Reel Women Head for the River in NH

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George Liset photo

All in the family. Bacall Liset is Writing on the Fly's George List's daughter.

By George Liset

As I was fishing with my daughter on our river, I was admiring her casting. It was pretty much textbook. It is fun to watch someone that does something well. We have been fishing together for a couple of years now that she  has finished school and has more time.

I have noticed more women on the river over the past few years. A few of the large fishing gear companies have been making a big push recently to increase their sales by marketing to women, that and the fact that women are finding the simple joy that comes with fly fishing, have contributed to the increase.

George Liset

However, an astute historian or fanatic of the sport could tell you that women have always been a big part of the sport. According to Wikipedia, the earliest English essay on recreational fishing was published in 1496, shortly after the invention of the printing press.

The authorship of this was attributed to Dame Juliana Berners, the prioress of the Benedictine Sopwell Nunnery. The essay was titled Treatyse of Loise writes about Fysshynge wyth an Angle, and was published in the second Boke of Saint Albans, a treatise on hawking, hunting, and heraldry.

My favorite books by women on fly fishing have been written more recently. Louise Dickinson Rich wrote We Took to the Woods about her experience being married to a Maine Guide and living on the Rapid River in Maine. Louise writes about the hardships and joys that come with living the fishing life many dream about.

Many talented women have made a name for themselves in the field of fly tying. Mary Orvis Marbury wrote Favorite Flies and Their Histories, and I just picked up a beautiful book entitled Carrie G. Stevens, Maker of Rangeley Favorite Trout and Salmon Flies by Graydon and Leslie Hilyard. Both books display some beautiful colored plates of flies.

Anyone discussing women and fly fishing would be remiss in not mentioning Joan Salvato Wulf, a real modern-day pioneer in fly casting. Joan has a number of excellent instructional videos on YouTube. While you are there, check out April Vokey from Chillmark, BC who is the newest sensation.

Daughter-in-law Kate Liset enjoys fly fishing as well.

As I was watching my daughter, I was thinking about how lucky I was to be able to share the sport of fly fishing with her. My son has introduced the sport to his lovely wife. They recently had an anniversary and headed up to the North Conway area where they spent some time on the river fly fishing. Now she is what I call a keeper.

My train of thought was broken by the cry of, “I got one! I got one!” As I look over, my daughter was reeling in a nice trout.

Grabbing my net, I headed over and swooped in to keep the prize from escaping.

After a mini celebration and a couple of pictures, we continued prospecting for more trout. We caught a couple more trout and a batch of Sunfish, then decided to head home as the sun was setting.

A writer from Dover, George Liset writes about all things Fly Fishing. George has worked as a lobsterman, lifeguard, wrangler, boat captain, fishing instructor, and has traveled in most of the lower 48 states. Upon graduation from Wheaton College, Illinois, George began his teaching career and currently teaches in Dover and has coached Track and Field most recently at UNH. Liset has been published nationally and internationally in the area of track and field and coaching.


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