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15 Reasons Women Don’t Like Fishing (and the fix!)

Most women just don’t like fishing. Why is that? As a man, I think it should be just as thrilling for women to catch fish as it is for men. But then I really give it a long day of thought and I realize there are so many reasons few women fish.

My mom doesn’t fish. My sister. My wife. My older daughter. My aunts. My nieces. My female friends. None of them fish. Haven’t I told them about my incredible fishing stories often enough that they would start to get interested in it? At least a little bit?

Nope.

There are good reasons for women not caring about fishing. Let’s cover 20 of them and how we might change the minds of women around us to give us some female company when we fish. Fishing with men is fun, sure. Fishing with women could add a whole new level to the hobby. Couldn’t it?!

Let’s Go! OH! Before I forget, don’t miss the last 2 paragraphs…

1 – Little Girls Were Not Brought Up to Fish

My mom and uncles took me and my brother out fishing and never my sister. Why? I can’t recall, but probably already by the age of 7 she just had no interest in the activity. At all. Why? My mom never pushed it on her. Our extended family and neighbors just never encouraged small girls to fish. They found other things to do. My sister read a couple of thousand books. She’s a writer. She’s probably happy with her choice. She missed out on a helluva lot of fishing though!

FIX: We can start encouraging young girls 5-6 to fish with their peers, their siblings. Fishing is an amazing activity that builds confidence and is filled with surprises. Girls should also experience this!

2 – Putting Worms, Crabs, Squid, Shrimp, and Other Fish on a Hook is Terrifying

Handful of fishing worms.
A handful of worm filth might not do it for her. She may need some calm words. She may need YOU to do it! heh-heh.

I get it. When I was 7 I thought I was committing murder to all the different things I had to poke a hook through. I still do in a way. I got over it, but for little kids to get over it there has to be a gradual introduction to the process. Kids have to know hooks go through worms and other stuff. I was not thrilled at all about the idea and it took me a couple of hours to do it myself while fishing for bluegill on my first trip to a stocked lake with my Uncle Mike.

FIX: Add small girls to kids books about fishing and doing whatever kids do when they’re young. Show other female kids fishing. Show them hooking worms and other bait. Show them you can simply wipe off your hands afterward.

3 – Wiggly, Slippery, Slimy, and Smelly Fish

Fish don’t jump off the hook into your cooler on their own. Girls aren’t too keen on handling fish because they picture them as all the adjectives above. Girls are taught to be clean and not get dirty. This is ridiculously bad for their development. Girls should get as dirty as boys and enjoy doing it.

FIX: A little education will go a long way in teaching male and females as kids that fish don’t smell, aren’t (usually) slimy, but they are wiggly and alive and that’s one way we know they’re healthy to eat! Dirt is easily washed off. People who farm have dirty hands. They wash them. They live another day!

4 – Many Women Don’t Want to Kill Any Animal

Women more than men are more weirded out by killing animals. Of course they’ll eat fish, lobster, clams, oysters, chicken, pork, beef, and every other living animal under the sun but they don’t have to kill them. Boys are taught to hunt and fish and it means something is going to die. Women don’t usually hunt either, so it’s that much more daunting to kill ANY animal. Even fish.

FIX: Again, early childhood education can do wonders. Boys get over it. It wouldn’t take much to put girls in the same boat when young and treat them the all the same. Everyone should fish. Everyone should hunt. At least until you can choose as an adult whether you believe in it or not. If some of our ancestors chose not to kill animals, where would we all be? It’s a fact of life. Girls and boys need to get over it and accept the responsibility.

5 – Girls Are Not Comfortable with the Tools of Fishing

Young girls and even adults are not familiar with the tools of fishing. Most have never held a pair of needle-nose pliers. Seriously. Most have never had to learn a new knot after learning how to tie shoelaces. Most don’t know how to use a pocket knife safely. All of these little things that seem like nothing to guys are a hurdle, an unknown, for girls and women to get over.

FIX: While still at home, introduce the girls you’re taking fishing to the tools of the trade. Rod, reel, line, sinkers, floats, swivels, hooks, tackle box, what’s in the box, pliers, bait, etc.

6 – Girls Are Not Comfortable with Fishing Lingo

“Thread that baitfish through with a 3/0 hook on a wire leader for the best presentation.”

“Hey, can you grab me one of those Gotcha Lures in silver with the flourescent red tips?”

“Can you see if we have any size 1 circle hooks in the bottom of that tacklebox?”

It takes a little while to know what all the fishing vocabulary words are, doesn’t it? Boys pick it up over time. Girls that are older, or women, would be overwhelmed with it I think. There are different types of hooks, bait, line, swivels, sinkers, floats, rods, reels, and all sorts of things girls have probably never thought about in their lives. Tides? PowerBait? 7″ Plastics? Pumpkinhead and JuneBug colors?

FIX: Teach kids early some of the lingo and gradually work them up to everything they need to know when they’re teens or older!

7 – It’s Not Fun to Look Dumb in Front of Boys

Nobody likes to be the noob learning something that everyone else in the group already knows. With fishing and taking a girl along, it would be exactly like that, wouldn’t it. I mean, that’s definitely part of it, right? Boys at 12 know how to fish in Florida in most cases. Girls at 12, 15, 20, and 40… don’t usually.

