My gosh here it is almost mid-February and I haven’t written a new post this month yet. It is not that I have been brain dead or unable to put sentences together to create a post. Things around my home and job have been quite busy. I am about to correct the previous mentioned problem. Kristine from over at the Outdoor Bloggers Summit issued a challenge to anyone who writes or blogs about time in the outdoors with the theme of “Non-Traditional Faces Of The Outdoors”.
Since Idaho Fishing Notebook is designed and written to be slanted towards the fishing community, I will approach my response to the challenge from that angle. Fishing has a long history of being a thing a guy reads about in outdoor magazines, watches on Saturday mornings on the t.v., on video tapes and dvd’s, and videos from on the internet. True fishing tackle shops or fly shops have always been a place for the guys to hang out and tell stories and trade thoughts on catching the big one!
However, the guy thing in fishing has been changing significantly as more and more wives, girlfriends, etc. have ventured into the fishing arena. Now women are joining men on booked fishing trips, casual fishing weekends, high mountain lake trips, and yes, even in the tournament angler arena with loads of gear, bass boats, and fishing knowledge to equal or better some of us guys. Believe me this is the 21st centtury and the ladies are on the water!
Many years ago when I was first learning fly fishing from a float tube, an Idaho lake that was well known for active Bluegill and Bass, was my target. Catching Bluegills, I had heard, was a great way to learn fly fishing skills as the Bluegills were easy to catch. On this particular day, I was still struggling to find a working combination that would fool the Bluegill. I had watched down the shoreline a distance to an individual who was having much better success than I. I humbly paddled towards the other angler who was humped over in their float tube actively fishing and catching Bluegill afte Bluegill. I wanted to learn how this was being done. So thought I would compliment the other float tuber with a “Howdy, buddy, you sure are having a great time! What’s the secret?” I was shocked when the angler looked up and pulled the hat up that had been pulled down to protect the eyes from the sun. There “She” was. This float tubing machine that I had been observing was a bright eyed, smiling, brunette! She was more than happy to help out this new guy with some fishing tips. I even caught some Bluegill that day. Janet was one of the foundations upon which I built my float tube fly fishing plan of attack. Since then I have had many opportunities to attend fly tying and fly fishing shows that featured ladies as casting instructors, fly tyers, and guest speakers at banquets. Some say fly casting is an art and a beautiful timing mechanism for a great day on the water. I know that fly casting is a work of art that is a picaso in the hands of a woman. Long past my fly fishng days now, I have recently seen an interesting climb in the number of lady guides on the waters out my way. They can guide, row a boat, and fish with the best of the male species. I have enjoyed fishing trips with my daughter when she outfished me. She is a full grown lady now, but, I bet she would be just as savy on fishing as she always was if she wanted to join me. I have always enjoyed my wife on camping and fishing trips. Yes, she does fish. Not as much as she used to, but, she has caught her fair share of trout and panfish in her time on the water. Face it, fishing is not just a guy thing for the macho man who wants to catch and brag about the biggest fish on the lake. I wouldn’t put it past a lady to be the one who pulls Big Herbie out of the water.
Not to carry on indefinitely with this post, but, I have to address another non-traditional face in the outdoor world. That being of the dis-abled angler. More and more waters near home are being made handicap access available to promote the fishing opportunity for those less fortunate than your or I. My working professional career has been based on providing supports necessaryto these individuals so that they can live as independently as possible in our everyday world. I wouldn’t have changed my working life in any way if I had to do it all over again. I have assisted my co-workers on a number of occassions in assisting these individuals to have an opportunity to travel and participate in fishing opportunities that otherwise they would not have much of an opportunity to participate in. I believe we need to continue to provide opportunities for those individuals with disabilities to participate as actively as possible in the outdoors rather it is fishing, hunting, camping, boating, etc. etc. I know I will never forget the time that I fished with a developmentally disabled adult from the boat dock of my local lake. Him in his wheelchair, me in my standard fishing chair, side by side. He could cast his line out into the lake as well as I could, he baited his own hook, reeled in his own fish (and he caught some beauties), and whooped it up just like any of us “other” anglers do. All he needed was a little help netting these nice trout. Guys & Gals, I’ll tell you what. I will never, ever forget the smile he had on his face when I took him home that night to be with his caretaker. He was so excited and I felt (10) feet tall and bullet proof! So for any one who happens to be a skeptic about whose face belongs in outdoor scenes and events, may I say to you, time to get your head out of your ass!