I’ll never forget how excited I was about the idea of setting up a ladies fishing club back in early 2008. An angler myself for over seventeen years, the idea suddenly came to me whilst out fishing when I realised that more often of not I was the only female on the waters side – it was then that I decided it was about time more ladies got into the sport and what better way to do it but to found a ladies only fishing club!
Angling has given me so much over the years– from the obvious relaxation and fresh air giving health benefits, to the quality time spent together with my father who first introduced me into angling and the hundreds of friends I’ve made along the way - I’ve had some truly amazing experiences and the club was my way of giving something back.
I have always believed that angling is something anyone can do – no matter what your age, race, gender or ability. Having worked in the fishing industry for many years – starting with my own business set up aged 16 years old, www.fishingforeveryone.com is a website dedicated to encouraging and promoting more people into angling, in particular more women. Through the website I sell a variety of products, from women’s fishing attire to ladies fishing vouchers. I have also worked in retail - for a local fishing tackle shop as their fishing specialist before going onto work at Orvis Incorporated, and then finally to Hardy & Greys Ltd where today I am the company PR and Communications Coordinator.
I remember spending weeks advertising the launch of the ladies fishing club – only the second ladies fishing club ever to have been set up in the UK, after the England Ladies Fly Fishing Association (ELFA.) The Club was going to cover all angling disciplines and events would be held across the country, giving ladies the chance to try out this fantastic sport – I was very ambitious with my initial plans. I thought who better a person to set up a ladies angling club then a lady who fishes and is dedicated to the sport, someone who works in the angling industry and is lucky enough to have some of the world’s top anglers at her fingertips.
I advertised the first Club meeting on fishingforeveryone.com, in local papers and national fishing magazines, national papers and fishing websites and soon the enquiries came flooding in.
Our first event was held at the relatively newly opened Chatton Trout Fishery at Chatton, Northumberland in April 2008. Twenty ladies attended the event, travelling from far and wide – one lady even travelled up from as far away as Essex just to join us for the day!
Although I had always believed ladies would be interested in this male dominated sport of ours, I was amazed by the interest and this just spurred me on to work even harder.
I continued to run a different event each month in or around the North East of England covering Trout, Grayling, Pike and sea fishing and more and more members joined the Club.
Some things to this day still stand out from those first organised trips including one lady who turned up to a Trout fishing event with inch-long pink painted acrylic nails, hair extensions to her waist and a full face of makeup. Another lady turned up with just a pair of pumps on and one other announced that to go fly fishing she believed we had to catch the flies with our nets before we started to fish with them! These ladies are still with the club today and are now allot wiser when it comes to angling!
After a few months of the Club the papers were crying out for a name to refer to us by and so I decided upon the ‘Fishing For Everyone Ladies Fishing Club’ – after all it hailed from the fishingforeveryone.com website and it said it all - fishing is for everyone!
I was soon lucky enough to get some help from Hardy & Greys Game Academy member, and Salmon and Trout Association Chairman for the Derbyshire area, Rebecca Thorpe. A fantastic asset – I look back and realise that allot of what I have done could not have been done without Rebecca. Not only is she a fantastic angler and qualified angling instructor, she is also a fantastic friend, confidant and problem solver!
Of course non of this could have been done without my family either and my Father has been not only a support – he has attended every event without fail but is also my main inspiration.
In September 2009 I decided I couldn’t run the Club without additional help and also to be able to help support its growth we needed to become an official angling club and so members of the Club came together to vote upon a committee.
Today the Club has over one hundred members and an active committee of seven. I am very proud of the Club and all we have achieved together. Going forward we are applying for funding to help grown the Club which will enable us to buy our own kit and be able to subsidise fishing outings for our members. We have recently been sponsored by Joules Clothing - this is a major positive for us as it not only helps with our promotion but enters us into the right marketing fields. We have even bigger plans set for 2010 and beyond so watch out!