The North West's first fly fishing club for women looking to hook more members

The north west's first fly fishing club for women wants more females hooked on the sport. Roger Borrell reports Photography by John Cocks

Anyone who thinks women are no match for men when it comes to fishing should ask Vera Carlson about the biggest she’s ever hooked. ‘A 450lb blue marlin caught off Costa Rica,’ she replies coolly. ‘Oh, and there was a 112lb sailfish, too.’

Add to that that the fact that the record for a salmon caught in British waters is still held by Miss Georgina Ballantine, who pulled a 64lb monster from the River Tay in 1922, and you get the message that the female of the species is probably deadlier than the male when holding a fishing rod.Former newsreader, Preston-born Fiona Armstrong, wrote recently:

‘Women are not better anglers but, unlike some of their macho counterparts, they do take advice and they do listen. They may also be more careful and thorough.’

None of which explains why so few women do it. Is it the lack of a decent loo on a riverbank, the ‘bag lady’ clothing or the hostility of men who see their hunter-gatherer role being undermined?

Whatever it is, Vera is out to change it. She has just helped to set up the North West Fly Fishers, which is the region’s first club for women who enjoy a day’s fishing followed by a barbecue and a glass of chilled wine.

They’ve just had their inaugral meeting at Cleveley Mere near Scorton.There were no blue marlin, salmon or sailfish to be had but this Rolls Royce of fisheries is packed with trout and around a dozen founding members spent the day tempting them to take the fly.

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Vera, who formerly ran the tackle shop in Kendal and has travelled the world in pursuit of fish, said: ‘The object of the club is to encourage more women to take up the sport and do away with the impression that this is a man’s world.’

Vera, who is also a casting instructor, added: ‘I absolutely love fishing. There’s nothing better than spending the day out in the fresh air.’

One of the founders is Lisa Isles, of Poulton-le-Fylde, who was the first female skipper of the England youth team and is a member of the England Ladies’ team. Vera said: ‘Men tend to use a lot of power. Some think strength is the key, but I think women do well because they are patient and gentler and they do listen to advice.’

The club will hold events across the north and if you fancy swapping your high heels for a set of waders you can call Vera on 01539 733297.

The print version of this article appeared in the August 2011 issue of Lancashire Life 

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