Stepping into the Stream is not just about women fly fishing. Intrinsically, it is about women connecting with nature and a deeper part of themselves. It’s about our being willing to take risks to learn something new that will allow us to commune with rivers and wildlife. It’s about finding an adventure all our own, and relishing it.
Fishing with my dad
My father loved fishing. He used to take me fishing on the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) lakes when I was young, and it was the time I felt really connected with him. He would bait my hook with worms or soft dough, and we would sit for hours by the lake with our bobbers bouncing up and down on the mesmerizing water. I don’t remember if I ever caught a fish, but I do remember loving to be beside him on the lake. Good time for thinking. Sometimes I think of him when I am out there at the end of the day and am reeling in a fish that I caught all by myself. I know he would take some joy in seeing this.
How I learned to fly fish
I discovered the sport of fly fishing very late in life, in my 50’s, after I had finished raising my children and my teaching career was winding to a close. Because this was not an interest that I could share with my family, I searched out a women’s fly fishing club to find mutual companionship in learning this new sport. I have never thought of myself as an “outdoors woman,” even though I have been an avid skier since my 30’s. Now that I have been in this sport for 15 years, I have discovered that there had always been a part of me that had been crying out for a closer connection to nature, a part that yearned for crisp foggy mornings on a river, and quiet evenings on quiet streams.
Women fly fishing clubs
One of the women in my fishing club suggested that women who join our fishing club later in life, and stick with it, are usually going through some kind of transition. As I got to know more women in the club, I found that to be so. Some women had lost their husbands through death or divorce, some women were experiencing the “empty nest,” and still others had finally found the time to do something for themselves. All told, it is a hearty group of women who love travel, a good glass of wine, and meaningful conversations by the fire after fishing. Also, some of the women in my club are even older than I am, and I have found some wonderful role models who are still fishing while in their late 80’s.
What I learned from making this film
This film is everything I have ever thought, felt, dreamed about, with regard to women fly fishing. It represents all my experiences, my frustrations and my joys in this sport. My Buddhist-leaning friends ask me why I don’t feel bad about hurting the fish. I guess I have somehow made peace with that in myself. I try not to harm the fish, I release them, and I am respectful of their environment. My belief is that if fishing is a vehicle for me to enter nature and become more mindful of preserving the places where I fish, then how can that be a bad thing? I made this film because I wanted to share with other people the joys of this sport. My hope is that maybe some other women will take confidence from this film and find the courage in themselves to try something new.