manufacturers think that they have to make the women's gear frilly and cutesy where most women that I talk to are just looking for quality gear that looks like the men's gear but is cut to fit their bodies. If we want to increase the number of women and children participating in our sports, then they need to be able to access quality gear that is not just "small mens" stuff. 30 years ago, when my wife wanted to come along fishing and trapping with me, we tried to find her a pair of hip boots that fit - we had to custom order them and they did not fit very well. We have made progress in outfitting women since that time but there is a long way to go! And almost all of the buyers and sales representatives that I have met are all men. This is why I feel the question about our sport being too manly arises...

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from thejgrdispatch wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

This argument is assuming that fly fishermen must wear waders year round. Many of us don't, especially in the summer. There's no point. Doesn't matter if its a tailwater or a mountain stream, it's really not that bad during the summer. I think its' more an issue of the sport's growth curve. Sooner or later, more women will get involved with it just like they are with hunting. Fly fishing is growing geographically, it will cross the gender gap sooner or later.

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from DanCorbett wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Hi Kirk,

I definitely agree that the market is still an afterthought for most manufacturers. I looked into starting a company to focus exclusively on women's gear earlier this year; unfortunately I do not think that the sport has reached a critical mass large enough to support more effort. While yes there are women (and women ready to drop a large amount of cash) there are not enough of them to make it profitable on the distribution side. Compared with the turnover for men's gear, it is difficult to fully stock even what is currently available for women. I put together some of my notes on the market on my site below:

http://www.climbtrees.com/2011/08/29/womens-fly-fishing-gear-not-quite-a...

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from Jacee wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

As an owner of a pink fishing vest, maybe I am not the best to comment here. I got a pink one so my husband wouldn't steal my stuff. Turns out he is manly enough to wear a pink fishing vest, so my plan went up in smoke! I think that flyfishing is hard to get started in due to access - especially for us ladies! There are not a lot of oppurtunites to learn in a non-judgemental enviornment with folks who truly want you to enjoy flyfishing. I was lucky enough to learn at BOW Wyoming, and I still have a lot to master. Funny, BOW South Dakota did a study looking at the BOW program and how the participants purchased after thier visit. Most women responded that they indeed went out and spent money on thier new interest, and most were willing to spend over $500 on new equipment (esp. a gun). So, maybe getting more ladies started in flyfishing will help generate the market's interest. And a little pink is okay, if you need it!

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I came up with the solution years ago...buy a boat! The back of my boat is like a golf bag...all kinds of rods made up for the task at hand. Pockets all over the place with everything in them but the kitchen sink. At lunch time, table and chairs come out on the shore, and we is stylin. Now if I could only teach my two labs that go along to row.

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from Hil wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

"Seems like there is some technology available out there that would permit designing two-piece waders, so that we could match tops to bottoms..."

Hey Miz RC, I don't fly fish so I have no idea what the gear needs are, but I do duck hunt and own several pairs of women's waders. If neoprene is what you're looking for and camo isn't a no-no, you might look into SHE Apparel's waders for women. You order them by boot size AND by body size, so if you're a tiny woman with giant feet, or vice versa, you can get a pair that fits you pretty reasonably. (5mm neoprene, 1000-grams Thinsulate in the boots). Just a thought.

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from Chad Miller wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

It has been a very long time since I interjected anything here. This topic however is one that we have thought about alot over the years and I felt compelled to reply.

I am not completely sure where this question is leading. I see a tremendous amount of fly fishing stuff for women and we stock a significant amount of it in our store. I see little need for tackle designed specifically for women. The small grip rods have been an abject failure in the market. It was assumed wrongly so that grips needed to be smaller and that was not the case. Maybe on a small number of rods but not enough to make a difference. Reels are the same, flies are the same, tying materials no difference their. Books, gadgets and any other sundry items are unisex as far as I can tell. So what is left? Softgoods right? Well there is a depth of applicable softgoods for women that are as deep as they are for any other outdoor activity. The problem here is that fly shops don't take the time to understand they already have a fabulous source for womens fly fishing technical and lifestyle softgoods. We stock dozens of sku's of women's softgoods from Patagonia, Simms and Redington. Luggage from makers like Watershed, Patagonia and Orvis have terrific cross over appeal. It is not a manufacturing issue but a marketing issue. There is a ton of things already made that fly shops should be stocking and selling to woman anglers.

