In light of International Women’s Day on March 8th, the show organisers spoke to just a few women from the industry supporting The London Fly Fishing Fair. Keep reading to hear their thoughts on this year’s line-up, they asked them what they are most looking forward to seeing at the fair and how they are encouraging other people to join our beloved sport.
The London Fly Fishing Fair is taking place 23rd/24th March. For tickets and more information on the fair, please visit the website on the link below.
Tiggy Pettifer, Atlantic Salmon Trust
“The London Fly Fishing Fair will be the perfect host to the fishing community coming together in our country’s capital. I am most looking forward to hearing about all the different conservation projects, ready to discuss all ideas and how we can progress. We are continuing to encounter so many issues affecting our industry, plastic pollution and salmon shortages being two of the biggest. As the Fund Raising Officer at the Atlantic Salmon Trust, I cannot stress how important it is for us to tackle this, Salmon are on the absolute brink of being an endangered species, we must take action.”
“Having fished since I was about 3 years old, personally, I help women get into fishing by simply asking anyone and everyone if they have ever picked up a rod. At my B&B, Ty’r Chanter, guests come to stay and I take them fishing as it is such a wonderful way to leave stress and chaos from their day behind. I truly believe catching a salmon is the best feeling in the world and take every chance I can get to share that with other women and children. As a member of AAPGAI, I am one of only a few women in the UK to have my Advanced Salmon instruction qualification, I use this to teach women and children alike.”
Gilly Bate, Fly Odyssey
“I believe to encourage more women to take up fly fishing you need to change the perception that is a man’s domain. Fly fishing is easily accessible for all women regardless of age or strength. Gone are the days when a woman walking into a tackle shop was treated as a novelty or that she must be buying something for her partner. Ladies’ days and female casting instructors can make all the difference in that first step towards fly fishing, to gain confidence and help them realise that they are on an equal footing. Fly Odyssey actively encourage women to take up fly fishing by arranging ladies days throughout the summer months, as well as private lessons throughout the year where women can try out fly fishing without the watchful eyes of more experienced anglers.”
“I have only heard good things about the London Fly Fishing Fair. This is my first year attending and I can’t wait to see all the great and good from the fly fishing world. Although I might not meet them all, I’m hoping I’ll get to hear or see many of them talk or demonstrate and that is so exciting. There will be so much of interest that I can learn and put into practice on the riverbank. The fair will also be a great opportunity to catch up with old and new friends that I’ve made over the last year. Bring it on!”
“I genuinely can’t understand why the whole world isn’t fishing. There is a general opinion amongst non-fishy people that it is somehow a boring sport. But getting my friends out onto the river is the best way to prove to them just how exciting fishing is. Having a fish on the end of the line is far from boring. And then they’re hooked too (excuse the pun). Most of my hobbies are quite high excitement and fishing is no different. I love nothing more than sharing this brilliant sport with friends and family.”
Rachael Brady, Sporting Coordinator, Orvis UK
“I’m really looking forward to seeing how much the fair has grown since last year. This is fast becoming the show of the season and it is really exciting to be a part of it and seeing the rest of the fishing community join together. Orvis will be showcasing the new Helios 3 rod and also shouting from the rooftops about our industry led initiative of ‘50/50 in the water’ – getting more gals onto the river bank and into the sport in general. By 2020 we want to have 50/50 split on the water. This initiative is being driven by our Orvis US team and we are working to get other brands on board as much as possible. It is now coming over the pond and I cannot wait to get involved!”
“When talking with other women, I always try to show just how easy it is to get into fly fishing and how welcoming everyone is within the fishing ‘family’. I only started fishing a few years ago and through the help of the community I am now going to be fishing in the England Ladies Commonwealth team in September – anything is possible!”
Marina Gibson, Orvis UK and London Fly Fishing Fair Ambassador
“Even though it’s still seen as a male dominated sport, there is evidence to show that more women are showing an interest – whether that be attending ladies’ courses, weekend getaways, fly-tying sessions, creating a fishing profile online or training to become a guide. We can now showcase our outdoor experiences, passions and hobbies to the world through our social media platforms, displaying just how accessible fly fishing is, and not forgetting how fun it is too. The world is shrinking and opening endless possibilities for people. Once a lady tries her hand at fly fishing and discovers it’s nothing to do with strength and hardcore fitness but more so technique, finesse and well-being – the rest is history.” For more information on Marina’s guided trips, please visit her website.
Anne Woodcock, Ladies Fishing
“I am looking forward to seeing, 1: Phillippa Hake tying on fly dressers row, a talented young lady who fishes for England and started fly tying just 5 years ago. A self-taught young woman – who is an inspiration to women of all ages who would like to try fishing, fly tying or fish for their country. 2: Jess England – another talented young lady who has caught over 60 fish. With a double handed rod, she oozes talent and one of the few young ladies in the UK to catch under pressure for a TV programme. A talent to watch. 3: Fin & Game – stockiest of fishing clothing and accessories for women – Simms and Costa will be on the stand.”
“Since 2008 I have held not for profit events for women to try salmon and trout fishing in a safe, friendly and relaxing environment. This year I’m involved in a series of ladies Salmon fishing festivals in Scotland, England and Wales. We start the first of our Ladies’ fishing festivals on the River Spey 30/31st March – 26 ladies from across the UK fishing for salmon with the help of world Spey casting champions and AAPGAI, SGAIC instructors Iain Gordon, Scott Mackenzie, David Mateer and members of the River Spey Anglers Association with the ghillies on Knockando Estate and Gordon Castle Estate sharing their knowledge and ensuring the ladies have a great time. I will have leaflets on the FishPal stand to hand out. I am very lucky to be supported by FishPal. Find out more at: www.ladiesfishing.co.uk.”