Veteran Green Top pro staff angler Christie Bradley thrives on competition and opposition. Earning the esteemed position as the highest finishing female angler in a top level “men’s” Bassmaster tournament, Christie encourages and educates women and young girls on fishing’s benefits. “I’ve been examining what is it about me that makes me enter into male dominated stuff, like working in cyber security. I like challenging myself.”
RBFF research indicates that women who fish are happier and healthier than those who don’t. Christie says fishing encourages confidence. “It’s a snowball effect. As you master skills, you want to learn the next thing and you’re more confident and proud of what you’ve learned and you share it, a sense of accomplishment and that feeds the desire to continue to perfect other skills.”
As female participation in fishing hits record levels, nearly half don’t feel respected by the angling community. Christie, pro staffer for Pure Fishing, Mare Marine, and Ranger Boats, says women complain about being underrepresented. “It’s our own fault. If we can’t put aside excuses, we can’t blame the industry for lack of support for us…companies are seeking us to represent their brand if we’re good representatives. We shoot ourselves in the foot, damaging our own brand when complaining. We have more opportunities than men, but women are so preoccupied with reasons why they can’t succeed.”
When the Women’s Bassmaster Tour ended, Christie entered “men’s” tournaments. “I jumped at the chance to take advantage of the Opens, time to step my game up, competing against the guys, surrounding myself with better competition to make me better.” RBFF reports women who fish have greater perseverance and aren’t likely to let setbacks discourage them. Almost half of women say fishing teaches them patience and develops confidence. Christie summarizes. “A difference for a man and woman in fishing is accepting boat challenges. You need to handle adversity when you have a breakdown on the water, self-confidence helps you handle it.” Confidence in one life aspect can spill over to another. “Fishing is just accepting another challenge.”
The RBFF campaign inspires more females to try this life-enhancing activity. Christie says, “The outdoors continues to be where I’m able to absolutely focus, and to shut out all other things.” Troubleshooting the fishing puzzle is exhilarating and alone time helps center her, reducing stress levels as she thinks through things. Studies indicate women who fish have higher self-esteem and a clear mind.
Take Me Fishing‘s 2023 campaign confronts barriers and inspires women to challenge themselves to try something new to find their best self while supporting a more inclusive fishing and boating environment. Christie says if a girl shows any interest in fishing, make it a priority to take her out. “I’m willing to help any girl to shift from only taking the boys fishing and hunting…if you see a spark, chase it down.”
Inspire women to try fishing and boating, visit takemefishing.org/find-your-best-self.
Author Capt. Steve Chaconas is Potomac bass fishing guide & freelance writer. Potomac River reports: www,nationalbass.com. YouTube video channel NationalBassGuide.