So in short I wander what else we are talking about? We have a woman on staff that is a trained fly fishing instructor. She has no problem finding stuff things she likes.

By the way one point about April Vokey. I know April and have been able to spend some meaningful time with her. She is classy and fun to hang out with and she has earned her way. I probably have more respect for April than most of the wannabe men anglers in this business who never paid their dues and just bought their way in.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Chad...Thanks for re-emphasizing my admiration for April Volkey!!! Luv to see fly anglers with a degree of expertise, and April has it, besides the good looks. And again, the sport of fly fishing is hurting because it ISN'T GROWING! Industries need to GROW. Fly shops are shutting down, not increasing in number!

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from dleurquin wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

Finding ways (through specialized gear and specialized programs) to get women more involved in the sport and conservation efforts of fly fishing - any fishing for that matter- will only benefit all of us already involved in this industry.

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from mlshore wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

If you want to *truly* understand why there are relatively few women in fly fishing, take a good, close read of Sayfu's comments. That kind of stuff is really off-putting, and the fact that he seems to be totally comfortable trotting that nonsense out in public should probably tell you something about the environment.

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from fflutterffly wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

It's not that we women want any clothing that is any specific colors or fufu, all we want is quality fly fishing clothing. Women's waders that are made in the exact same thoughtful way men's waders are designed. Shirts that are more tailored to our body shape, not gunny sack shaped. Boots are also a problem since women's feet need a smaller heel cup. If your a women try to find a pair of pants that fit around the waist with a leg length to match. My inseam is 34. In order to get that length I have to purchase L or XL! As for color... I hate pink.
The majority of women do not want to make a "fashion statement." We just want the same quality and thoughtfulness that goes into men's apparel. It's not an us against them kind of thing. We are all on the water to do one thing enjoy fly fishing.

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from ZachMatthews wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Rods are unisex already, Deeter. My wife Lauren crushed 80' casts all summer with a "man's" ten weight, standing up in a canoe fishing for stripers. It has more do to with skill than the rod, just like it does for men. I don't think we need to put women in some small-grip ghetto, although I agree that basically nothing should be pink.

I think the real problem is pretty obvious just from looking at the comments here. How do you think someone like April feels being ogled by a bunch of anonymous online creepers (no offense but dudes it's creepy). Would you stick around a sport if you got treated with disrespect all the time?

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from Miz RC wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

As a woman who is not only short, but stocky, I really find it hard to find waders, shirts and packs that are well-designed for women. The neoprene socks on waders are always too long, leaving me with the heels wadded up around my ankles. Chest packs that fit over my bosum block the view of my feet and those that fit below my bosum end up soaked at the bottom.

To deal with the problem with packs, I have been working on designing my own. I'm now on my third prototype, but am getting closer to a workable solution for women. I hope one of these days to take the finished project to a manufacturer to see if I can sell the design.

And I, too, am insulted by the idea that women want pink in their outdoor gear and that we will accept any shoddy piece of gear so long as it is (purportedly) sized for women. We want stuff that fits, is designed well, and is reasonably priced--although at this point of my fly-fishing life, I'd be happy to find something that fits and is designed well, and I'll pay a premium price for it. But so much of what purports to be women's outdoor clothing and gear is just overpriced crap.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I really like the comment: "Testosterone is a serious impediment to catching fish with a fly rod". Speaks volumes of the marketing found in the industry.

I agree there are not enough women in the sport. The same with children under 18. I feel both are untapped niches waiting to be cultivated. For now the best return on investment for advertising dollars is directed towards the adult male. I cannot blame any manufacturer or retailer putting their money where the best return is.

I believe the longevity for most outdoor sports depends greatly on the participation of woman and children.

