Women of Angling Speak

By Rachel Vickers
Secretary and active Chair member for the GSLFF, Field Writer/Expert The Angler Magazine

This month I was asked to write about what it is like to be a Female Angler, in a predominately male sport and industry. It seemed more appropriate that the perspectives and insights come, not just from me, but multiple women anglers. I reached out to 3 other up and coming female anglers from around the Upstate New York area, and asked for their thoughts and feelings on this subject. It used to be a stereotype that respectable women don’t fish, But the last 20 years the statistics for women anglers has risen from 27% to 34% and is rapidly growing. In the most recent years the enthusiasm, passion, and dedication from the women in the angling community undoubtedly has reached an all- time high. It is no secret that women have been able to demonstrate the skill, understanding, and physicality equal to our male counterparts when it comes to angling for generations. Women are getting more involved seeing that they have opportunities to participate in activities that maybe before were considered more for males.  Now the fishing Community is really starting to recognize that this is a great sport for women as well, and the playing field is leveling out. Unlike many other sports where size, speed, and strength provide an advantage, when it comes to fishing those attributes don’t really matter. Fishing requires a lot of mental patience, skill, strategy, and even grace which arguably gives women a slight advantage. Despite any small advantages women anglers may have been pre-disposed too, We still have had to battle our way through, and faced many other obstacles to gain respect and recognition in this field, weather it was viewed a hobby or a profession.

Miranda Ludwig was born and raised in Cammal, PA. This is where her love for Trout fishing began as a young child, and grew into a life- long passion when last September, at 24 she made a spontaneous move to The Salmon River, in Pulaski to focus her efforts on steelhead, Browns, and Salmon. She is currently employed at Fat Nancy’s Bait & Tackle shop, a well- known favorite among traveling anglers. Miranda has spent countless hours fishing the river runs from September to May. She has spent more than a few years learning about the best methods, gear, and optimal conditions to fish the Salmon River. Her favorite species to target are Steelhead (aka) Chrome. “I’ve always had the best success on the River by tracking water flows, because it is a very important key in the Fishery.”

During the Run- season she receives daily e-mails from local USGS water flows, and goes to the direct daily flow schedule on the waterline website for Salmon River. “Watching the flow can tell you when you’ll encounter the perfect conditions, in my opinion the best time to steelhead fishing is in the middle of snowstorm when no one else is around, however you can never go wrong with fall fishing when the Salmon are on the Run.” When I asked Miranda about her feelings on being a female, out-numbered 3 to 1 by males in the Angling community both on the water, and at work she offered “ Being a serious Female Angler is comparable to being a unicorn at times, it’s hard to go unnoticed and you usually get undivided attention if you have a fish on which is good usually, but can sometimes cause nearby fishermen to become upset and try to push you out of a good hole” her advice is “Don’t let the pressure get to you, Be Stubborn, continue casting out as if they were never there ,  keep catching fish, and never stop learning and growing”  The process of self -improvement in Angling is a lifetime endeavor, also realizing,  and knowing the importance of Stream etiquette deserves the respect of all anglers no matter what gender.

ElaineSupp@fish_girl_outdoors, is a 35 year old, avid female angler that grew up in Cherry Valley, near Cooperstown, and was living in the Syracuse area, until 3 years ago when she also made the unplanned decision to sell her house and buy a small cabin in the woods of Pulaski, NY on the world renowned Salmon River. Lainey rarely fishes the Salmon Run, instead she concentrated her fishing efforts on Adirondack Lakes nearby, and the St. Lawrence river targeting all species, she considers big walleye and Pike pulled from ice as her signature fish. Lainey found most of people she has encountered in the fishing industry to be very supportive. She also added  “ There will always be a portion of the population who assume that if a girl takes an interest  in a male dominated arena, she must have ulterior motives of trying to make a statement, or gain attention. As Women Anglers we tread a fine line somewhere between compromising that which makes us unique, and a fear of generating the wrong kind of attention.” She also adds “For you to be taken seriously as a Female Angler its not enough just to participate, its not enough just to show up and have fun, because then you are just some girl that was brought along. So there is a drastically shortened learning curve I’ve realized to be taken seriously I had to be twice as good, and twice as careful, you must immediately be one of the best, or you are immediately a joke.”

Angelia Scarchilli, or “Angler Ang” as she is known through Angler Magazine, is 32 years old and a native of Stillwater, N.Y. She was raised in a fishing family, who also enjoyed the outdoors and camping. Her passion for Angling set in about 8 ½ years ago when she met her boyfriend who began teaching her. She has recently developed a new Instagram site UpstateNY_LadyAngler to promote women in the upstate NY area who are serious about fishing. She adds “I especially love seeing the world of fishing open to the many very talented Female anglers that I hope to be in league with someday”, and “ I find myself researching the fish we are headed out for next, what conditions do they like, how to bait, and different techniques I am both being taught, and educating myself with along the way”

I discovered that all of the female anglers I interviewed had similar advice when it pertained to their advancement in the sport of Angling, and that was to find other more experienced Anglers who are willing to pass on their knowledge, and to teach you first hand the techniques needed to be successful in the diverse Fisheries of NY. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! In turn we are able to educate our young Female Anglers so they are able to strive to be their best, by strengthening their own self- worth. One of the major problems that most Female anglers have to deal with has nothing to do with the social aspect of gender. It pertains to the lack of access to quality gear, and the struggle to find functional clothes that fit, most of us have resorted to wearing small sizes of men’s, or extra-large sizes of youth clothing.  Despite any difficulties faced by Women Anglers we have adapted, and have not been deterred, its safe to say that we are here to stay. My Education and involvement with fisheries has given me a means to reach out, have my voice heard, to share my passion of fishing with others. I also volunteer my time to our local Fisheries Federation, this has allowed me to become involved in the greater fishing community, and that is something I believe we should all strive to do in some capacity.

Rachel Vickers with a trophy striper caught on the Hudson River