Gender Equity and Fly Fishing

Few co-ed sports or activities exist free of sexual tension. If social scientists are correct in their assertion that humans dwell on sex, in some form, six to 10 times an hour, few co-educational activities escape this human tendency for mischief, miscommunication and wanton reveries of the mind. Fly-fishing, on the other hand, is as pure and tension-free as one can imagine. An increasing number of women are joining the ranks of fishermen, creating such gender free words as fly fishers and just plain fishers.

Any fly fisherman worth his salt will confirm the intense concentration one must possess with a well-presented fly on or under the water. This rapt attention precludes any possibility of conjuring a sexual image or a dalliance of the mind. If you have reached your 50s and wear trifocals like I do, you will confirm my assertion that a day on the water casting precludes any chance for the mind to wander, even if you are surrounded by a bevy of beauties from a famous modeling agency in New York.
A number of years ago I was hired to join about five other guides to guide a number of models from a famous New York agency who were guests on a rather exclusive ranch in western Montana.

We were told that only a couple of them had ever fished, but all of them wanted a float fishing trip rather than a scenic float trip. We chuckled and joked about the daunting challenge of instructing the nuances of fly-fishing to pampered models, models who most likely had not had an outdoor adventure in years. After checking over miscellaneous equipment, we waited for our cover-girl clients. Leaning against the rafts and drift boats, the guides started reminiscing about celebrities and movie stars they had guided. I remember being quite surprised with the list. Finally, the models arrived. We were shocked. In moments each of the guides had regained his composure. We promptly went to work preparing our assigned beauty with both equipment and advice.

Proclaimed as some of the most beautiful women in the world, they presented themselves. They were strikingly plain-looking. Perhaps it was a joke, I thought to myself. Uncombed hair, no mascara, and zinc oxide in place of lipstick, these cover-page women further disguised themselves in old shirts and pants that I wouldn't have bothered to save for a fiberglass boat project. They joined us for a day of float fishing on Montana's famous Rock Creek. Gender issues slipped into the curling foam on the backwater eddy, as we slipped our crafts into the current and began our search for sipping rainbows. Floppy hats, bulky vests, ballooning waders and polarized sunglasses keep men and women focused on life's second-greatest pleasure.

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