Hold this thought. I have work pressing.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I am back.

Yes, I agree the industry needs to create an atmosphere where females feel welcomed and even wanted. The MoldyChum Friday pin-up and the Outdoorlife.com faces of fishing (basically cleavage shots of girls holding fish) are not helping the cause.

If F&S would step up and put a girl on the cover it might be enough to turn the tide.

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from Sue Bookhout wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Here, here! Kill the boys club. I need new waders.

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from Nyflyangler wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I think it's the idiots who think that making a product for women entails making it in pink that keep women out of the sport.

The only thing you might need to do is reduce the diameter of the grip slightly because women generally have smaller hands than men.

I think women can appreciate good craftsmanship and quality materials as much as men can.

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from Muleynut30.06 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Not only is it dominated by males its dominated by rich-snobby males. If you want to get the younger generation into fly-fishing companies need to start making more budget friendly QUALITY gear. Imagine if sage made a quailty rod for $150. I dont know how many times I have gotten the stink eye from some rich jerk on the river or in the fly shop because I didnt have the latest and greates gear or because I have my spinning equipment because thats what I have and that what I can afford. If we dont want the sport to die when all the rich old retired guys pass on then the image of fly fishing needs to be changed.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Just this weekend I mailed my daughter one of my favorite trout rods, at her request. I really had to grit my teeth since it was one of my favorite but I know in the long run it will be a good investment. So the number of women into fly fishing has increased by one, or two if you count the young lady in the photo above.

Muleynut, I have been fly fishing a long time and have yet to meet one of these "snobs" everyone speaks of. Have met a lot of guys who admire good equipment. Cannot blame them because they can afford it. Does not make them better fisherman.

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from Muleynut30.06 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Sayfu I'm not jealous at all I am telling you what I have experienced with the majority not all of the people I have ran into fly-fish. The worst ones are the people who run the fly shops. The places I have been where I have had noses turned up at me I feel becuase I was a young guy who didnt have the money they wanted. The worst was bass pro shops in denver the two guys in their on a number of occasions would barely talk to me when I was asking for their help. In another shop in Denver the owner was tying flys when I walked in and he couldnt even look up at me and greet me to see if I needed help. In a shop in Utah at the head of the A section of the Green me and buddy wanted to buy a bunch of stuff but walked out because the shop keeps where catering to the guys in all of the high end fishing stuff while we were in shorts and cut off shirts. As for the cheap stuff yeah its out there but you get what you pay for maybe I just have my standards too high. Yeah I know sage is top of the line but for someone starting the cheap setup at walmart may not cut and they give up anyhow. What I was saying if the high end companies made a reasonably priced good quality gear such Vortex for optics then maybe more people would try it stay in it and help the sport grow. All I am saying is that if you have the money to spend $800 on a pole then good for you, hopefully your not one of the snobs, not everyone is, who looks down on the guy spin fishing or with something old.

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from Muleynut30.06 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

After reading my previous comment maybe it's not the fishermen themselves I dont like I think its the customer service I have recieved from a number of shops so I relate the guys who have all the expensive stuff with that. Like I said if guys and gals have the money to buy that good for them, I hope to be there myself someday, maybe its the shops that need to be checked.

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from mastersjohn25 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

In order to get to fish more and so we would have something new to do I started trying to get my girlfriend to fly fish. It was a slow process getting her to want to fly fish but in the end she gave in. After she had watched me fly fish several times she asked for me to let her use my older rod. We started by pond fishing for bluegill with popper flies. Within 30 mins she was fishing with better form than me.

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from SheLovesFlyFishing wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

The sport will remain primarily 'manly' until I can get someone to manufacture my SheLovesFlyFishing "Waders that don't make your butt look big".

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from thejgrdispatch wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Sayfu - I think you're talking about April Vokey, not Golky. Anyway, Deeter has a good point. There just isn't much in the way of fly fishing gear out there for ladies. Fly fishing is a technical sport, if you want more lady fly fishers, make them better gear.

