How to get your girl on the river… {10 Tips to get her Hooked on Fly Fishing}

Okay boys, listen up. This one’s for you.

Ya’ll keep emailing me asking how to get your ladies to appreciate your love of fly fishing, and how to get her to love it like you do.

Short answer. She may never love it. She may never appreciate your love of it. She may be un-hookable. Like that fish that taunts you… the one you can never land. But there might be hope. I’m here to help.

This girl was me. Years ago, I would have never thought I would be obsessed with fly fishing. I would have bet money on it. Matt would always take me out on the raft and I would just sunbathe, eat sunflower seeds, and cast a few times just to shut him up. True story.

Then, his persistence paid off. Somehow, someway… it finally hit me.ย  My husband and his stubbornness… finally used for good. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So here are some tips for you guys out there. Get to work, be persistent, and do what I tell you… and you may be able to pull this off.

Also… 50% of the time, I may have no clue what I am talking about… so feel free to help and add your own tips in the comments section.

Top ten ways to get your girl hooked on fly fishing:

10. Start off small. Go somewhere close & start with a couple hours. None of this 6am to 9pm sh*t. She will be ruined. You want enough time to be able to teach her a few things, but do not give her time to be frustrated, get bored, or want to quit. Short and sweet here fellas.

9. Make sure the sun is shining. Check the weather, kids. Most girls are not big fans of being cold. We get grumpy, we don’t want to move, and all we can think about is cuddling up with you on a couch by the fire watching our favorite girly movie while you sit there, rub our feet, and pretend you like it. This will change with time, don’t worry. The more she loves fishing, the more okay she will be with fishing in colder weather. Because who cares how cold you are when you have a 26 inch rainbow trout in your hands?

8. Floating is better for the first time. If you have a boat, or can get one, do it. We are girls, we like to be pampered. Row for us, show us your muscles. Know what I’m saying? Don’t make her work too hard the very first time or she might just hate it forever. I know. Girls. Relax… she’ll learn to appreciate hiking and wade fishing later. Hopefully.

7. Buy her cute stuff. Seriously. Go shopping with her. Show her how excited you are to fish with her. Help her pick out a new hat, or a cute new jacket to wear. Don’t buy her ugly polarized glasses, let her pick out cute ones herself… then she will actually wear them. The cuter she feels, the happier she will be. Plus, we just get happier when you let us buy stuff… or better yet, when you buy it for us.

6. Tell her that her ass looks amazing in those waders. Because we all know they don’t. Waders suck for girls. We don’t feel cute. I hated them so much for so long, and I still don’t really love them, but Matt tells me that my butt looks amazing in waders, and I pretend he is telling the truth. Then I shake my butt and do a little happy dance and I’m all good.

5. Bring extra stuff, and double check.ย Another great trait that lots of us ladies share? We forget everything. We don’t know what we need when we fish. Her cute new jacket? She left it in the garage while she was yelling at you for waking her up so early. Her glasses she just spent hours picking out? On the coffee table. Round it up for her. Double check that she has everything. Then bring more.

4. Encourage her. A lot. It gets me motivated when Matt tells me I am casting like a champ. “Good Job!!” and “Yeah, girl!!” goes a long way. Make her feel like she’s not the big dummy she feels like. When she gets her fly caught in that tree for the 27th time… don’t make fun of her. Then move her away from that tree, you idiot. Don’t ever quit with the encouragement. We need it.

3. Don’t force them to fish the whole time. Let her bring a book, even if it’s that 50 shades of grey garbage. Bring her snacks, we love snacks. Let her watch you and be ever so impressed by your smooth casting skills. If she wants to take a break, let her.

2. Be patient. I don’t really have to explain this one. Just don’t be a dick.

1. Never give up. Never. Like I said, it took me years to appreciate fly fishing, then a few more years to really like it, then another year to LOVE it. She has to want it for herself. Just make it a fun experience for her. Teach her things in a kind way, make her feel good, make it a fun adventure, and keep at it.

After all this, when she finally likes it… save up for a trip. Take her somewhere awesome to fish. Matt took me to Alaska, and it changed everything. Seriously, it was amazing. I wasn’t even that excited to go, then I teared up coming home because I didn’t want to leave. Alaska, BC, Bahamas, Costa Rica, Mexico… there are so many options! Either surprise her and have it all paid for so she can’t say no, or plan it all out together because some girls hate surprises.

Hope this helps you boys get your girls out there with you.

