Girl Gone Fishing

Fishing For Women
Women Fishing

I'm a twenty-four-year-old girl who has recently fallen in love with fishing. I'll spare you the details but provide the specifics that many find interesting. Although I play many sports and enjoy participating in male-dominated activities such as gambling, drinking, and eating meat, one would not classify me as a tomboy at first glance. Instead, I like to get my hair done, paint my nails, spend money on expensive jeans and purses, and wear pink.

So, about this fishing thing... At the time, I had been dating my boyfriend for a couple of months. So, he would leave me for long weekends to venture to this Hayworth place in the Northern Woods. I later found out that it was actually called Hayward, but I'll discuss that utopia later in the story. After enough whining and complaining about these weekends with the boys, my boyfriend finally agreed to arrange a trip with his brother and wife to take me to the Promised Land. Although I remember many important details of my first trip, such as my first steps onto their dock as I watched a Bald Eagle fly overhead, the smell of the fresh, crisp air, or the most wonderful and memorable feeling when they took me fishing for my first time.

I had been fishing as a child with my cousins, but I don't consider that when I dream about fishing today. Back then, I had a simple pole with corn on the hook and would fish for bluegill at my cousins' pond. My first 'real' fishing trip was completely different.

My boyfriend started me out with a Bionic spinning reel (that I still refuse to give up for a baitcaster) and taught me the basics of casting and what it would feel like when a fish hit. He taught me to tie on my beautiful pink, hand-painted swim jig, which has since become my go-to bait. I took a couple of casts as my boyfriend's brother trolled around the lake in his bass boat, which probably cost more than a luxury car. Suddenly, it happened. I was reeling in my JC Hokey swim jig with a chartreuse twister tail when, with no warning, it felt like my bait hit a wall. My boyfriend, who had been watching me from the get-go, saw my line go taut and screamed, "Set the hook!" So I braced myself and yanked the pole back as hard as possible. I realized later that I had been resting the bottom of the pole on my hip and, when I set the hook, jammed the pole into my side, leaving a bruise—simple battle wounds for my first fish. I began to reel harder and faster and saw first fish. I can only imagine this is what it feels like when the doctor brings the baby to the mother shortly after birth. I was in love. I was not in love with the fourteen-inch Largemouth Bass that I caught. Although she was beautiful, I was instantly in love with the sport. My boyfriend took the hook out of the fish and gave her to me to lip for a quick picture. I held her gently and told her she would soon return to the water. I also apologized for hooking her so hard. These details have to do with the fact that I am a female and have a sensitive and mothering nature.

Women fishing

The above events took place about one year ago on Hayward Lake. Ah, Hayward. I can't write about Hayward or describe it for those who haven't been there because I wouldn't do it justice. But those of you who have been there know exactly what I'm talking about. All I will say is that my life has changed since being in Hayward, and I am a different girl. That seven-hour drive from Chicago is more than worth it. If I could, I would live there.

Back to fishing. My reason for writing this short story is to attempt to describe the feeling that the sport of fishing has brought about within me. No joy or excitement can compare to hitting the spot under a dock that you didn't think you could hit or, the most important rush of all, hooking a fish. Both sexes may not understand the description, but I tried to appeal to my lady friends who think I'm crazy. Hooking a fish is better than watching your die-hard favorite team win the Super Bowl. It's better than ten-cent wings from the bar down the street, and it's much better than fitting into those new sexy jeans or buying your first Louis Vuitton handbag (neither of which I thought could be topped.) It may not be better than one or two things that both sexes can appreciate, but it's close.

As I said before, my life has changed. I save money to buy new baits at Dick's or Bass Pro. When I buy them, I spend hours re-arranging my pink tackle box (hours I used to spend arranging my makeup.) I spend my days at work dreaming about Hayward or ways that I can make fishing my career. I've covered the walls in my office with pictures of me holding fish I've caught. Every time we drive over a body of water, I drool over the possibilities of bass that my scum frog or plastic worm could hook. At the last wedding my boyfriend and I attended, we heard that the hotel we were staying at had a private pond, so we packed our poles, woke up early the following morning, and fished the pond. At the same time, everyone else sipped Mimosas and complained about their hangovers. While my friends save their vacation days for trips to Cabo and days at the pool, I plan my next drive up to Hayward. While my girlfriends wear Juicy and Armani shirts, I sport my ten-dollar Bass Pro hoodie. The girls talk about what color eye shadow or lipstick should be worn with what shirt as I wonder which color Senko will do best in the copper-colored waters of Hayward.

Last month, instead of laying out by the pool on a sunny Saturday afternoon, I fished my first Pro/Am tournament. After telling my grandma how long we'd be on the water that day, her main concern was where I would pee. My Christmas list two years ago consisted of Dolce and Gabbana perfume, Coach sunglasses, and a Fendi bag; this year, all I'm asking for is my own Shimano Spinning Reel with a Bionic Rod, medium to medium-heavy weight. I love to throw that scum frog.

Women fishing

I have experienced the joy that I will do my best to express in words, but with this joy has come sadness that still brings tears to my eyes (Again, the female side.) No smile had ever come across my face as big as the one that did when that Smallmouth Bass came off her bed and hit my bait harder than I could have ever imagined. The excitement and joy that rushes through my body when the fish hits the scum frog before it even hits the water are almost overwhelming. Although it has mostly been good times for me, every fisherman (or fisherwoman, in this case) knows sorrow. I remember the tears that crept up when I lost a twenty-inch Smallmouth because I didn't let her fight long enough before attempting to haul her into the boat. I remember the tears that rolled off my face as I looked over my boyfriend's shoulder when he was trying to work out a hook that I set that ended up in the fish's gills, dripping blood all over his hands and in the water. I remember the sickness that comes over me every time I lose a bait in a fish's mouth, not because of the loss of the bright new, shiny bait, but because inside, I worry about the fish's survival. Most men will shake their heads after reading these last few sentences, but it's true.

Thank you, boyfriend. You've taught me how to tie on a bait, pitch some wood, reel down to the tip of my rod when I'm stuck on a pad, take the fish off the hook, net the fish for my tournament partner, and most importantly, enjoy the offerings in life that I would have never been able to experience without you.

And thank you for fishing. You have changed me in ways that I couldn't ever imagine. You have made me a better person and shown me more happiness than I could have ever asked for.