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from mlshore wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Thanks, Zach - that's exactly it. You'd think that at some point the guys would start to see women as people, but apparently that point is still somewhere out in the future. There are definitely women around, but I'm can say with some certainty that we aren't going to hang out with people with attitudes like Sayfu's and CaptJim's if we can avoid it.

On the gear front, I agree that rods are already unisex. I think the idea of pink rods is funny, and I might buy one as a gag, but I'm pretty good with the standard gear that's out there already. (Not that much a fan of the St Croix Imperial, but in the modest price range I think the Redington Classic Trout is pretty excellent). But, waders and boots are definitely an issue (gloves, too, but there are probably more options there). Does the lack of good stuff in women's sizes keep me off the river? Definitely not. But I live in interior Alaska and having warm, dry gear for late-season fishing matters a lot, and it can get pretty challenging.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Go stand in the corner Captjim.

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from Koldkut wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Sayfu, in all your posts on this blog topic, it sounds to me like your petitioning for a job as a female body type model for fly companies.

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from fflutterffly wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

As usual many of the guys on the forum are off point. (For those who are not up on lingo that means off the subject) The opening question was 'is the sport to manly?' No, the sport is not to 'manly.' However, the sport is lop-sided since most of the participants are men. The marketing value of women is now being recognized by the manufacturers, since it tis the largest growth segment. The manufacturer is putting $$$ into this sector not because of the loud cry for pink and pretty, but because they know their growing market, which has not been saturated. Usually with women come children, another yet smaller marketing group. It's all about the numbers ($$$) balanced by the R&D and return on capital investment. There is no vodoo here, just capitalism and it's lovely head peaking through to test the waters. Fish don't know if you are woman or man, they only want to survive, regardless if your shirt is tucked, flapping, baggy or tight.

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from DanCorbett wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Hi Kirk,

I definitely agree that the market is still an afterthought for most manufacturers. I looked into starting a company to focus exclusively on women's gear earlier this year; unfortunately I do not think that the sport has reached a critical mass large enough to support more effort. While yes there are women (and women ready to drop a large amount of cash) there are not enough of them to make it profitable on the distribution side. Compared with the turnover for men's gear, it is difficult to fully stock even what is currently available for women. I put together some of my notes on the market on my site below:

http://www.climbtrees.com/2011/08/29/womens-fly-fishing-gear-not-quite-a...

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from FOX wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

What do you mean make it less manly? Hell my mother more manly that some of my friends and she is not afraid to show it. But if pink rods reals and vests get more people outside good we need them. So that we can show them how great these sports are.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Can you imagine if that thing jumped off the cliff next to the boat in the caption contest? Good grief! The hole in the river would still be filling up.

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from Koldkut wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

LOL at the pic. I think that the market is being driven by the anglers, female recruiting must be down.

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from backcast wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Sayfu, a word of advice: should you meet ANY woman on the water, don't try the "stuck zipper" (or wading belt for that matter)trick that you've employed on the golf course, lest your picture shows up on a web site of a different nature!

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from PZabel wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

OMG and to think I shared a tent with the fruit cake!

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from tkbone wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I don't think the proportion of female to male flyfishers is much different than the male/female ratios of bass, deep sea, cane pole, or trot line fishermen. I don't know too many good fly fishers whose first fishing experience was with a fly rod. The energy and angst would be better focused in getting girls interested in fishing generally and then keeping them interested enough to want to try different techniques like fly fishing. Not easy to do once they hit middle school - my only hope for my 2 daughters now is that they marry well.

