I hope the fly shops owners, and tackle manufacturers of the world
don't buy into the drivel about how they should be targeting women
as the huge untapped market. If you didn't read this
column last time, you will be lost - so go back and read
The Spin, Part 1.
There have been some interesting comments on the
Bulletin Board regarding "The Spin."
The bottom line for me, and I suspect many other women who fish is
we don't want any special treatment. Sure we need equipment, gear,
clothing just like the fellows, and personally I've never had a problem
finding anything I wanted or needed. Most of the fishing women I know
are as gung-ho as the guys. And in most cases lack of knowledge is
entirely related to the length of time they have been fishing - not lack of interest.
Put bluntly, women who want to fly fish do it! And do I have to say they do
it because they love it?
So I find the advice of Lyla Foggia, (same
article in Fly Tackle Dealer as last week) as to who
the manufacturers and fly shops should be targeting as the ideal
candidate for fly fishing asinine.
So here again, quoting directly is the interviewer
for FTD and Foggia. I have tried not to take things out of context,
but have edited for length and relevance.
"FDT: Why do you think it's important to approach women in a
different way from the way you approach men? After all, it is fly-fishing any way
you cut it, isn't it"
"Foggia: Well, for one thing, women don't fish for the same
reasons as men. There was a study done by Mark Damian Duda
that brought that out: Women fish for recreation and to enjoy the
outdoors and family [ Fishing Motivational Study for 1995,
available through the American Sportsfishing Association]. Catching
big fish was the least of their reasons for fishing. It was completely the
opposite with men.
But in fly-fishing, there are a lot of upscale women who have money
to spend, who are career executives, business consultants, etc., who
are looking for some kind of relief from all the stress. They want to do
something outdoors. And fly-fishing has a great image and it's attracting
women. But these women are so busy with their careers and their families,
they are not going to sit around reading the magazines; they are not going
to go to fishing show; they're not going to steep themselves in this culture
the way men do. So you are going to have to reach them through alternative
routes. They don't hang out in fly shops; fishing is something that they
really want to do, but they don't want to make it a big part of their lives
in terms of reading about it and studying it."
"FTD: Are you saying that women don't, as a rule,
get into it as intensively as men?"
"Foggia: Oh, they get into it intensively, but it's while they're on
the water that they'll be intense about it. They don't sit around plotting
their next purchase or all this other stuff. I think they're more likely
to acquire great gear, take good advice and go fishing when they can.
But it's not like a lot of men I'm around who just live and breathe fly-fishing.
Women don't have time, or they don't want to make time, to be sitting
around reading about some technique. They'll spend the money to get
a guide or get instruction, and on flying out for a fancy vacation to fish.
But in between all that they're really not part of the fly-fishing culture."
"FTD: So this does present some unique market problems."
"Foggia: You've got it. You've got to get outside
the envelope on this one."
"FTD: How do you do that?"
"Foggia: . . . I'm constantly being reminded of how many men really
would love to have their women with them. I don't know why. I mean,
this thing about going fishing with the guys apparently has gotten old or
something. But they really want to share it with the women."
"Foggia: Consider this: The women I see coming
into fly-fishing are very successful in the rest of their lives. They have
money to spend. And they are the type of consumers this sport needs.
We're not talking lower-middle class here; we are talking about women
who on their own are making $75,000 and more, many of them. And
they, to me, are worth pursuing. They may not fish as often, but these
are women who - and I used to live this lifestyle - think nothing of
spending $1,000 on a designer outfit, $200 on a handbag or a briefcase,
and drive the latest-model luxury car. They've got the money. So if you
can get them emotionally involved in fly-fishing, they're going to transfer
some of those spending habits. They're going to think nothing of
spending $600 to $800 on a rod."
"Foggia: . . . Before we finish, by the way, I should add that if we can
get more women into the sport, a lot of them would get seriously involved
in resource conversation. That's just our tendency."
There it is. Lyla Foggia's perfect vision of a woman
fly fisher. A vision being spoon-fed to the manufacturers and fly shops.
Maybe I should quit now.
~ Deanna Birkholm
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