Lakecaster Online

WOMEN & THE OUTDOORS
By: Sue Crochet

Sue Crochet

It really surprises me to find out how many women who love to fish are not encouraged by their husbands or significant others to develop their skills and achieve a greater level of confidence and ability. Relatively few women dream of being a professional angler, but would probably love to at least feel competent when they're in a boat. Just like with any type of activity, whether it's a sport, hobby, or job, the only way to get better at it is to practice, learn how to do things differently, and set goals for accomplishment. How much you grow greatly depends upon the support and recognition you receive from others.

I had no idea how to bass fish when I met my husband almost 24 years ago. Because he loved this sport so much, I made up my mind to learn something about it and spend some time with him on the water. Little did I know that I would come to love it even more than he did! Those hours, days, and first years that he spent teaching me to cast, coaching me on knot-tying and lure presentation, showing me how to spool line on my reels and pull backlashes out, and finally, taking the time to show me how to back a boat into the water and take it out by myself set the wheels in motion and gave me the desire to develop into the angler I am today.

When a relationship is new and his "little lady" knows so little, it's much easier for a man to patiently take the time to pull lures out of trees, back up 10 yards to retrieve a crank bait from a stump 20 feet down, or wait as you back down, pull up, and back down again 20-40 times before finally getting the boat in the water. However, men with this kind of patience are far and few between. If it's more than showing them how to cast and take a fish off the hook, I'd venture to guess that on the average, only one out of ten men (and that's probably stretching it a bit) would be able to teach their own girlfriend or wife the many facets of bass fishing.

I have many fond memories of our early fishing years together and wouldn't trade them for anything. I will always be grateful to my husband for teaching me this sport that I've come to love so much. However, what I'd learned during those formative years what his style of fishing. As I began to develop more individually as an angler, we became less compatible in the boat. This is not to say that we don't have pleasurable, fun-fishing times on the water today, but from a competitive standpoint we drifted apart. Fishing isn't what brought us together, so the fact that his love for deer hunting has taken him in another direction and my love for tournament angling keeps me on the water more than him these days is not a bad thing. Thank you, Wade... I love you!

Now, for those of you who want to learn more and have no one to help you, there is another avenue... bass clubs. Years ago, a woman wouldn't have dreamed of asking to be a member of a bass club that was made up of all men. For one thing, those same men have wives or girlfriends who probably wouldn't like it if they knew a woman had joined the club, especially if they don't like to bass fish themselves or if their husbands or boyfriends had not taken the time to teach them to bass fish. Secondly, they didn't encourage women to bass fish, because they didn't want us invading their space!

Ladies, times have changed! Not only are previously all-men clubs accepting female members, but there are many women's clubs out there. If you want to learn more about bass fishing, not having someone to show you how is no longer a good excuse. Men love nothing more than to "strut their stuff" and having a new member, especially a female who doesn't know much, is right up their alley! What's really neat is that a man who isn't worth a flip at coaching his wife or girlfriend is much more patient with a total stranger. I can't explain it, but it's a fact! Another great thing about learning from a man is that you begin to differentiate between the strengths one gender has over the other in bass fishing and yes, women do have the edge sometimes.

On the other hand, learning from another woman has its plusses. For one thing, I feel that I'm a more diverse angler than the average man and I think this is true of most of the professional women anglers that I know. I also think that our motives are different. We don't have the need to soothe our egos by showing someone we're better than they are. Our goal is to truly teach someone to be a better angler. Since we formed the Lake Area Lady Anglers club about eight years ago, I can't begin to measure the satisfaction I've received in seeing other women grow in the sport. Additionally, I have had more men ask me how to use a particular lure, where they should fish on the lake at different times of the year, what type of rod they should purchase, and so on. This is also very rewarding, because I feel I've earned their respect as a fellow angler.

So... do you have a passion? If you love the outdoors and spending time on the water whether it's hot or cold, rain or shine, whether the fish or biting or not, and it's your heart's desire to learn more about the sport of bass fishing, why not look up your local bass clubs. There are numerous fishing web sites with message boards where you can inquire about clubs in your area. You can also contact your local sporting goods stores and they might be able to help you locate clubs in your area or at least give you the name of a person you can call.

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The Lake Area Lady Anglers had to cancel their last two tournaments for 2005 due to hurricane issues. With the holidays upon us, the decision was made to wrap up the 2005 season as of their August 20th Sam Rayburn event. The following members (in order by place finished) will represent the club in the Louisiana Top Six on Toledo Bend in May, 2006.
Sue Crochet
Liz Lewis
Tommie Domingue
Sandy Jeane
Linda Andrus
Sandi Karnes
Sarah Busby (Alternate)

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