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from Koldkut wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Pink rods and equipment are not killing this sport, trust me. I've built a few pink custom rods that would sell for over $200.....so that's not the issue, I'm always getting asked about high end pink gear, because the market is saturated with low end pink gear. And lemme tell ya what....It's hard to find high end pink or purple rods(other than Fuchsia Metallic from St. Croix). My wife does fish, but man is she picky about her gear, or it's looks at least and she doesn't want to sacrifice quality either.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Muleynut...Not in my opinion you are not. When you "run into someone",.... I have NEVER known ANYONE to flaunt the fly equipment that they own. And I have been in the business for 45 years in lots of different capacities. It is the low income folks that, in their mind, they think anyone fishing with such expensive gear has to be a snob. They see no more need to catch a fish than to buy a $19.95 Zebco outfit, and pick up some worms.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Muleynot..After reading your entire post I would say your biggest problem is you don't understand economics. And the upper Green? Could be. They looked at you young guys dressed the way you were, and said "time is money"...don't waste the time. Those places have but a short season, and have to make their money, and lots of it, during that short time frame. They don't want to spend the time giving out a lot of free info when they don't think the persons will spend much. When I go into one of those places, I respect their need to pay the bills. If I am spending money, no problem taking up some of their time. But if it is just hanging out, and wanting a sales person to spend time with me, I do not do it out of respect.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Koldkut...I know a woman, Jim Teeny's wife Donna Tenny who is a very good angler, and the products they had produced involved a lot of pink. Her pink vests were highly desired by women.

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from lyl315423381 wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

When I teach fly fishing, I also teach ethics, and what it means to become a fly angler. Your comment said a lot about the community of folks we live with today, and why a lot of folks live behind locked gates.
yes,i agreen。

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

flutter...Problem is..back to economics. If the demand is there, you get everything you want, and then some, but in the flyfishing industry, there isn't the demand, especially when you thin it down to the women involved in the sport. The manufacturer just can not crank out a lot of variables, and product, and expect it to sell. And the retailers as well. Flyshops are going under...lots of them. And the box stores do not have the knowledgeable sales folks to sell the product. Fly angling is not in good shape. And I know that from my neighbor who manages a Sage division co. He knows the numbers. Also, think about this. There are a number of fly anglers who have made the big commitment. They understand the ethics, they've taken the time to learn. They don't want the sport to grow! They know the type of people a box store, for example, would put on their waters. And I do not blame them.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

shelovesflyfishing...and here are my variables. My pant length is shorter than normal, and my posterior has broadened over the years, as has my perspective of things :) I also like the boot foot bottoms. I want to step in to them, and go fishing. I have enough other things to get ready other than to sit down and put on a wading shoe. I can't find my needs either. They make a "stout" if you can find it, but it also matches your shoe size to the stout. I looked for over a year, and finally found my wader that would fit me in the Cabeles catalog.

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from Captjim wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Topless women's fly fishing on ESPN, I'll vote for that. Then we can move on to topless women's basketball. Just joking guys, lighten up.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Right! Gawd how can I get her name wrong! I read about her in flyfisherman Mag. watch her on my cable fly fishing show. The gal is attractive, and a good fly angler. And a good flyfisher gal for steelhead, something I did a lot. I don't know who "wants" them as you say. Those that make the gear, and the shops that sell it have to turn the stuff over, and make a profit. The business is just in decline. I was in retail. You have people come in all the time as say, "Why don't you carry this, or that?" Many, if you would say make a deposit, and I can get it for you, pass. It is all about making a profit, and crunchin the numbers.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I really do not think it is the lack of gear that keeps women out of fly fishing. Truth is waders do not fit many guys or girls well.

While working with kids I see an equal interest and skill between both boys and girls. The girls have an advantage because they mature quicker and also follow instruction better. Males are naturally competitive and want to catch the biggest and the most and they want everyone to know it was on the fly. Advertising takes advantage of the male competitive nature to sell product. It also works well with other sports, especially golf. While I believe the female will recognize and enjoy the art of fly fishing more, the male will measure his success in numbers and size.

And it is numbers and size which the industry uses to sell it's product.

How do we change the industry from a "competitive numbers and inches" game back to the relaxing art of the past? We don't. There is room for both except the art of fly fishing has given way to the dark competitive nature guys enjoy.

I can say for sure if a woman was in charge we would never have invented the strike-indicator.