You’re welcome, gentlemen. ๐Ÿ™‚

xoxo- T

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50 thoughts on “How to get your girl on the river… {10 Tips to get her Hooked on Fly Fishing}

  1. I am not a guy trying to get a girl to go fishing. Nor does my guy want me to get into fishing but I think this is just plain good advice for boys in general! You are so talented Tracy and everything you touch seems to turn to gold.

  2. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones whose wife (before we got married) said she wanted to learn to fly fish. Easy as pie except she doesn’t except criticism or instruction well, so I shipped her off to a fly fishing class and let her yell at the instructor instead of me.

  3. Great tips! So true that they need a little soft pampering and patients from us…
    My wife is on her way, looking forward to the coming season! She managed to get her first grayling on a dry fly last year, so she’s the one wanting to go! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Pingback: How to get your girl on the river… {10 Tips to get her Hooked on Fly Fishing} | Black Trout River

  5. I’ll have to try some of these. The hardest for me is going to be the patience part. I actually got my wife to go to a casting clinic Orvis was putting on. She actually smiled a few times. I think I will get a guide one day for the both of us. Someone else telling her what to do will go a lot farther than me doing it.

  6. BTW, that last pic look kind of funny. It looks like Matt is kind of elbowing you out of the pic. Like “get out of the way, I want people to think I caught this thing.”

  7. My wife and I just read this and laughed like hell. We relate to every single one of your points. One suggestion to add is to bring the kids. Kids = dogs. All girls love to go fishing with their babies. Love, Laugh, and Fish.

  8. Oh my gosh I LOVE THIS! My husband and I love to go fishing, but I haven’t gotten him to love the fly rod like I do! All of these suggestions are perfect even for the lady who loves to fish- and for the record, I too know my butt looks ridiculous in my waders!!!

  9. My wife is now an avid flyfisher and steelheader but she isn’t addicted like I am so when it is cold and rainy (hello it is called winter steelhead) she is often reluctant to go. Starting later when it warms up a little helps vs wanting to be on the water at 6am. It still beats not going fishing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    A few other tips/suggestions based on experience….

    1. Don’t buy her crap gear. Either pull out one of your good extra rods or buy her something decent not the $50 crap from Walmart. If you won’t fish it why should she? As a surprise, I got her a nice Echo rod and reel to use at a women’s fly casting class. Had the guide give it to her as a surprise when she got to the water. Even though I sent her with my rod, she was excited to have her own gear. The gal teaching the class said I was the first guy who ever did that for one of her classes.

    2. Hire a guide. Seriously. Go out with a guide and have him/her show your girl how to fish. My wife likes to learn on her own and when I try to help or show her stuff she gets pissed or we argue. Most guides are pretty patient and she may take their advice. Plus the odds of putting her on fish go up. I was so excited when she landed her first steelhead, I think more than she was. I kept talking about it on the drive home but she wasn’t as nearly as stoked. Maybe I am a steelhead addict, she isn’t addicted yet.

    3. Communicate. I’m still working on this one but she’s still learning to read the water and several times just as we drift into a nice run she puts down her rod to eat a snack or take a break. Then I’d get upset because she didn’t fish the run. It took several arguments before it donned on me this is my fault. I need to to tell her in advance when the next good drift is coming so she can be ready. Also if she doesn’t hit the seam, still compliment her cast and say nice cast but next pass throw another few feet to the left.

    4. Be prepared to end early. I will fish until dark but when the weather isn’t nice she gets cold and sometimes wants to go home early. Take the hint and call it a day. Granted this is tough when drifting a river but I have just rowed us down and finished a few hours early.

    5. Bring snacks. You’d be surprised how much this helps. If she has a thermos of hot tea and a bunch of snacks were good. Course now I too have gotten used to those 10a snack breaks on the water. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. What ever you do, mash the barb on that fly before you let a beginner cast with it. My wife was doing awesome the first time she started flinging around a fly rod. Everything was great until one last overpowered false cast…. BAM size 8 hook to the inside butt cheek. Luckily the barb was mashed and the fly just popped out. My wife is a trooper and continued fishing even after the little accident, but I am sure the situation would have been much different if we had to swing by the hospital, or do a riverside hook extraction.

