She Fisherwoman Part Deux
She Fisherwoman Part Deux
Fish Gut Friday … Suzanne Martin
If a “hen frigate ” was any ship carrying a Captains wife, then a “She Captain ” is a bold women distinguished for courageous enterprise in the history of the sea. ~ from the book “She Captains”
This week is a part two of stories I have collected from some of the most involved women I could think of in the fishing community. In our small area of lower DE , we have two successful bait shops, owned and run by women, just an interesting fact. While interviewing different women , I found out some feel a women’s division in tournaments is nice to be recognized , but should be a men’s and/or women’s division or just all together. ” I have to brave Cape Henlopen in the thick of summer. I work during the week, and want fish on the weekends . After all, is that not what a surf tag is for? I have seen it all …almost. I have been tangled with the guy who is not watching his rod ,and assumed because I was a women, I was not fishing. I have been told how to park, how to cast, how to reel, and on a few occasions where to go. There is a guy that walks Cape regularly, he tells me I “cast like a girl”, I always tell him ” thank you, maybe you should try it sometime”. I rarely let those things get to me. I have been on the point in Dec, and had a ranger tell me they are closing the point access early and I would have to drive to Navy crossing to get off the beach. I play the ” I am scared to drive that far” card. His response ” ma’am, I see this Jeep on the beach and you fishing almost year around, I highly doubt you are scared to drive that far” Okay, I was busted. I might have even cut a few lines, and I was taught by some of the best in that trade( you know who you are)!! The man in my life has to be ok with being “out fished “.( And you know who you are also) I just want to fish,relax,enjoy nature, friends, and going home stinky from fish slime is just a bonus . Fishing addiction is only a problem if you are trying to quit”~ Suzanne
“As far back as I can remember, I have fished with my Dad and two older brothers, Kent and Carson. Kent always took me out in the country wading in creeks and under covered bridges and Carson took me thirty miles out from Lewes on his boat. I will never forget the seventies for many reasons (haha) but for fishing, we used to roll back in with coolers full of sea trout, blues, stripers and flounder. Carson always knew where to go. He departed this life in 1997, my Daddy in 1998 and Kent moved to Vermont years ago. With no one left to fish with, I ventured out onto the IRI rocks and with lots diligence, got pretty good at catching tautog. Next thing you know I was entering the surf-fishing tournaments without a clue as to what I was doing! Still learning, but have come a long way and love it out there! One more note, I’ll be the first to admit that once in a while I cross someone’s line. It happens. I never cut any man’s line, but there were guys who, even if they had crossed my line, they would cut my line so fast, and I was pretty sure it was because I am female and that was surely rude. Some of them were really quite surprised when I pulled in twenty stripers one day on a little white fly I tied on a number four hook. I was grinning from ear to ear! I appreciate more than anyone knows, the locals (you know who you are), who have helped me along the way with pointers and surf-casting. Thanks so much and always ready to humbly learn more from y’all!~ BTW, my big striper catching day was long lining at the rail, IRI.”~Deb Stoneman Mcghee ”
I currently work in an industry where you have to everyday prove yourself. Everyday you have to be tougher then the guy before you or the guy standing next to you. That you are not on a boat to wear a bikini and look pretty. That you belong here just as much as they do. However the difference is it’s a job for some, for me yes it feeds my family but it’s also heaven out there, I definitely get land sick sometimes. I grew up fishing with my dad just like many others, got on the boat right after school on Friday and didn’t come back to land till Sunday. My grandfather was a boat builder, my uncle and cousins are crabbers in Crisfield (started helping to fish up when I was five) My dad was a recreational angler, and a boat builder along with having crane business. He was rebuilding his dream boat when he passed, he had a bucket list of fish to catch and he couldn’t wait to have my brother and I out there. At that point I’d only known the bay, my dad had a bucket list of fish for the ocean. My brother and I started competing against each other on who could catch dads fish first. I beat my brother on that years ago but it wasn’t about that. We always felt that he was right there with us. Every time I got on a boat I asked the mate or captain to teach me, knowledge was priceless! One of the captains mates didn’t show up one time and I begged for the chance I showed him what I could do and told him I’d work hard and learn whatever he would teach me.
I have now worked as a mate for that same captain for five years commercially fishing, running charters sometimes and tournaments along with handful of other captains and boats and get sub contracted out. I am a single mom of two girls one in college and one in diapers so you can imagine the bills I have and I support myself and them one hundred percent. I also work in a custom rod and tackle shop on down time. We were the first all women’s team in the White Marlin Open and would like to build the team more to compete in all the tournaments. I would like to build up the alliance to educate women on how to fish themselves, how to tie up the boat, what is the emergency channel, and how to deal with emergency situations out there, etc. there’s something about the beauty out there and fighting fish that gives women the confidence to tackle anything. It would be great to empower women to do that in everyday life through fishing whether it be cancer, illness or abuse or low self esteem or whatever. The courage to do it and keep fighting.”~ Shannon Ehinger
I want to thank Deb Wiechardt, Mandie Stadler, Captain Amy Conroy, Deb Stonemean McGhee, Shannon Ehinger , Anastasia Bove , Corby Fulton, and a few other fisher folks that gave me input on this subject. I admire all of you, and am thankful for the privileged to have fished with all of you at some point in my life. I think women that fish are magical , they all got into the world of fishing for one reason or another. Whatever brought them there , they found who they are in the process .One can rock a bikini, or wear heels ,(let alone walk in them, I will take boots and waders thank you) but the most attractive accessory a women can wear is confidence. Male or female, we should all have a passion in our lives,some are even lucky enough to make it their work. A place we can let our hair down ,be outside by the water, and be free. This is what fishing is for so many, myself included. Think Spring , the only good place for ice and salt is in a margarita !