Members Stories

9th November, 2009 - Posted by Lucy - 3 Comments

Read all about how FFE Club members got into fishing, what they enjoy most about it and how you can do it too!

BethBeth’s Story

“Living in the mid-west of the USA leaves you half-way between Disneyland and Disneyworld.  While many kids were enjoying the Tea Cup ride or playing in the Magic Kingdom I was doing what most of my Illinois friends were doing on summer vacation; fishing.  Fishing is really much more than just a ‘summer vacation.’  It is a spiritual way of life and a family tradition.

“My mother, father, sister and brother; along with my Aunt and Uncle and multiple cousins would check into a remote lodge and begin a week of serious fishing.  The excitement was palpable.  Not necessarily because of the fishing. But because we would get to navigate canoes through mysteriously bending rivers and lakes, and participate in evening celebratory bon fires.  I roasted marshmallows on the stripped end of long sticks and devoured sticky mouth-watering smores while listening to ‘tall tales’ of the big fish that got away.

“Don’t pull,” is the one of most memorable phrases my Uncle ever uttered (actually yelled) at me.  I cast my rod and somehow snagged his neck with my barbed fishing hook.  He deftly set down his reel and pulled the embedded hook from his neck – the fractured worm twisting and turning between his fingers.  “Cast that way” he ordered pointing his finger in the opposite direction.  Unfortunately, that was the direction I had originally been aiming.

“I found my mettle by putting a squirming worm on my own hook.  If my male cousin counter-part could manage this feat then so could I.  The two of us fished side-by-side watching our red and white bobbers float precariously on the top of the mysterious water.  Waiting in unbearable anticipation over who would get the next fish, and of course, which of us would have the biggest fish.

“My father was a taxidermist so there was always an unwritten understanding that a real trophy fish would be immortalized on a plaque with our name engraved on a brass plate.  The mount would serve as a testament to our fishing prowess – a fishing kid’s version of the “Best of Show Ribbon” – a passport to year-long bragging rights and beyond.

“Thirty-five years later and I still have my trophy fish hanging on my wall.  No, it’s not the most amazing fish you’ll ever see.  The fins are cracked from moving so many times, and it seems to get smaller with age.  But it is my heritage, and my childhood, and reminiscent of more fun and excitement than you’ll ever find at a modern-day amusement park.  Fishing is authentic as family.  It’s not a contrived theme park; its just loving families attracted to the love of a wonderful sport.”

Beth Walz

Visit Beth’s web site at

Sue’s Story

“I moved to Northumberland nearly 10 years ago. Up until that point I had never had a go at any ‘field sports’ at all. My first outing was to a Border Hunt meeting in the Borders (which was also an introduction to Sloe Gin!) After that came shooting & joining a local syndicate – this was all about five or six years ago. I love shooting & only occasionally shoot clays in the summer. The shooting season finishes on the 1st Feb & it seems a long time until the start of our next season which we normally start in November. The summer months are normally taken up with the hockey tournament season but age & knee injuries are taking its toll.

“Last year I remarried (a local farmer) who has fished all of his life. I took him to have a go on the last day of our shooting season on the understanding that he took me fishing.

“We had a belated honeymoon in June & visited some of my Czech friends in Prague. I then arranged for a trip south into Southern Bohemia (near the Austrain border). I found a local Russian fishing instructor from Prague & arranged to meet him in Csesky Krumlov. We fished for trout on the Vlatva river – superb. Hubby managed to catch some decent sized fish on a fly rod – the instructor only had a spinning rod for me to have a go with. Without knowing it or knowing what I was doing I managed to hook a trout & nearly got it as far as the bank before I realised that I’d lost it!

“When we came home- I fancied having a few lessons just in case we went on holiday & got the chance to fish again. I can’t remember how I stumbled across Fishing For Everyone but we obviously made contact and, as a result, I purchased a rod, reel etc to get me going. I am now a member of the Club Committee and feel very privileged to be part of such a great group of ladies.”

