By: Ashley Rae
Several years ago, I found myself very frustrated in tears in a parking lot after trying to find a pair of waders for fly fishing. I traveled out of my small hometown to a larger city, which I thought would have a better selection. I was greeted with laughter from the two male associates when I inquired about waders for women. I then asked for the equivalent boot size in men’s to find that that was not an item they carried either. I told them I was just looking for something that would fit me properly and they laughed and replied I would have to wear ‘chin waders’ because they didn’t make anything for ‘little people’. It felt like a slap in the face.
Introduced to fishing by a family friend, I have been fortunate to experience time on the water since the age of five. No members of my immediate family fished so it was with friends throughout my life and joining a local bass fishing club that I was able to experience fishing. Each experience and outing left me wanting more. After graduating college and having more financial stability after paying back student loans, I decided to buy a fishing kayak so that I could be independent. I wanted to fish as I pleased and didn’t want to wait on anyone anymore. I learned a lot out on my own without any time limits and being able to go where I pleased and fish as long as I wanted.
Working in the Office Administration field after college for a few years, I realized that chained to a desk was not where I belonged. I am happiest when I am on the water. The miserable and cruel manager at one medical office I worked gave me the inspiration I needed to get the heck out of there. I did not want to end up like her and I couldn’t thrive in a negative environment. The nine-to-five wasn’t my dream.
I took a year off and focused on fishing and writing which I had been doing outside of work and on weekends for my blog SheLovesToFish.com and also for a local newspaper. In sharing the passion I have for fishing through writing and other outlets, I had been approached by sponsors who wanted to support me and help me succeed in my goals. I was invited to host a fly fishing television show episode and also got the chance to host seminars about fishing at trade shows throughout Ontario. I was happier than ever to share my passion and inspire others to experience fishing and so grateful for these opportunities.
With the support of local tourism and sponsors, I was able to host my own ice fishing episode called ‘Captured’ which aired on the World Fishing Network last year (it is also available online). I hope to create more videos in the future with a focus of online content in order to reach anglers from all around the world.
Through my travels and on social media I am able to connect with anglers from across the globe on a daily basis to share the love of the outdoors. While I will say that it has been primarily men that enjoy the sport, there are more and more women taking interest. Hearing about Prima was exciting for me because I feel that although I have been very lucky to be introduced to fishing by friends, some don’t have the opportunities as I have. I look forward to a growing population of female anglers and hunters and uniting together to remove the intimidation of trying something new and having the support from one another to get involved!
The market for female gear is slowly starting to provide us with more practical options, but I still hear the response ‘there is no market for women’. I know that us ladies at Prima can certainly prove otherwise and I look forward to the change and getting to know you all!
Ashley Rae is a 29-year-old female angler from Ontario, Canada. Ashley is a Writer, TV Show Host, Blogger, Seminar Speaker, and year-round Fishing Enthusiast. She fishes through the elements in her boat, by kayak, from shore, on the ice, or on the fly. Follow her adventures at SheLovesToFish.com<http://SheLovesToFish.com>