BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - If you ask just about anybody you run into fishing off the bank, most of them will tell you their early introductions to the activity came from family.
“My mom used to fish a lot and had a pond at my grandma’s, and I used to spend hours and hours harassing fish there,” said Courtney Duhe.
Shirley Jones says she grew up fishing with her father. She recalls sitting for long hours on a bank and then watching him clean the fish for dinner.
“He was a fisherman and I was just always there watching him,” Jones said.
Most pick up the skills just by watching. You get a rod, throw it in the water, and pull out a fish.
“You need some patience, but other than that everything can be learned,” said Heather David, Biologist Manager for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
While just about anybody can do it, fishing in Louisiana is a male dominated activity.
“A lot of times women are relying on whomever they’re with to help them tie a new knot if their hook falls off or bait the hook for themselves,” said David. “We’re just showing them it’s not super hard.”
In an effort to inspire more woman fish, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is teaching ladies how to be self-sufficient.
About a dozen women came to the Women’s Fishing Workshop at Waddill Wildlife Refuge in Baton Rouge to learn what it takes to fish. Ladies learned how to properly tie a knot, set up rods and reels and clean fish.
Currently, more men buy a license than women. “We may not have a drop-in license sales with women, but we still aren’t getting the same women purchasing over and over,” said David.
David says there are roughly 700,000 license holders in the state. Approximately 25 percent of those holders are women. She says when it comes to people renewing their license to fish, there’s a 50 percent churn rate for women. Comparatively, there is a 35 percent churn rate for men.
Jones, a participant at the event, said she decided to attend the training session because she’s looking forward to retirement in a few years and she needs a hobby. She’s ready to learn the ins and outs of fishing, and for her, it’s also about passing on skills to her grandkids.
“I’m just making sure they know that you can always go fishing and put a meal on the table of your family,” said Jones.
That seems to be the mindset for several of the ladies who attended.
“If I ever have to live off the land, I think I’d be able to if it came down to it,” said Laura Hollier, a participant.
“One of the great things about fishing is that its people of all different ages. You immediately have this thing in common and form this bond,” said David.
Whatever the motivation, the LA Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries wants women to dial into and get better acquainted with the water.
The next Women’s Fishing Workshop will be in Pineville on May 18. Click here for registration information.
LDWF will host another Women’s Fishing Workshop in Baton Rouge in Spring 2020.
If you’d like to purchase a recreational fishing license, click here.