Boy know-it-alls can be a pain in the butt!

FIX: Take your daughter on the side and give her some easy projects to do with the tools she’ll be using on your fishing trip. Give her a Zebco closed-face reel and simple rod that is ready to go. She pushes a button and casts and reels. That’s it. Nothing fancy. She’ll pick it up in five minutes.

8 – Women Need Other Females Around

Don’t try to take your sister fishing with your dad and uncles. Women are vastly different from men and need another woman around for companionship. It’s like your mom, aunts, and older sisters taking you to a baking festival. Come on? Women are just not that enthused about sitting around a bunch of snuff-chewing, alcohol drinking, wormy-fingered guys that haven’t taken baths in the last 24-hours.

FIX: Bring as many women as you can find along to fish at the same time so everyone can learn, talk about it with each other, and rationalize all the killing of harmless animals that is taking place during a fishing expedition.

9 – Women Already HAVE their Hobbies and Pastimes as Adults

Woman with tennis hobby instead of fishing with her boyfriend.
Who needs fishing? Tennis is so much better, she said.

They don’t need another one. They don’t want to be bothered. They’ve been doing the same things for fun for years, maybe decades and they just have no desire to give up what they like doing to try something you like doing in the hopes that it turns out you can do it together more often.

Turn it around. If your wife was begging you to go to see a “plant show” every weekend for 3-6-9 hours… or even overnight. Instead of fishing. Now you see exactly what the problem is, right?

FIX: it’s probably best to start kids young. I think I’ve said that at least five times already. Help little girls get outside more, get into the dirt more, do things more like their adventurous brothers more. You know?

10 – Women Just Have No Interest At All!

This is true in some cases. Maybe most. The reason they have no interest is because they just don’t know how fun it can be. I think. But sure, there are some women (and men) who just don’t care about it in the least and there’s no sense trying too hard to bring someone around to a hobby they’ll never enjoy. Know when enough is enough.

FIX: Accept the fact that not everyone was born to fish. You were. I was. That’s maybe enough. Forget the rest of those people if they can’t see what a blast it is! First try to have them watch a really fun fishing video you find on YouTube and see if that stirs any primeval desires to slay fish on a recurring basis!

11 – Women Don’t Want to Be Gawked At

Anytime a woman enters into a hobby filled with men, she is stared at even more than on city streets. As I said earlier, I’d welcome any women into the group because I’d have someone to look at and talk to that wasn’t a guy. I like guys, but I’d like a swimsuit model so much better. So women are dealing with us kind of pigs and some of them know better. Fair enough.

FIX: Increase the number of women in the group. Just one woman isn’t very comforting. Two is better. Six is probably better yet.

12 – It May Not Be About the Fish (Believe it or not)

Women may look at fishing as a social opportunity more than a fishing expedition. I mean, they see things so differently from us, I would not be too surprised! It may not be that they aren’t keen on fishing. It may just be that they see a limited social opp with a fishing trip with old male relatives and friends of the family.

FIX: As above, bring more women fishing with you! Ask her to invite a couple of friends. Make a social event out of it, if that’s what it takes!

13 – Women Think Fishing is Cruel

Even if you tell your woman friend that you’ll catch and release and not use any live or dead bait, only artificial lures, they may still think it’s cruel to catch a fish with a hook in the mouth. To be honest, it might be, but I’ve made a pretty good case for whether fish feel pain over at this article. Ask her to read that one and see what she says.

FIX: Read the article I mentioned. I’ve given a lot of thought to this idea because I definitely don’t like the idea of hurting an animal for my own selfish reasons. I honestly think they must not feel much pain or any pain at all. How could they pull against a hook and fight it and hurt worse with every bit of resistance? Doesn’t make sense to me.

What do you think?

14 – She May Not Like Boats

Girl on fishing trip hanging over railing because of feeling ill with sea sickness.
Sea sickness is no fun for any of us! Get some dramamine before you go just to be prepared.

This is a valid concern. I don’t like boats driven by fools, and I’ve been on a couple recently. Reassure her that the captain will stay sober and has a perfect safety record and years of boating. This might help. She may have heard about sea sickness or know she easily gets it. Buy some dramamine or other medicine to get a jump start on that.

FIX: Just fish from a pier. Piers are amazing.

15 – Too Many Unknowns and It May Seem More Dangerous than It Is

Again, valid concerns. The unknown is always a bit scary and fishing for a woman must seem like one of the craziest things to do with free time. Ever. This is probably easily taken care of.

FIX: Sit her down and explain everything that is going to happen. Tell her about buying bait. Throwing a net for bait. You’ll put the hooks on the lines and she can learn the knots when she’s ready. Heck, tell her you’ll do everything for her the first few times she accompanies you on a fishing trip. This will knock out most of the fear factor.

Ask her what she’s wondering about. What questions does she have? Is anything scary to her?

Resolve it before you even leave so she’ll relax more and have a better time of it.

It really is a shame that more women don’t get out there fishing. Sometimes we actually succeed in getting a woman out to fish with us and then WE screw it up.

Did you read my story about how I nearly killed my girlfriend while wade fishing at the Fort De Soto Park in St. Petersburg?

A very good read, if I do say so myself! You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll probably never show that to any woman you want to take with you on a fishing trip! HA!

[All images from Unsplsh and edited.]