  11. Communicate and Snacks, or a decadent riverside lunch, my wife loves that! Wine or Margaritas never hurt. We kept our early trips short and ‘in the sun’ so we could have fun and simply get our waders wet. Loved this!! Thank you and look forward to more.
    Tight Lines,
    Koz
    True North Trout

  12. Pingback: Women in Fly Fishing: Tracy Moore

  13. Sweetheart this is the best article I’ve read, and sweetly funny too! My husband constantly nags me to go fly fishing w/him, and we live in Alaska. We went on a chartered trip, guides, lodging, it was perfect! I caught my first 28lb fish (don’t remember what it was, thinking Silver Salmon), but he still found this article! Wants me to keep going with him, I am content to have let him see that if I wanted to I could do anything. After 10 yrs of marriage he still doesn’t get that, but you know. men. right! Great pics, great article, and very true!

  14. For many, learning to fly fish is like learning to drive (on a standard tranny). It is better done with someone you are not realted to, at least the first few times out. So yes, hire a guide and make sure they go somewhere where they are pretty sure to hook up. Doesn’t matter if they are trout, suckers, or whitefish – your SO won’t care! Jut critical that they get addicted to that little rush of adrenaline first.

  15. Thanks for writing this, Tracy. My adult daughter (now 24) looks forward to our fishing trips each year. (We’ll be fishing for silvers and other species in Alaska this coming summer.) Before I met my wife, she had vowed to “never marry a fisherman.” She’s now an avid angler. We all enjoy shooting, too – something else my wife never thought she’d be into. I frequently get the question/envious comment from other guys along the lines of, “How did you luck out…”
    Someone says “hire a guide.’ Well, maybe. I’d say BE the guide. When my dad taught my sister and me to fish, he’d take his rod, cast it out into an unproductive piece of water, and barely touch it again till we went home an hour or two later. To get us off on the right foot, his focus was on us.
    Good food, hot or cold drinks, the right gear, the right clothing (and absolutely, waders, vests, and a cute hat. tailored for a woman!), good knots, good location, patience, knowing when it’s time to reel in and go home… If you’re really going to teach someone to fish, ALL this and more is on your shoulders.
    Keep the fishing itself simple at first, and consider keeping a few fish – responsibly harvested – for a special celebratory meal – which you, as the guide, will cook and for which you will have the perfect bottle of wine selected.
    Having already caught thousands and thousands of fish of every description, it has to not matter if you catch any more on these early outings. What matters is that your guest/friend/lover/wife/daughter catches fish – and has a good time doing so.
    One final suggestion. My wife took private fly casting lessons as we were getting into this. And when my daughter was in her teens, we attended an Orvis school together. It didn’t matter that I didn’t need the lessons. We had a great time doing the school together and spent the next few days on the Deschutes. For both my wife and my daughter, the lessons greatly increased their comfort level and confidence. It was money well spent.

    • Here, here on the ‘you be the guide’ recommendation, and that goes for anyone your trying to recruit into fishing. Try to limit the advice to only two or three points then shut up and enjoy the fact that you’re standing in a river/boat with someone you want to be with. That’s the whole goal anyway, isn’t it?

  16. I think I could get my lady out on the river or in a float tube easily enough, my big question is, how do I get her to touch the fish to unhook it herself?!?!?

  17. Love the article ! I was 54 when I married the best Fly Fisher in Minnesota. It took the first Spring to get me hooked. 10 years now, through all kinds of weather, upon and in all kinds of water, enjoying all the beauty of nature, learning to tie flies, and “perfecting” (still) my cast, I am so looking forward to this year! This has been/is the best couples sport ! I Highly recommend giving it a go! Only drawback – Learning to “go” in wild

  18. Forgot to mention – we are coming to Montana to fish (Missoula & Ennis) end of June/first week in July. Any suggestions?

  19. I’m coming at this from a little different perspective. That of a 61 year old. Gotta say though, loved every bit of it and sent it on to my fly fishing hubby. His classic line is that I have to make a fashion statement as I’m fishing and he’s so right.

  20. Pick a pretty dayโ€ฆ.in a pretty placeโ€ฆwith a few willing fish. Reinforcement is good. Chocolate isn’t bad either.

  21. Tracy,
    A lot of these tips work great with your daughters, as well, (I’m not too sure about the “your ass looks great in those waders” part, though). I’ve been trying to get my now 14 year old daughter to fly fish with me for a long time and she is now ready to hit the streams of Colorado with me this summer. I’m really looking forward to passing on to the next generation of Trout Preservationists the importance of clean water and the joys of fly fishing. Thank you for your tips. Some of them I had not thought of, like bring snacks. Another tip to add: Don’t forget the IPOD! Keep up the good work.

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