Women continue to hit the water in droves with female angler participation at 19.7 million in 2020 – an all-time high. To continue evolving the fishing and boating community into a more inclusive space, the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF)’s Take Me Fishing campaign partnered with DICK’S Sporting Goods to host a group of influencers on a two-day outdoor excursion prior to ICAST in Orlando, FL.
“We have so many common beliefs and goals when it comes to the outdoor space,” said Rachel Auslander, RBFF’s Senior Manager of Business Development. “When the opportunity to partner with DICK’S Sporting Goods came to life, we knew this was the right move to help further inclusivity in fishing and boating. We believe that the water is open to everyone, and DICK’S wanted to help advance that ideal.”
The event kicked off with a fishing and boating experience at Lake Dora and the Dora Canal in partnership with Mount Dora Boating Center & Marina before the group made their way to another location for camping and kayak fishing adventures. According to the recent Special Report on Fishing, fishing acts as a gateway activity to the outdoors, as 81% of people who try fishing also enjoy other outdoor activities like camping and kayaking.
"Partnering with Take Me Fishing on this exciting event was an easy decision for us. We know when women share their experiences it is one of the best ways to help encourage more women and people of all backgrounds to get outside and try fishing and boating," said Amy Reilly, Director of Storewide and Outdoor Marketing, DICK'S Sporting Goods. "The more we can share the stories and inspire women to participate in fishing and boating, the more we can help unlock a passion in these activities."
The face of fishing is evolving, and the influencers who joined the event are contributing to making the sport more inclusive and diverse. From seasoned and avid anglers to outdoor enthusiasts, the fleet of everyday women influencers included:
- Annie Nagel, @anniesfishtales
- Ashley Nichole Lewis, @badashoutdoors
- Cindy Nguyen, @sidtx
- Clara Ricabal, @crazyclara
- Jenny Anderson, @girlof10000lakes
- Nicole Jacobs, @nicolefishing
- Tiffany Denise Risch, @snookiefishing
- Sarah Shimanzaki, @outsidevoicespodcast
While America’s anglers are making strides in the right direction, not all women feel like they have a place on the water. RBFF launched its Women Making Waves initiative in 2018, a social media movement to increase female representation in fishing and boating. At the time of the initial launch, only about 19% of women saw themselves represented in the sport. Since then, participation continues to rise among women, youth, Hispanics, African Americans, and other key demographics, but in order to ensure the water is open to everyone, participation remains a focus.
“Fishing and boating communities provide a sense of belonging for many Americans,” said Stephanie Vatalaro, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications for RBFF. “In partnership with DICK’S Sporting Goods and this amazing group of women, we’re working to support people of all ages, genders and cultures to hit the water and elevate all voices across the outdoors community.”