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from Captjim wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Sorry mlshore, I didn't realize fly fisherman have no sense of humor. My bad.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

You know, there is something to what capt.jim said. I got a big kick out of a co. AD awhile back featured in Flyfisherman Mag., the leading flyfishing mag by the way. It showed a gal in a skimpy two piece bathing suit bent over "displaying the product" I will say. There was a stream of e-mails that came in stating "Flyfishing should have nothing to do with sex!", and on and on." "I'm canceling my subscription! etc. I thought that was a hoot. So I do believe the good Capt. has struck a reality.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Tell you what I do. I'm on the hefty side myself, have flexibility problems with Arthritis, and do not like to be bound down by vests, and waders. I use a fanny pack, and organize my flies, and needs according to the needs at the time. I also luv to wade wet, shorts and wading shoes, and will do so at the first chance. Why wade past your knees anyway if stream fishing?..I can see the need for chest highs for float tubing. I will wear hippers rather than waders when given the opportunity, and have both. A fly line will hang up on what ever it can, and vests often have things hanging where it can. I cut off my hip boot straps because the fly line has eyes for finding those.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Hey Koldkut. Wanna be my business mgr? Think you've got something there. And I have the moves, unlike Deeter. "She walks! She talks! She crawls on her belly like a reptile!" Our "Little Egypt" product promotion. Put some pizzaz into this stuff shirt sport. It would make that "Rivers Run Through it" temporary shot in the arm deal look pale in comparison to what we could offer the sport. You've got the hunch, now let's bet a bunch.

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from Koldkut wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Say, The fine folks over at Drake forums may be more interested in your movie. You should go pitch it to them in your forum intro.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

So your backing out of the deal Koldkut? Your wife tell you she won't let you hang out with me? Come on! I've been practicin my Little Egypt dance already.

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from Koldkut wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Backing out of a deal that is looking like it was drafted by Penn State......yeah.

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from FlyFishilicious wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Add me to the list as a new(er) lady fly fisher. I too have been frustrated with the gear options for women. Don't get me wrong - I like pink in certain instances, yet I'd prefer neutral colors when fishing - but it's mainly the fact that (as other's have said) I'd like to find quality gear that fits a woman's figure with functionality and style. I don't want to resort to looking like a bag lady on the river! I also think that fly rods are unisex - I have yet to have an issue with that aspect of fishing. All in all I've been having a blast and loving it so far!

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from Miz RC wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

If we are expected to look sexy on the river, given that all our male comrades look like variations on a sack of potatoes with legs, then we all have lost the battle before we start. All I want to be is a well-suited sack of potatoes, without wads of fabric that water wants to grab, without chunks of stuff poking out from my breasts that make it impossible to see my feet, side cast or bring in a fish without tangling up with a zinger.

If you fish tailwaters like the White in Arkansas, being in waist-deep water isn't unusual, unlike Colorado stream fishing. I wear hippers or waist-highs on fast and small streams out there, but in Arkansas, after you suit up on a cold fall or spring morning with enough insulation to keep you from freezing to death in waist-deep 45 degree water, I don't also want another bunch of bulky crap on my chest, or a pack buried in water at my waist, or stuff hanging all over that catches my line every time it comes near me.

One pet peeve I have is that women's jackets never have good pockets, or enough of them, or if they do, they aren't in the right place, as if we really just should be carrying purses on the stream, so we don't need pockets. The current trend of narrow, tight-fitting jackets is fine for style or fair weather, but doesn't serve the needs of those of us who want a few pockets to tuck away a fly box or a flask. (Yes, women use flasks, too--even if mine more often has water in it than whisky).

All in all, I understand that manufacturers cater to the majority, but not all men are tall, skinny, and comfortable with things jutting out all over their torsos, either: can't we just all get along????

Seems like there is some technology available out there that would permit designing two-piece waders, so that we could match tops to bottoms, and making wader socks interchangeable with waders so that you can customize the size to your body type. Just sayin': get busy, manufacturers, and realize that not everybody with a 40" butt has a size 10 foot and is 6 foot tall.

Meanwhile, I am focusing my project on making the backpacks we carry more accessible while we are on the water so that we don't have to have everything we carry on our chests until we need it. That doesn't take miracle fabrics, just innovative design.

