On the hook with Rachel Gooden

Women can excel in fishing and break stereotypes in this traditionally male-dominated sport.

Introduction to Fishing

As a little girl, my mom would always take me to our county’s fishing rodeo, which was held once a year for the kids in our community. All the kids fished out of two ponds that the TWRA stocked ahead of time with catfish.

At age 11, I won the fishing rodeo, beating all the boys in my age group and many others who were older than me. To be a girl and beat all the boys at what was normally considered a boys’ sport was the best feeling ever! I’ve been hooked ever since!

Experiences and Challenges

From personal experience, it never ceases to amaze me the number of looks I get from men who are surprised to see a woman back a boat trailer down a fishing ramp. Anyone can do it, and me being a woman isn’t any different than a man doing it; it just takes practice!

For any woman that’s intimidated by having to back a boat trailer, whether it’s your own, your boyfriend’s, or your grandad’s, that’s a normal feeling, and everyone experiences it at some point. Try to practice in the driveway at home, and you’ll be a pro in no time!

A challenge most women have is not having the confidence to try fishing in the first place. I feel like since they have never fished before, they think they can’t do it, but they can. They just need the courage to try, and once they do, they might love it, just as I do!

Support Systems

My biggest supporter for my entire life has been my mom, who also fishes and taught me how as a child. She’s always told me that a woman can do anything a man can do; they may not do as much but can definitely do a little. She’s 59, has her own boat, and loves going fishing. I can only hope to be as good of an angler as she is one day!

Due to the internet and social media, you’re able to find other women who like and are interested in the same things (fishing, hunting, etc.), and I think that’s helped a lot of women make friends and build connections with other like-minded women who have the same hobbies and interests.

I love that most people and companies are embracing women in the outdoors industry, and I hope that only continues to go up from here!

Representation and Visibility

I feel like a few years ago, women weren’t represented in the media like they are now. As more and more women are represented, the more normal it will become.

Even in the small community that I live in, there are more and more women who have their own boats and are able to unload, fish, and load back up without having to have a man there to help. When I see women who can do it all, like my own mother, it gives me confidence to know that I can also!

There aren’t many standout women with great accomplishments, like winning the big tournaments, but I feel like that’s soon to change!

The media is starting to represent women more and more, but it’s going to take a woman or some women with major accomplishments to draw the media’s attention. As more women participate, more women will be recognized and represented.

Advice for Aspiring Female Anglers

Just do it! Get a fishing pole, whatever you’re most comfortable with, and go fishing! You’ll never know if you’re going to like it or not until you try it. Once you reel in a 2-3 pounder, you’ll be hooked for life!

Find someone in your family or a close family friend that has a boat and ask to go. Ask them to take you fishing and to teach you what they know. I’m sure they would love to have the company and be more than happy to teach you a thing or two.

For the girly girls: It’s okay to put your makeup on before going fishing; I put mine on every day! Wear the cute outfit, throw a cute hat on, take all the pictures, and embrace being a female that likes fishing. At the end of the day, we’re still women, and just because we like fishing, that won’t change!

Women can do anything men can do, and that includes catching big fish!

You can follow Rachel on Instagram: @rachelfgooden_