Tell us about the 50/50 campaign
The 50/50 program is a vehicle to host worldwide fishing events, talks and experiences. To share and inspire others to create their own outdoor adventures. It’s simply a way of promoting the sport so that we can continue to see an increase in female participation.
The 50/50 On The Water campaign embodies three main goals. Making it easy for women to participate in the sport, celebrating the unique connection between women and conservation and showcasing authentic experiences of real women fly-fishing.
The initiative provides women the opportunity to fish, learn and explore with Orvis-endorsed instructors and guides. There are activities happening across world. Other big brands including YETI, Costa Del Mar and Simms Fishing are now making a big push to hit the goal of 50/50 on the water.
The aim of the 50/50 On The Water initiative is to instil a love for fishing in women and with this support will help them on their fishing journey.
What excites you the most about more females getting into fly fishing?
I think naturally because my mum taught me I have always wanted to pass on my passion to other ladies. Since I gave up my job 2 years ago and started guiding I’ve absolutely loved teaching other ladies, all ages and abilities. I enjoy the way they take everything in and share their experiences with other people, online and offline. I believe that having a balance within the fishing community is a great asset for the sport.
What do you think is the greatest barrier for women in fly fishing?
From my experience I’ve picked up on a few things women have said to me whilst I’ve been teaching them who have a shooting background. They mention that the process of learning how to fly fish is a lot harder than learning how to shoot. It’s still a very much male dominated sport, pastime and activity, this might be daunting for some ladies but when they gain the confidence to catch fish by themselves it opens up endless opportunities.
Tell us a little about your 50/50 event.
I celebrated International Women’s Day by hosting a 50/50 event at Lechlade Fishery, Oxfordshire, aiming to inspire and celebrate women in the sport of fishing. To mark the occasion, I invited 10 women with a range of fishing abilities, from Gilly Bate, a qualified AAPGAI Advanced Instructor to Jess Dutton, Charlie Branwhite and Olivia Tullet who had never picked up a fly rod before. First-timer participants learnt about the craft of fly fishing, amongst others with experience who were casting and catching in style. I was thrilled with the outcome and hope that by hosting an event like this with Orvis UK it will encourage more women to give it a go.
Do you have any advice for women who are interested in learning more about the sport?
- Find a local fishery and a hire a guide to hone in on your fishing skills, get them to teach you everything from the beginning: how to setup your rod, learn the knots to tie your fly to the leader and leader to fly line so you can do this when you’re practicing or fishing by yourself and also how to net a fish if you were alone.
- If you have a rod and you have a patch of grass to practice on take advantage of this. Practice = confidence = success. The quicker your progress the more enjoyment you’ll get out of it. DON’T GIVE UP!!!
- Learning the roll cast and overhead will pretty much cover you in most situations when you are starting out. There are some great tuition videos on YouTube – I advise watching Peter Kutzer from Orvis Fly Fishing, his videos really helped me through my FFI CI exam. You can pretty much learn any skill online now.
- Be aware of the environment, learn about the conservation aspects and take care of the fisheries you visit.
- Learn how to read the water – you will catch more fish! Connect with your surroundings as much as possible, think like a fish!! Soak in the elements and just enjoy being outside, immersed in nature and away from technology. You will get so much out of just being at one with nature.