Fishing, hunting, and the outdoors in general play a major role in the lives of most children who grow up in Northeastern Ontario. For me, fishing has been my passion ever since I was a little girl. There was nothing I loved more than leaving school on Fridays, sometimes even during the week, to go to camp on Lake Nipissing with my dad or grandparents, and fish all weekend. To this day, there is nothing I look forward to more than being able to spend all day out on the water.
Every person who identifies as an angler, hunter, outdoorsman or outdoorswoman understands what I mean when I say that it is the driving force behind what we do. Fishing, hunting, and being in the outdoors is what we love. It’s why we breathe, it’s who we are. There is nothing that separates the men from the women when it comes to outdoor sports other than our biology.
I have been fishing in tournaments for 14 years, and over those years I have put my body through days and nights of not nearly enough sleep. I’m not alone either. Anglers in general have endured downpours of rain for days on end. We’ve endured snow and crazy winds so big that we could no longer keep our balance in the boat and have had to fish on our knees. And we’ve endured extremes in temperatures from bitter cold to scorching heat. And it’s enduring these weather changes that helps us succeed.
Whether you identify as a male or female, if you fish, you are an angler. Being a female angler can present its very own set of unique challenges, but this is not a negative thing; male anglers also face their own challenges. People call anglers crazy for everything we endure, but we call it determination — determination to do better the next time we are on the water, determination to learn more about techniques or fish handling, or the feeding patterns of certain bodies of water. Being on the water and catching fish is an addiction, and as everyone knows, addictions do not discriminate.