This Non-Profit is Inspiring Women to Make Waves in the World of Fishing

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When flipping through a fishing magazine, who do you see on those pages? Is it a family or one or two guys fishing? Chances are, it’s the latter. According to Rachel Piacenza, Director of Marketing at the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, only 19 percent of women who fish see themselves in the sport, which is why this non-profit is inspiring women to make waves.

Influential Women in Fishing Industry Are Ready to Make Some Waves. 2018 ICAST, Orland, Fla.
Influential Women in Fishing Industry Are Ready to Make Some Waves.
2018 ICAST, Orland, Fla.

60 in 60 Initiative

In 2016, RBFF launched the 60 in 60 initiative with a goal of having 60 million Americans participate in fishing in 60 months (2021). It makes economical sense for Florida. If 60 million anglers carry fishing licenses, the potential revenue for the Sunshine State is $45.3 million. Holy mackerel!

“Participation [in fishing] is up, we’re really excited at 49 million,” Ms. Piacenza told me, and added, “however, there are a lot of obstacles.”

Rachel Piacenza, Director of Marketing for the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, Speaks to an Audience During the 2018 ICAST in Orlando, Fla.
Rachel Piacenza, Director of Marketing for the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, Speaks to an Audience During the 2018 ICAST in Orlando, Fla.

Who’s Fishing These Days?

What are those obstacles?

“We’re seeing older men aging out of the sport and new participants are skewing female and skewing younger,” she said.

“We saw an opportunity and definitely a need to really engage this audience. A lot of women are already outside. Just to be able to add fishing to their consideration set is really important.”

She then discussed how women do not see themselves in the fishing world.

Mary's Fish Camp in Weeki Wachee - 2018 FOWA Annual Conference, Hernando County, Fla., Sept. 2018
Who’s Ready to Go Fishing?

“When you go to look at a catalogue, you see a video, it’s usually a man, usually by himself,” she told me.

“You rarely, rarely see women and when you do, they’re not portraited usually in the best light. So, we want powerful women out there. We want women who are enjoying what they’re doing.”

The 2018 Special Report on Fishing, a project of the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and the Outdoor Foundation, indicates 49.1 million people older than 6 participated in at least one fishing trip. Of that, 65.2 percent were male and 34.8 percent were female.

Not surprising is women tend to quit at a higher rate than men. The research found 12.2 percent (30.1 million) of Americans who did not fish within the past two years, are interested in fishing again. (54.1 percent men/45.9 percent women). This indicates an excellent opportunity to get more female anglers back into the sport. Of those surveyed, 27.8 percent of men see fishing as something for them. Only 12.9 percent of women view it as something for them.

Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier - North, St. Petersburg, Fla., June 18, 2016
A Girl Fishing at the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park, Fla.

Ladies, Break that Bass Ceiling!

Showing women outside having a good time with family, friends, or by themselves is what RBFF wants to see more of. They launched the Women Making Waves campaign featuring female anglers. The goal is to inspire more women to get on the water and fish. The campaign is “specifically designed to empower women,” Ms. Piacenza told me.

To help women break the “bass ceiling,” Take Me Fishing is encouraging women to use the hashtag #WomenMakingWaves in their fishing-centric social media posts.

Check out this snappy, motivating video.

Wait. Who’s Introducing Kids to Fishing?

“Moms are teaching kids. Moms are doing the introducing of fishing to kids,” she said, which I found fascinating.

“Millennial moms are teaching kids, learning themselves,” she shared, and then, this really floored me, “Moms are teaching sons more than fathers teaching.”

I did a little online searching. Single Mother Guide states, “Single motherhood has grown so common in America that as of 2018, 11.3 million families in the U.S. were headed by a single parent, 81% of which were headed by a female.” And, latest findings by the U.S. Census Bureau indicate about 16.4 million children under the age of 18, or 1 in 4, are raised without a father.

The Recreational Fishing & Boating Foundation aims to show the importance of the fishing experience to families. They also offer opportunities for dad and mom to become confident with their skills then to share with their children.

I Wasn't Fishing This Day But Releasing Tagged Redfish for the 2019 CCA Florida STAR.
I Wasn’t Fishing This Day But Releasing Tagged Redfish for the 2019 CCA Florida STAR.

How can new and seasoned anglers become more confident? They can attend a fishing seminar. Here in Florida, many marinas, bait and tackle shops, and fishing clubs offer them, oftentimes free. Some states offer fishing events for families to learn together. Or, they can visit TakeMeFishing.org for information on everything from baiting a hook to tying knots.

Seasoned anglers can share their passion with someone who hasn’t been fishing. Or, in my case, someone who’s not confident with their angling skills. I have certainly had others share their piscatory passions with me and grateful. I just wish I could make more time to cast a line.

Be part of the movement and take someone fishing. And to my female friends, let’s go make some waves!

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Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer Huber, aka: Solo Travel Girl, to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

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