“The first trout ( that I managed to get out of the water) was a wild brown trout – it can’t have been more than 3 or 4 inches in length! I’m obviously still at the beginner stage & it was a shame that I didn’t start earlier in the season so I’m really looking forward to next season.

“I need to practice casting & trying to get the line out further (I’m now at a point where I can get it in a straight line) so I’ve been taking every opportunity to have a go….”

Jenny-with-her-first-Trout-at-Whinney-LochJenny’s Story

“My husband David and I retired to Northumberland in December 2007 from the Midlands.  David had fished before on stillwaters but I had always found it boring!

“When we realised that our new home was close to the Tweed and Whiteadder rivers we looked forward to the prospect of fly-fishing for brown trout.

“Just before we moved we had a coaching session with a STANIC instructor on his Lincolnshire lake.  He said that I would probably catch more fish than David!

“We started fishing by getting season tickets for the Whiteadder and I loved it!

“When I saw an advert for the first Fishing For Everyone Ladies Day held at Chatton Trout Fishery I leapt at the chance to learn more and I have been fishing with Fishing For Everyone ever since.

“I still regularly fish the Whiteadder and hope to expand my river fishing next season as this is my first love but, as Treasurer of the Fishing For Everyone Ladies Fishing Club I feel I am privileged to be in at the beginning of a new era in Ladies Fly Fishing.”

Lucy WLucy’s Story

“My name is Lucy Wightman, I’m 23 years-old and live in Hinkley, Leicestershire. My true hobbies are fishing and photography and my PB fish is a17lb Common Carp, caught at Lichgate Fisheries in Stoke Golding.

“Fishing has always been in my blood. My Father used to take me carp fishing from a young age and we would go all around Leicestershire. Unfortunately I was that young it’s all abit vague, but till this day I still and will always enjoy catching fish of all sizes and species.

“My favourite fishery is Hyham Lane in Leicestershire where, as a teenager I used to go  there with all the lads from school. I used to be a true tomboy always playing football and rugby, mainly because boys wouldn’t talk about me behind my back!

“I have continued since then, I don’t often go with my father but persuaded my partner now and we go once or twice a month, mainly to a place called Makins Fishery. It’s very good for all ages, has suitable facilities such as toilets, food and 18 well-stocked lakes.

“I decided to set up Fishing Women to create a sort of hub for female anglers. Not that I feel it is a sexist sport by any means, rather I wanted an opportunity to have a chance to talk to like minded individuals who both fish and are women. My aim for the site is to expand the community, with suggestions from other members. There is a gallery full of images that users have sent in, forum and club information. I also like to share my photos, as I am a keen photographer – I love nature shots so I am sure you’ll see some of my pictures.

“One issue I have come across is that it is quite hard to find fishing clothing for women, it will be good to exchange views and sources, but also to let manufacturers know that there is a market for such products. It would also be good to exchange our favourite fishing spots – allot of the time there are no facilities which are appropriate for women, such as toilets and it would be nice to know where is suitable, as well as the fishing opportunities out there.”

Philippa-Snaith-1Pippa’s Story

“My name is Pippa, I’m 21-years-old, a nail technician and a member of the Fishing For Everyone Ladies Fishing Club.

“Growing up at home on my parents farm, Clennell in Northumberland we run a hotel and a campsite. When at home I love to help on the farm, especially at lambing time and I have always enjoyed being outdoors.

“Being a very sporty person, I spent the majority of my childhood years away at school, playing many diverse sports from hockey to going shooting.

“When I left my prep school, Mowden, I was awarded a sport scholarship to Sedbergh senior school which is based in Cumbria in the North West of England. Here I continued doing something I really enjoyed.

“As a child I used to go fishing with my Dad to my Uncle’s pond, sometimes just to watch!  My sister, Stephanie (who is also a member of the FFE Ladies Fishing Club) and I used to go down to our local river to catch minnows with small nets and collect them in a bucket before letting them go. I would also enjoy spending time at Newton-by-the-Sea with school friends and when the tide came in we would fish from the rocks using bacon on hooks and see if we could catch anything!

