Women are incredible anglers and guides. I am not writing today to convince the few remaining skeptics; read a book, watch the news, or hire Hilary Hutcheson for a day of whitewater fly fishing. This is a story, or more like an ode, dedicated to the incredible woman who I not only get to call friends, but also fishing partners. You remember those incredible female anglers I mentioned previously? My friends and I aren’t those. Not because we don’t have the aptitude, but simply because we would rather throw dance parties on the banks of rivers, dream up silly themes for dinner parties, or ditch the hatch for the nearby bbq restaurant than hone in our angling technique.
For most of my life I mistakenly believed that beauty was measured by a scale, that being polite meant being silent, that other women were competition, that marriage meant you had made it, that female sexuality was shameful and should be kept secret, that any sort of respect was earned from impeccable perfection, and that since the day I was born and everyone yelled, “its a girl,” I never really had a chance.
The biggest factor in confronting and debunking my internalized misogyny was fly fishing. Traveling from river to river, casting a bundle of feathers and foam, and every now and then feeling that trout tug, I learned that happiness and fulfillment comes in many forms. For the first time in my life, I began to question the status quo. And cast by cast, I realized that my womanhood was not a flaw; it was an honor. I realized that being a woman means anything I want it to mean.
Just the other day Olivia, Amber, Valérie and I went fishing. We exchanged our lucky flies, held hands as we stumbled over slick rocks, offered casting tips and mending tricks, and after a few hours of absolutely no fish, and without one single word spoken, we all knew it was time for bbq. We didn’t catch any fish and we didn’t care; we had fun and that was plenty. Not every woman is blessed with biological sisters; I was lucky enough to be granted one. That said, I believe all women share a common bond. A bond that transcends race and religion, that doesn’t recognize national borders or socioeconomic status, and that doesn’t buy into societal woman-against-woman propaganda. Audre Lorde said it best, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”
So I leave you with this: Love is nothing like flies or fish, love is limitless— that’s the best thing about it. When we share love with our sisters it comes right back. Happy International Women’s Day!
Article by Gloria Goñi, a content creator based in Bozeman, Montana. Check her out on Instagram at @lapescadora.