Women on the Water

Introducing your wife to fishing and spending quality time together on the water can really bring the two of you closer, providing every couple with marital bliss. However we all know how temperamental women can get so it’s best you follow these simple guidelines to ensure you don’t get whacked across the head with a scrub brush…some chicks are crazy like that.


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You're the only one to blame when your wife starts out-fishing you Photo: Boone Oughterson

Consider A Different First-Grade Teacher
This may be a hard pill to swallow but the truth is you may not be the best person to teach your better half the basics. In most cases, women are much more likely to accept instruction and constructive criticism from someone other than their own husband. Call on a friend or hire a professional guide to get her started. As long as the individual is knowledgeable in tackle and technique she will still be learning the same basic principles and you can pick up where they left off.

We’re hardwired differently from day one. That being said, opposite sexes can compromise and enjoy spending quality time together.

Start Slowly
Dragging your wife on an overnighter to the Dry Tortugas or on a nighttime swordfish trip in five-foot seas aboard your buddy’s 28 ft. center-console with no enclosed head or place to escape the elements are not the best choices for an introductory fishing trip. Instead, a half-day outing to the backcountry or a flat somewhere within sight of land is a much better idea. After she gets comfortable with the environment and learns how to deal with the limitations that come along with boating then you can expand her horizons.

Keep It Simple
Don’t overwhelm her with heavy, cumbersome tackle that she’ll barely be able to handle. Let me tell you in advance that she’ll likely feel uncomfortable using complicated casting or lever drag reels and won’t fully enjoy the experience if she’s dealing with backlashes all day. Instead, a lightweight graphite or composite spinning outfit is the best choice.

Get The Gear
Polarized sunglasses, comfortable footwear and lightweight, breathable moisture wicking apparel in her size, can make a big difference in comfort level when fishing in Florida’s humidity. The better she looks and feels about herself the better she’ll feel about the entire experience and the greater the odds she’ll want to spend more time outdoors. Many women are intimidated and believe every female on the water is rocking a killer body and skimpy bikini. You and I know that isn’t the case.

Be Firm, But Don’t Yell
Provide firm instruction and direction but remember that she is just getting started. Also, never bark commands. Rather explain why you want her to do something a certain way and explain the benefits and rewards that come along with proper rigging and fish-fighting techniques.

Praise Her, Don’t Scold Her
Women need encouragement, all of them, all of the time. It’s like a drug and they constantly need a fix. Do yourself a favor and praise her for what she is doing right (i.e., her casting form or knot-tying ability). Avoid shouting and screaming at all costs. If you raise your voice or use a frustrating tone, you’re sleeping on the couch pal!

Equality Goes A Long Way
When in the company of your fishing buddies, NEVER speak to your wife as if she was a child. Treat her like one of the guys so she feels equal and comfortable, just remember to save the chest bumping and foul language for a different day.

Don’t Push It
Married men with experience know that unless diamonds are involved somewhere in the equation, it’s nearly impossible to convince a stubborn woman to do anything she doesn’t want to do. If she wants to take a break from the action to soak up some sun then encourage her to do so. She’ll pick up a rod again when she’s ready to, and not a moment sooner.

You’ve seen the best-selling book, Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus. Nothing can be more true. Males and females of all ages think differently, act differently and clearly have different priorities. We’re hardwired differently from day one. That being said, opposite sexes can compromise and enjoy spending quality time together. I’ll be the first to admit, some of the best experiences I’ve ever had on the water have been with my wife and when she’s not there for the big catch, she’s the first person to hear the details. On the flip side, if you want absolutely nothing to do with your wife on the water, then you may want to ask yourself why you put a ring on her finger in the first place.

Skill Supercedes Size
With the correct tackle and technique, female anglers can successfully fight and land any size or species of fish. It all comes down to form and function, and utilizing the appropriate tackle and gear for the task at hand. After your wife masters the basics, don’t be afraid to present her with larger challenges. With bigger water and bigger fish come bigger rewards and before you know it, she’ll be the one dragging you to Bass Pro Shops. Plus, any boat salesman worth his weight in salt will tell you, “The wife makes the final decision.”