Why I Want To Be a Better Fisherwoman

family fishing recreation self-improvement Oct 11, 2022
woman fishing at the quiet end of the lake

Thank heavens a person doesn’t have to be skilled in an activity to enjoy participating in it. If that were the case, I would probably have to give up fishing. And that would make me very, very sad.

You might say I’m a latecomer to the angling game. I was well into my forties before I really fished for the first time.

My father did take me fishing once when I was a child. It was a cool, misty day. The kind where you need to wear a warm coat to be out near the water.

Before anyone had a chance to catch a fish, my younger brother fell into the lake. That heavy coat of his almost drowned him. My mother never allowed my father to take us fishing again.

Learning to fish

It was three and a half decades later before I had another opportunity to go fishing. My husband and I were just dating at the time.

We both enjoyed riding our horses up into the mountains of north central Washington where my husband grew up. One weekend my husband strapped fishing poles to our saddlebags and told me we were going to catch dinner.

We rode for a couple of hours before reaching a beautiful mountain lake. It was one of the most serene places I have ever seen. It was a small lake, bordered on one side by trees and grass, and a scattering of wildflowers. The other side was barren and rocky.

The water was calm and amazingly clear. I could see the sticks and stones lying at the bottom. But the most wonderful thing of all was the quiet. The only sound was an occasional splash of a jumping fish.

Seriously, there are places like that in the world!

I felt this strange combination of excitement and calmness. I had entered into this secret, magical place and I was about to learn how to fish. Something I had been wanting to do for a long, long time.

My husband helped me set up my pole and bait the hook. He showed me how to cast and then let me try my hand and it. I did worry a little at that point. I really had no idea what I was doing. Thankfully my husband was a patient teacher.

Casting is one of those things that improves with practice and since everyone has their own style to some degree, you just start trying different techniques. Which is what I did, trying to avoid tree limbs, shrubs, sticks, and my husband. I was certain catching something was going to be a challenge.

First catch

Boy, was I wrong. I hooked something within a few minutes. I didn’t even realize I had a bite, that’s how naive I was about fishing. My husband had to tell me and then he talked me through reeling in my first catch. A nice little rainbow trout.

What a thrill it was to have success and so quickly. Nothing inspires you to keep going than to see the results of your efforts. One of the benefits of fishing in a mountain lake is the little competition with other anglers. It didn’t take us long to catch our limit.

From that day on, I was literally hooked.

So much to learn

Unfortunately, I don’t get to fish as much as I would like to. Work and other life responsibilities keep me busy. Too busy, it seems, to head to the lake or find someone to come along with me.

I like having someone who knows something about fishing with me to give me a little guidance. I still have so much to learn about baits and hooks and poles and weather and where to cast.

And because I do love fishing, I want to be better at it. I don’t need to be an outstanding fisherwoman to enjoy fishing. But I do want to improve my skills, gain confidence in myself so I am comfortable heading to the lake or river on my own.

Being comfortable to go fishing on my own is not the only reason I want to be a better fisherwoman. Fishing provides many physical and psychological benefits and I want to take advantage of all of them.

Benefits of fishing — psychological

Fishing is a great way to relax and reduce stress. Sitting in the quiet of nature gives you time to reflect and clear your mind. You learn about patience.

When I go fishing I leave all my work and home responsibilities behind. There’s no phone or computer or television. I can temporarily forget all that nonsense.

I can live in the moment. Feel the thrill of reeling in my catch whether it’s bass or trout or perch. It doesn't matter. Whatever it is, it makes me laugh and smile. There’s nothing better for my mind and spirit.

Benefits of fishing — physical

Getting outdoors is good for your soul and it’s good for you physically too.

Fishing provides fresh air and Vitamin D (from being out in the sunlight). It gets you off the couch or from behind the desk or whatever it is keeping you inside.

Eating your catch is another health benefit to fishing. Fresh fish is an excellent source of protein. Fortunately for me, I love to eat the fish I catch. Panfried trout is one of my favorite meals.

Feeling self-sufficient

Catching, cleaning and cooking fish furnishes a sense of self-sufficiency. There’s a certain satisfaction that comes with providing yourself with sustenance. Of knowing where, when, and how that food was brought to your table.

Benefits of fishing — friends and family

Fishing is a fantastic way to socialize with a few friends. Like actually talk and carrying on conversations. Keep it non-competitive and you learn a lot from each other. And not just about how to toss a line.

Nothing can beat fishing when it comes to family bonding. Just about every age can participate in angling. And you can do it rather inexpensively, compared to many other family adventure options.

Fishing with my family

My grandsons recently came to visit for the weekend. We spent two days fishing at a nearby lake. What better way for a fifteen-year-old boy to bond with his grandmother?

Brody and I shared fishing tips. We tried different baits to see which ones brought us better luck. He seemed to do better than I did, but he didn’t gloat about it. Instead, he taught me what was working for him.

And I encouraged him to. Because I want to become a better fisherwoman and it’s important for me to be a good grammy. I got a two for one that day.

I also felt like I was a good role model for my younger grandson, who like me, is a newbie angler. It can be hard to be the youngest. Everyone wants to tell you what to do. You feel insecure. Maybe even reluctant to try something new.

But Sawyer and Grammy were learning together. I made mistakes and joked about them. I asked questions. I accepted help. And I encouraged Sawyer to do the same.

Together, we laughed at the silly things that happened. Like catching the hook on a limb or reeling in a huge wad of seaweed instead of a fish. And when nobody was looking, we ate a few of the colorful mini-marshmallows the others were using for bait.

Becoming a better fisherwoman

No, you don’t have to be good at something to enjoy doing it. Proficiency doesn’t guarantee fun or satisfaction.

Yes, I love fishing. I do want to learn to be a better fisherwoman.

But I don’t have to be an expert to enjoy a day on the lake or river casting my line into the water.

Sometimes it is the learning process that brings the most joyful moments. That is one of the wonderful things about fishing.

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