Lady Luck On Women and Fishing

by Capt. Grif Helwig

Lady Luck On Women and Fishing

As a fishing guide, much of the day is spent getting to know one’s clients while on the water.  Throughout the trip, we exchange questions with one another. “Where are you from?”; “How long have you been guiding?”; “What year is this boat?”; “Are we going to catch ANYTHING?”; “Are we taking on water?”  You know, the usual!  Many times, the question also arises about angling skill and luck.

 “I bet you have so many different types of people on your boat day to day. I could see how it might get a little frustrating when you have a novice on board.”

I reply with the usual kind and gentle answer.  “I think it’s great that people new to the sport are interested in fishing with me. I like being able to show them new places and experiences. If we catch a few fish along the way, even better!”

“Do most people end up doing well?”

“Well, yes, for the most part.  But, I'll tell you who ends up doing the best a majority of the time--the ladies.”

Captain Grif Helwig- FishMonster Magazine March/April 2017This topic comes up from time to time with fellow guides. We all seem to agree on this point. We discuss why we think women anglers seem to be luckier on the boat. In a sport where most of the participants are men, it is great when we have the chance to fish with female anglers. Whether they are skilled or experienced, the demeanor and focus of a woman on the bow is completely different.

Some think it might be the “fishing show” expectations that many male anglers have. Admittedly, those guys on the tube and the intrawebs sure do show us a lot of fish in 22 minutes. But, even a week of constant filming, can prove not to be enough good fishing to fill such a small amount of time.

On a regular day, it may take some time to find where the fish are. A lot of the guys who get on the boat are very excited and full of hope and high expectations. And trust me, most guides put in 100% effort to make a memorable day. Combining all of these emotions and variables, when it is finally time to make a clean shot at a string of tarpon, a lot can go wrong. “Buck fever” absolutely exists on a fishing flat! 

Captain Grif Helwig- FishMonster Magazine March/April 2017It seems that these factors don’t have the same effect on female anglers. Yes, the excitement is there, but the tension created by expectation isn’t as palpable. Perhaps the responsibilities of women have genuinely faded away when they are on the water. There seems to be a sense of calm--of taking in the surroundings. Where normally she may feel the need to take control of a situation because of a motherly instinct, she just lets the day unfold. It may just be a day to truly enjoy the moment. And when “the moment” occurs, and it’s time to get things done, she is ready for action.

Whether novice or experienced, female anglers take instruction from their guide very well. Personally, I can’t seem to get a woman to hear a word I have to say on land. On the boat though, every word makes sense for some reason. Whether it’s pitching a bait to 11 o’clock at 50 feet, or making sure to lift slowly and not reel against the drag, instruction is well received. 

Captain Grif Helwig- FishMonster Magazine March/April 2017Then, there is the factor of fortune. The ladies simply have better luck as anglers. A sweeping generalization? I don’t think so. I’m not one to speak in absolutes, but I’m standing fast on this one. Last year, I had a husband and wife on the boat for a bonefish trip. He was going to fish and she was “just going to read a book”.  “Yeah right,” I thought.  I was going to make sure that she got in on the action.  Well, as it turns out, there wasn’t a hell of a lot of action early in the trip. We had one shot while she finished three chapters! Finally, we started to see some more fish, but we just couldn’t quite connect with one. This is not completely abnormal with a fly rod, but no less frustrating. So, I put a shrimp on a spinning rod and made her hold it. Her husband looked back with a crooked, yet accepting, smile.  “When he misses the next one, you’re gonna catch that sommb*tch!”

She laughed, but I could tell she was secretly excited about the potential of catching one where he could not. Sure enough, a school came down to us. I swung the boat to give a good shot and she didn’t wait for him to miss. That shrimp landed eight feet in front of the approaching fish and they found it quickly. A couple of minutes later, a nice bonefish was on, being released, and she was back to reading her book. She was batting a thousand for the day and was done. One for one!

That is the same sort of scenario I see unfold when “Lady Luck” graces the skiff. So, guys, if you want success on the water, bring you better half with you on your next trip.




Capt. Grif Helwig
Capt. Grif Helwig

Author

Fish the backcountry flats and basins with Captain Grif on his 16 ft Maverick skiff or 20 ft Hewes light tackle boats. A Florida native, Grif will guide anglers of all ages and skill levels on fly and spin tackle. Call 904-699-2315 or visit kwfishcharters.com



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