The Case of the Disappearing Women

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A few years ago I interviewed a female angler who seemed fairly legit. She wasn’t yet competitive at the Costa or Opens level, but she wasn’t far off. She had her own boat, a few local sponsors, and seemed to be doing things “the right way.” I recently needed a quote or three from someone from her region, and figured I’d utilize her knowledge again.

My email got returned as undeliverable.

Her last social media post was in late 2016.

I googled her and couldn’t find her name in any more recent tournament results.

There might be very personal reasons for this disappearing act, but it seems to be pretty common among female anglers. I’m not talking about the “bikini babes” who show up for a while on Facebook, wearing revealing clothing and fishing for compliments more than fishing for basses. I understand the various reasons that group typically fades away. Rather, I’m talking about the ones who truly seem to enjoy their time on the water, want to learn, and take baby-sized or reasonable steps to work their way up the ladder. Just off the top of my head I can think of seven or eight who have either disappeared, or who from a perusal of their social media accounts it seems they no longer fish.

Why is that?

I can understand that there may be “biological imperatives” that may change a female angler’s priorities. I also assume that in some circumstances they don’t have the structural support within their local fishing community to keep them encouraged about their progress. Those two reasons can’t explain all of them, can they?

Maybe there are just as many guys who drop off the face of the earth before their expected expiration date, but I don’t think so. Admittedly, I’m basing this belief on anecdotal evidence, but it just seems that women tend to vamoose much more frequently….and once they do, they don’t come back. If that is indeed the case, it is a problem for the sport. Just a few years ago, it seemed that we were within sight of a woman or two making the Elite Series. Now, while we still have quite a few talented female anglers around, it seems like the overall picture indicates that we’ve taken a step backward. What, if anything, can we do to reverse this trend?