Ladyfisher
Outdoor Writers Association of America
This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

July 10th, 2000

Where Did It Come From?



I've told this story to those who have asked me personally, but since most of you don't have that opportunity (or maybe don't think it's the proper thing to ask) here's the answer.

Maybe I should tell you the question first. Where did I get my nickname of LadyFisher?

I've always loved the water and apparently had an avid interest in fish as well. My folks tell a story of a two or three-year old child who walked out into the water of Lake Huron trying to get her hands on the minnows swimming near the shore. She eventually was rescued by her grandfather when she walked in over her head still trying to catch up with the minnows. I'm told I learned very early in life I couldn't walk on water.

When I started fishing as a very small child, first grade is where my fishing memories start, it was with my folks, sitting on the break wall in Ludington Michigan. That's on Lake Michigan, and we were bait fishing for perch.

Later as a young teenager, there really weren't other girls fishing, either spin or fly. So when I would show up the guys would say something to the effect of, "That girl's here again." I got to know most of the guys over time, and was always treated well. With some degree of respect as well since I could usually out-fish them.

When I married, it was "That woman is here again." And when I carried my first child to the stream in a big wicker laundry basket, with a home-made mosquito net covering her, it was "That lady is here again with her baby!" Motherhood and age apparently had some effect on the perception.

During those years I was writing for a couple of Trout Unlimited newspapers, and regional TU newsletters. The name I wrote under was The Barbless Hooker. That had to do with my belief in barbless hooks. It was a neat name at the time, a bit politically incorrect these days.

My friend Peter Van Gytenbeek once commented he thought the name inappropriate since I was full of barbs, not barbless at all.

Eventually, the "lady" moniker became LadyFisher. I suspect that had to do with age and perhaps with my fishing ability. It was the name I wrote under for Scripps/Howard newspapers. The Queen has not proclaimed me officially "Lady," so I guess I will go the rest of my days with it being just a nick name.

I'm grateful someone didn't stick me with a less flattering name. ~ LadyFisher

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