Harmony on the Water

Tiffany Risch talks about the therapeutic relationship between women and nature through fishing.

What drew me to fishing

My parents/grandparents took me fishing as a child. My Paw-Paw (mom’s dad) was by far my favorite person in the world. He spent a lot of time helping my character develop into the person I am today. In 2014, he passed away holding my hand in hospice. It was the worst experience of my life watching him leave this earth.

During my grieving time, I knew I needed to find a way to cope with the rollercoaster of emotions I was feeling. I went back to the pond my Paw-Paw lost a giant bass in.  (all thanks to my young inexperienced self grabbing the line) Reflecting, listening and soaking up the sunshine in that spot helped me deal with the loss. I found peace by the water knowing he was no longer in pain and although I could not hear him, I felt his spirit everytime I casted. Long story short, he gave me the nickname Snookie in 1988. So I branded my name in his honor. Now, everytime I hear “hey snookie” I think of him. 

Fishing connects women to the natural world

I find solo fishing on my kayak to be the most peaceful when I listen to musical sounds the wind makes when it glides past my lines. When you allow the wind to guide your kayak and you let go of all your thoughts, it is a surreal feeling. That is when I feel the closest to nature. When natures natural music lowers my blood pressure, calming my nerves and reassuring me that all life has purpose! 

I catch myself all the time doing things in my personal life that proactively prevent issues that could harm the bay or even my local farm lands because of the actions I have witnessed while out fishing. Fishing has opened my eyes to see the importance of conservation and how something as simple as makeup could impact a fishery. (Guanine is used in makeup and cleaning products that is extracted from crushed fish scales) At home, I find myself cutting up plastic bottle holders (the 6-pack plastic rounds) before throwing away my trash because I do not want the sea turtle, ducks ect… injured. 

 I consider myself an old-school angler because I use the “reading the land” method more than I use electronics. To find bait balls you need to look for bird activity or watch the wind patterns. That alone connects my mind to nature and how every ecosystem is intertwined. 

Fishing as a form of therapy or stress relief

I have said it many times before, FISHING SAVED MY LIFE. Whenever my heart rate spikes from stress, I find being by the water helps calm my blood pressure. Being on or near the water is therapeutic because I am reminded that I am a small piece of a giant world. That sense of belonging is powerful. The environment sensory allows my mind to relax, reflect and respect the situations I go through in my personal life. 

Many times I have felt like life’s curveballs were to much to handle. Whether it was the death of a family member, a loss of a job or even just my own medical scares, I know fishing is always there to give me a safe space to let out all that negativity. 

The community aspect of fishing

I strongly believe that fishing with other women brings a sense of community. When you are on the water, time flys. You can schedule a luncheon with a stranger or a girlfriend and have conversation. Based on my experience, that conversation you have on the boat with another lady angler is deeper and more meaningful thanks to the sensory & sounds nature provides. 

Many times I have used social media to report news in my personal life and recieved calls from other lady anglers offering support. Fishing doesn’t discrimnate, it brings people together. 

Mindfulness and presence

When I am out on the boat I like to absorb my surroundings knowing nature can turn my frown upside down. I allow it to be a place I can chat with my Paw-Paw, talk to God or even just ramble out all the things that are bothering me because I don’t want to stress my friends and family. Hey, I know the ducks hear me. They often quack, laughing at the dumb stuff I complain about. 

I like to set the rod down and listen to the wind sing through my lines. Sometimes I will stop fishing just to sit and feel the sunshine on my face while I stretch my muscles. I focus my attention on the different sensorys. The smell of honeysuckle up on the bank or the sound of families enjoying a summer day on the water. I often dip my toes in the water and put my hands up on the long haul back to the boat ramp just so I can feel the wind. It’s like I am flying but I am perfectly still in time. Those are the best trips! 


The best advice I can provide is to put yourself in nature. If you are already fishing and struggling to find that inner peace during your outings, change your routine. Drop your expectations, don’t put pressure on yourself to catch fish and just take a ride on the boat. Allow nature to relax your body while your mind processes your surroundings. To connect with nature, sometimes you have to be apart of it. To do so, take the time to feel the sun on your back, the wind in your hair and the water running through your fingertips. If that doesn’t work, give me a call and I will help you kick off that deeper connection. 

Some connections can be made by volunteering in nature. A river clean up is a great way to make friends, learn about conservation and connect with your outdoor community. If you are a mom, try taking your kids out fishing. The innocence in a childs reaction to the sport can be quiet joyful. Kids have been known to pick up on the little things we often dont notice or don’t appreciate. Like a dragonfly landing on your fishing pole.