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from buckhunter wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Miz RC, If you carry a flask you can fish with me any day.

Ironically my preferred method for carrying gear is a purse style bag hung to the side. In which case it is difficult to find "manly" purses.

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from Woods Walker wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

There are some excellent points being made here and I hope someone in the industry is paying attention and taking notes. I currently work in a sporting goods store and there is a dearth of good women's products to be had and most of them do involve the color pink which many women (my wife included) find repulsive.

Also, as a male with short inseam (29"), I can relate to what some of the women are saying - it is not fun to put on and use waders or hip boots that were made for long legged folk. The few that I have found that fit my inseam were made for people with a much different girth!

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from Woods Walker wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

fflutterffly - as in your earlier comment, I think that the points being made about "pink" are that the manufacturers think that they have to make the women's gear frilly and cutesy where most women that I talk to are just looking for quality gear that looks like the men's gear but is cut to fit their bodies. If we want to increase the number of women and children participating in our sports, then they need to be able to access quality gear that is not just "small mens" stuff. 30 years ago, when my wife wanted to come along fishing and trapping with me, we tried to find her a pair of hip boots that fit - we had to custom order them and they did not fit very well. We have made progress in outfitting women since that time but there is a long way to go! And almost all of the buyers and sales representatives that I have met are all men. This is why I feel the question about our sport being too manly arises...

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from thejgrdispatch wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

This argument is assuming that fly fishermen must wear waders year round. Many of us don't, especially in the summer. There's no point. Doesn't matter if its a tailwater or a mountain stream, it's really not that bad during the summer. I think its' more an issue of the sport's growth curve. Sooner or later, more women will get involved with it just like they are with hunting. Fly fishing is growing geographically, it will cross the gender gap sooner or later.

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from Jacee wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

As an owner of a pink fishing vest, maybe I am not the best to comment here. I got a pink one so my husband wouldn't steal my stuff. Turns out he is manly enough to wear a pink fishing vest, so my plan went up in smoke! I think that flyfishing is hard to get started in due to access - especially for us ladies! There are not a lot of oppurtunites to learn in a non-judgemental enviornment with folks who truly want you to enjoy flyfishing. I was lucky enough to learn at BOW Wyoming, and I still have a lot to master. Funny, BOW South Dakota did a study looking at the BOW program and how the participants purchased after thier visit. Most women responded that they indeed went out and spent money on thier new interest, and most were willing to spend over $500 on new equipment (esp. a gun). So, maybe getting more ladies started in flyfishing will help generate the market's interest. And a little pink is okay, if you need it!

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

I came up with the solution years ago...buy a boat! The back of my boat is like a golf bag...all kinds of rods made up for the task at hand. Pockets all over the place with everything in them but the kitchen sink. At lunch time, table and chairs come out on the shore, and we is stylin. Now if I could only teach my two labs that go along to row.

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from Hil wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

"Seems like there is some technology available out there that would permit designing two-piece waders, so that we could match tops to bottoms..."

Hey Miz RC, I don't fly fish so I have no idea what the gear needs are, but I do duck hunt and own several pairs of women's waders. If neoprene is what you're looking for and camo isn't a no-no, you might look into SHE Apparel's waders for women. You order them by boot size AND by body size, so if you're a tiny woman with giant feet, or vice versa, you can get a pair that fits you pretty reasonably. (5mm neoprene, 1000-grams Thinsulate in the boots). Just a thought.

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from Chad Miller wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

It has been a very long time since I interjected anything here. This topic however is one that we have thought about alot over the years and I felt compelled to reply.

