By Partnerships Ranger Amelia Willis
“It’s a man’s world” – well that’s what most people think about the sport of fly fishing – but is it really true? My friend Evelien and I went out at the weekend in the Taupō Fishing District, to find out.
I’d like to say we were up and going at the crack of dawn, but in reality it was a pretty cruisy start to the day. After a quick coffee stop – we’d managed to save some time by buying our Taupō Fishing Licences online – we headed south to the Hinemaiaia River, and had made it to the river bank by noon.
Evie has fished on and off since childhood, thanks to her Dad – but I’m still new to fly fishing, although I’ve fished on the lake for many years.
So neither of us profess to be experts, in fact we both have a lot to learn (well when it comes to fishing that is!). It was also our first outing together. Needless to say, arriving in the car park with a bunch of male anglers around was a little intimidating!
We definitely had preconceived ideas about the angling community, which didn’t help this trepidation: male, closed off, competitive, condescending, and absolutely ready to judge two young women out for a fish.
In this way, we set out – with apprehension, searching for pools that were vacant and where we wouldn’t get into anybody’s space.
After a little time exploring different pools, chatting and relaxing into our casting we, like the frosty winter day, began to thaw out.
Late afternoon, not having had much luck we headed to a new pool – bumping into two guys, Gareth and Billy, looking like they were having a successful time of it. As the pool was full we were about to go, but then the boys beckoned us over: “How’s your day going?” “What’s your set up?” “What are you fishing with?” A little advice, some positive reinforcement, a gifted nymph – and two minutes later Evie had a six pound rainbow on her line!
Gareth and Billy were great – and once we had changed our attitude, we realised most people on the river that day were happy to help.
Those passionate about the sport of fly fishing are pretty stoked to see newcomers getting into it, knowing the sport they love will carry on and hopefully grow.
The moral of the story: just get out there and give it a go!
If you’re not ready to go out alone, just head out for a walk along the river banks and have a chat to some of the anglers. This can be really inspiring, and can help you plan your first solo trip.
And when you’re out there in the river don’t be shy, ask for advice – most anglers are really friendly, and more than willing to share in your success (provided they’ve already had a bit of success themselves!)