Long Island Anglers: Women In Fishing - The Fisherman

Long Island Anglers: Women In Fishing

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Jackie Barba shows off a keeper fluke she caught in the shallows of the Great South Bay in the end of September. A Matt Broderick Photo.

Inspirational words from women who fish on why they fish.

In the age of social media, there is this wonderful thing called analytics that allows the owner of a profile to see the demographics of how the public interacts with their content. This includes areas, countries, ages, and one that maybe stands out the most, gender. Based on The Fisherman Magazine’s Instagram account, 91.4 percent of its followers are male, while 8.5 percent are female. This graph is skewed in one direction, and while maybe it was not much of a shock, being that fishing has been notoriously a male-dominated activity through the years, it still struck something inside of me to do something about this, hence this feature.

GET INVOLVED
One great way to get your start in the fishing community is just to get involved! Throughout the winter months several shows, events and flea markets take place on the island and in the Metro area that showcase tackle, seminars, fishing clubs and organizations. Attending one of these events and seeing what it’s all about as well as potentially joining a club is a great way to get your foot in the door and surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Keep an eye on our calendar of events in the front or the magazine or on our website by going to thefisherman.com/events.

Quick story; years ago, before I was born, my mother was home while my dad was working. She grew fond of fishing rather quickly after being with my dad for some time since he was an avid fisherman himself. On this particular day, my dad was working; she wanted to fish, and without my dad, she headed to Mt. Sinai Harbor with a setup and picked up a few dozen green crabs along the way at Ralphs Fishing Station. After a short while of fishing, she caught an impressive blackfish of 9 pounds from the shore (I still haven’t broken that family record) and brought it home. This was quite the feat for anyone who is limited in fishing knowledge to just go out and do that. I found it rather inspiring. But that’s just one story of inspiration when it comes to women fishing.

Thinking back to stories like this led me to ask some female anglers around Long Island for words about why they started fishing and what they love about it to inspire other women to take up fishing as well and bring some more balance to the currently skewed chart.

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This graph clearly displays the skewed data when it comes to women versus men fishing.

Jacqueline Molina (Co-Founder of Long Island Babes & Bucks)

I started fishing when I was in my twenties. I did not grow up fishing or hunting, but I always appreciated the outdoors, so naturally, I would have liked fishing too. Once I started, I was hooked! I mostly did fluke fishing in Smithtown bay. As time went on, I challenged myself to try fishing for new species—my favorite species to fish for are tuna, fluke, blackfish, and threshers. Blowfish and mahi are fun to catch too!

My favorite part about fishing is that where we live on long island, we can do it almost anywhere at any time. Saltwater fishing is a huge part of my life and who I am. I couldn’t imagine my life without it. I’ve made many friends along my fishing journey and learned much from many skilled anglers. Escaping on the water with no phone service is a fantastic feeling you would only understand if you’ve done it.

If I could give anyone advice for those interested in learning how to fish but are intimidated or scared to—just do it! Go into your local tackle shop, and they will be more than willing to help you get set up with what you need to target the fish you’re looking for. Everyone started somewhere. You just have to get out there and try!

Kate Pizzarelli

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My mom got me into fishing from a very young age. She would take me snapper fishing since I was a little kid right off my grandmother’s dock in her backyard in Peconic Bay and take me to the Shinnecock Canal to fish with a simple bobber setup. I’ve cultivated an extreme passion for fishing in my adult life by getting out with my boyfriend on his boat. For us, it’s truly a way to spend time together on the weekends and for me to learn new things from a seasoned angler.

I’m drawn to fishing because it’s my time to get away from real life and just be able to focus on the thump of the fish hitting the hook. While I’m on the water, nothing else matters except catching fish and the experience of it all. Also, I can witness the various marine life we have in our waters and the natural beauty of our surroundings. Long island is a beautiful place and especially out on the water. If you haven’t experienced it, I suggest taking the time and checking it out for yourself.

Samantha Viniotis

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I didn’t grow up fishing. It wasn’t until I started dating my husband that he introduced me to this exciting, challenging, rewarding, and sometimes frustrating sport. I am fascinated by the hunt and how it can play tricks on your mind. Reeling in fish on light tackle, no matter the size, they feel like whales, and it’s exhilarating. This has to be one of my favorite methods for going after them.

My husband showed me this joy I hadn’t known and then took it one step further by showing me how to build rods. I have discovered a passion for rod building through our business, Knot Your Rods & Plastics LLC. I can share that passion with many fishermen outside our circle of friends. Watching the pure joy as someone catches their personal best with a rod we manufactured never gets old. I am the first to say I love my life, and I am so happy our daughter is growing up knowing how to fish.

Rachel Oberhausen

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Fishing is an experience unlike any other. It allows you to disconnect—from everything going on in the world, stress at work, bills that need to be paid, and responsibilities you need to tackle when you get home, and yet it allows you to connect to nature and yourself all at the same time—to hear the waves crash, smelling the salty air, seeing the birds diving, or feeling the sun beating down on you.

There’s a certain peace from the repetition of casting, sitting with your thoughts, that can only be one-upped by the adrenaline rush that kicks in, the pure joy as a fish bites your hook, the drag pulls, and the fight to outsmart the fish (without injuring it) commences. The feeling of landing that fish, the one you’ve tirelessly jigged for, spent endless nights scouting for, it’s euphoric.

It’s a beautiful dance between fish and fisherman that one can only relate to once they’ve experienced it. And the best part, no matter how experienced you are or how many fish you’ve caught, there’s always something you can learn, always something you can do to better your technique.

I’m grateful to have been introduced to various fishing—offshore, inshore, flats fishing, bottom fishing, surfcasting, and I have many salty souls to thank for dragging me along for the ride—from friends to family to groups online, there are so many opportunities to connect to this incredible community if you choose to.

Alyssa Sussman

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When I was a young girl, around the age of five, I got my start in the sport I like to call fishing. My grandfather was the person who first inspired me and helped me gain my immense love for the activity I do to this day. I was essentially his “right-hand man” when he would take me fishing at the ponds. He was the person who taught me just about everything I know today. I cannot put the correct words together to thank him for teaching me and being my motivation for what I’ve done and continue to do in the sport.

One of my fondest memories was when my mom told me about the striper grandpa caught, and it just so happened that the next day I went out fishing and caught a striper too, following in his footsteps. When he passed away, I continued my love for fishing and carried his passion for fishing with me daily. My grandfather is the reason that I am where I am today. Every day when I am out on the water, either working deck, captain, or just fishing, I always look at the sky, say a little prayer to my grandfather, and thank him for inspiring me to do what I do now. Whether it was a great day with lots of fish or a not-so-good day, I know my grandfather is right next to me every time I am on the water. Fishing will always be in my blood and be my passion, and it’s all thanks to him.

Heather Lucus

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I started this sport at a very young age because my parents were both big into fishing and scuba diving. The older I got I took the sport into my own hands and started going on my own and learning my own techniques and strategies. Of course, my dad taught me his ways of fishing offshore and what to look for while surfcasting, which lure to use in certain weather and conditions. But I learned a lot on my own by just doing it!

There’s no better feeling than having a plan come together and catching. Some days you catch, and some you don’t, and those are the days that just push you to keep going and try harder and harder as the season progresses. Here on Long Island, we have a decent variety of species, and when you go out, you never know what you’ll end up catching, which is an enticing part of fishing.

Some people call me crazy for wanting to get up at three in the morning to go fishing, but nothing beats those Long Island sunrises and that early morning bass bite. This sport can sometimes be frustrating, but nothing can stop me from fishing; it’s a massive part of my life and who I am.

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