“My introduction to the Fishing For Everyone Ladies Fishing Club began when my mum joined the Club in August 2009 for an outing to Sweethope Lough and asked me if I would like to go along with her to an event one weekend. Of course, I said yes!

“The first trip I attending was at Whinney Loch in September 2009. The day began with lessons on the grass on the best techniques for casting my fly rod and how to carry my rod safely, performed by fishing instructors, Rebecca and Lucy.

“After lunch we beginners were off down to the Loch for our first taster – we were all very excited! Gradually, after many tangles and hooking of trees I got the hang of casting and once I knew what I was doing, I just had to wait and see if anything took my fly!

“All across the Loch, fish were rising to the surface and at times leaping out of the water. This frustrated me and made me even more determined to try and land a fish, which I later did – a beautiful rainbow trout at 4 ½ lb!

“My whole experience at Whinney Loch with the girls from the Club was very enjoyable. Everyone is extremely helpful and friendly and I had a great time. I am looking forward to the Season starting next year… but in the meantime I can’t wait for the Club lunch held at Blackmores on the 21st November… yum yum!”

Ann’s Story

“I noticed in the local Press interesting articles about Fly Fishing and the possibilities of learning, the beauty of a good cast and the chance to learn how to make one.

“The advice available regarding tackle and the guidance on venues which Lucy Bowden offered was a challenge I felt I should take up before I was too old to try.

“I have now joined the Fishing for Everyone Ladies Fishing Club and really enjoy the variety of fishing – river, sea and so many really well equipped loughs in beautiful settings. We are a jolly lot, of all ages and from all walks of life and of variable ability. I find everyone so helpful and encouraging , especially our Club Officials but all fellow anglers are so willing to come forward with tips or commiserations… or congratulations! Then, to end the day, a cuppa and a slice of Mrs Bowden’s fabulous cakes… bliss.”

CarmelCarmelle’s Story

“I have made fishing rods since the age of seventeen years old but never really got into fishing as, at that age horses were my life.

“My uncle went sea fishing quite often so one night I went with him and caught many cod (great fun!) I would have been in my twenties then.

“When I started working at Hardy’s fishing tackle company in Alnwick, I fancied having a go at fly fishing so went along with a group of lads who I worked with and they showed me the ropes. I thoroughly enjoyed the day – it was fantastic, even though it was wet and windy!

“After that I was hooked! I have now been going fly-fishing for four years.

“I joined a little club in my hometown a few years ago but there was only one other lady who was a member. I joined the FFE Ladies Fishing Club a few months ago. It is a great way to meet other like-minded ladies who enjoy going fishing, making new friends and talking about each other’s experiences. Each event is always fun and it’s a great way to get more ladies and youngsters involved in this great sport of ours.”

Hattie TaylorHattie’s Story

“My Dad has always loved fishing from his childhood days when his father used to take him, so when my sister and I were younger whenever we used to go on a beach holiday (Devon or Cornwall most years for us!) we would go crabbing in the rock pools using lines to fish for Blennys or Gobies or whatever other little fishies were caught in the little rock pools!

“I went sea fishing once in France but it turned out I get sea sick and so I spent most of my time ill! But I still enjoyed seeing everyone on the boat catching fish.

“As  family we also used to go on nice summer days to different places. I remember we went to a place along the River Severn and we were having no luck catching Barbel (I have never caught one, despite the fact we sat time after time in a known Barbel spot where my dad and my brother had both caught big Barbel). Anyway, after hours of no fish my dad attempted to cheer us up by throwing in a Pike line even though we held out absolutely no hope of catching one! But as soon as we had thrown it in, we had one on and I caught my first Pike!

“For me it’s not the fishing but the day out that keeps me coming back for more!”