Of course statistically far more men tend to enjoy fishing as a pastime than women and I appreciate the fact that it’s rare to see an equal amount of women setting up their ‘bivvies’ around a water, but that is not to say that women can’t share the same passion for fishing as men. From its earliest beginnings women have played an active role in the development of the sport; it may come as a surprise to learn that the earliest English essay on recreational fishing, “Treatyse of Fysshynge wyth an Angle”, was written and published in 1496 by Dame Juliana Berners, a nun and a noblewomen, and many more female anglers have greatly influenced the sport ever since:
Mary Orvis Marbury (1856 – 1914) – The daughter of Charles Orvis, Mary took charge of the Orvis fly department in the 1870’s and went on to publish a milestone encyclopedic reference book on fly patterns, “Favorite Flies and their History”, in 1892. The book became a best-seller and set the national standards for 300 distinct fly patterns. When she died in 1914, the English Fishing Gazette acclaimed her as “the most famous but one female angling author.” (The ‘but one” was Dame Juliana Berners).
Helen Lerner (1902 – 1979) – A world class angler and one of the founders of the International Game Fishing Association, Helen Lerner set many firsts for women anglers around the world.
Sara C. Farrington (1908 – 1992) – Known as “Chisie,” Sara Farrington set 11 IGFA world records, appeared in 11 films about big-game fishing, wrote for Harpers Bazaar, Vogue and Mademoiselle and authored the book “Women Can Fish” in 1951.
Joan Wulff (1926 – present) – Known as one of the best fly-casters on the planet, Joan has been writing columns for “Fly Rod & Reel” magazine for 22 years and has authored a number of books on fly fishing, the most well known being “Fly Casting Techniques”, “Fly Casting Accuracy”, and “Joan Wulff’s Fly Fishing”. She was the US National Casting Champion from 1943-1960 in ‘distance casting’ against an all-male competition, once making a record cast of 161 feet, and was inducted into the IGFA Hall of Fame in 2007. In 1996 she established the Wulff School of Fly Fishing, which is still in operation today.
(Check out all of Babs Kijewski's fishing photos at http://www.babs-angeln.de/angelvideos/karpfen-angeln/)