I am not completely sure where this question is leading. I see a tremendous amount of fly fishing stuff for women and we stock a significant amount of it in our store. I see little need for tackle designed specifically for women. The small grip rods have been an abject failure in the market. It was assumed wrongly so that grips needed to be smaller and that was not the case. Maybe on a small number of rods but not enough to make a difference. Reels are the same, flies are the same, tying materials no difference their. Books, gadgets and any other sundry items are unisex as far as I can tell. So what is left? Softgoods right? Well there is a depth of applicable softgoods for women that are as deep as they are for any other outdoor activity. The problem here is that fly shops don't take the time to understand they already have a fabulous source for womens fly fishing technical and lifestyle softgoods. We stock dozens of sku's of women's softgoods from Patagonia, Simms and Redington. Luggage from makers like Watershed, Patagonia and Orvis have terrific cross over appeal. It is not a manufacturing issue but a marketing issue. There is a ton of things already made that fly shops should be stocking and selling to woman anglers.

So in short I wander what else we are talking about? We have a woman on staff that is a trained fly fishing instructor. She has no problem finding stuff things she likes.

By the way one point about April Vokey. I know April and have been able to spend some meaningful time with her. She is classy and fun to hang out with and she has earned her way. I probably have more respect for April than most of the wannabe men anglers in this business who never paid their dues and just bought their way in.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 18 weeks ago

Chad...Thanks for re-emphasizing my admiration for April Volkey!!! Luv to see fly anglers with a degree of expertise, and April has it, besides the good looks. And again, the sport of fly fishing is hurting because it ISN'T GROWING! Industries need to GROW. Fly shops are shutting down, not increasing in number!

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from dleurquin wrote 2 years 13 weeks ago

Finding ways (through specialized gear and specialized programs) to get women more involved in the sport and conservation efforts of fly fishing - any fishing for that matter- will only benefit all of us already involved in this industry.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Had to be a pretty large tent. I think we should have another contest, and guess what the lb. test rating would have to be for the float tube that raving beauty would need.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

My thoughts are you guys are understating a woman's world today. They will do what they want to do. If they tell the man to stay home and wash dishes while they go flyfishing, the man says, "where's the soap." The flyfishing industry is hurting for participation period. I teach in a HS in Eastern Idaho, one of the best flyfishing areas in all the lower 48. It is a school of over 1,200 students, and I can count on one hand the number of fly fisher persons in the school.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Muleynut..What community do you live in? There is all kinds of inexpensive gear out there. Flyfishing is CHEAP! Sounds like your very jealous of those successful folks that want to circulate their money benefiting others that aren't so financially well of.
Sage is a top of the line rod maker. Kinda like a Jaguar in the car industry. The car industry also makes Chevies and Fords. Doesn't make a Jaguar owner a snob.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

And milshore. What did I say that isn't true? I get tired of folks, especially on this thread, conveying the idea...Where can I get a good flyrod, or outfit, for $5.95 type thing. Most decent fly anglers appreciate the difference between flyfishing, protected waters, etc. and the basic bait/worm fisherman, and the ethics that go with it. They don't want to take time off, and go somewhere, and have someone standing next to them that just got a $5.95 outfit, and doesn't understand the ethics that go with flyfishing. Understand and learn the sport, not just put a bunch of newbies on the water. When I teach fly fishing, I also teach ethics, and what it means to become a fly angler. Your comment said a lot about the community of folks we live with today, and why a lot of folks live behind locked gates.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

I've got a confession to make...got the hots for April Golkey. Hope I don't stalk her if I see her on the river. Would be embarrassing to have a fish cop throw the cuffs on me. And is that Detter in the photo? Must be..got the short rod stroke, and no wrist, and kept the rod in front of the beautiful hat. :) And women, not prone to being so Macho, do generally have better concentration, and focus on the small details that is necessary to become a good fly angler. Got a tip for any guy that wants to suggest how they can improve though...don't do it.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Oh would I like to waddle over to the clubhouse with my zipper stuck to April Golkey. I'd have a tough time convincing anyone that April needed help with her casting stroke. The gal's a certified casting instructor.

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from Sayfu wrote 2 years 19 weeks ago

Zach...gets some humor. you need it. I'm an old dude, and been in the business for a long, long time, and luv to see talented folks in the business, or in any sport. I've mentioned how good Joan Wulff is. There aren't that many gals that good out there that I have seen, and I've been on the water many, many times. Quit acting creepy. And I bet I know how April feels being in the business of promoting her name.

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