Moms Bring Fishing to New Generation
A message to mothers and daughters out there - fishing isn't just for the guys anymore. In increasing numbers, mothers are realizing that fishing is great fun not only for themselves, but for their family as well.
American Sportfishing Association
Statistics show that only about a third of all anglers are women, and the perception that fishing is a male-dominated sport appears to be changing. Roughly 13 million women now fish, a five percent increase from 1998 to 1999 according to the National Sporting Goods Association.
Fishing is the least discriminating sport in the world," says Kathy Magers, a 20-year professional angler. "No one is prevented from doing it. Most of all, we can still be 'ladies' and enjoy this sport."
While Magers credits her grandfather for teaching her the fishing basics, it was Magers' mother that fostered her interest and kept her committed to the sport. "Fishing was always the time that mom and I spent alone together, uninterrupted by the daily demands of life - no ringing phone, barking dogs, or meals to cook," explained Magers.
What has kept Magers involved with fishing is at the core of what has made fishing among the most popular outdoor sports for decades. The benefits of fishing are found not just in the thrill of the catch (and more often than not, the release), but also in the time spent together on the water with friends and family.
As the demands of daily life increase, many families find it difficult to keep in touch. The problem is exacerbated by an increasing number of working parents or single-parent households. For the exhausted, over-burdened family, the easiest recreational "activities" are often going to the movies or plopping down in front of the TV. Unfortunately, these
sources are not often the most appropriate influences for young people.
Heather Hoyer sees fishing as a way to help bring families together while teaching valuable life lessons to her kids. Hoyer is a 7th grade science teacher at Paris Gibson Middle School in Great Falls, Montana and a mother of two young girls. "Fishing gives us a base, a shared experience. Talking
about the importance of respecting nature and each other just comes naturally when we're out there by the water."
Hoyer believes so strongly in the power of fishing that she sponsors a fishing club in her school that utilizes the Hooked on Fishing - Not on Drugs curriculum. The award-winning curriculum is developed and administered by the non-profit Future Fisherman Foundation, the recruitment and education arm of the American Sportfishing Association. The program
provides all the basics of how and where to go fishing. In addition, while they're having fun and developing a lifelong activity, kids going through the program learn self-confidence and the importance of treating the environment, other people, and themselves with respect.
Hoyer's father, a teacher and Hooked on Fishing instructor in the small town of Trego, Montana, alerted her to the program two years ago. "Fishing has just always been a part of my family and teaching philosophy. It just seemed logical to utilize the Hooked on Fishing curriculum with my students."
This year, Hoyer signed up twenty-four students for the fishing club, seven of which are girls. "All seven girls are new to the club this year. I think we're really getting to the younger girls and catching them before they get conditioned to think fishing is somehow icky."
Hoyer has never thought fishing was anything but fun. Maybe that's because her grandmother taught her that fishing was for everyone, especially little girls. With the help of the Hooked on Fishing - Not on Drugs program, Hoyer is making sure that today's kids have the opportunity and the encouragement to become the next generation of anglers.
For more information on the Future Fisherman Foundation or the Hooked on Fishing - Not on Drugs program, visit: www.asafishing.org.
(posted May 23, 2001)