Words by Smiley Team
A ladies-only fishing group is inviting women to enjoy more time in the outdoors for their wellbeing and to learn a new skill.
Angling Trust have partnered with a female angler, Emma Jenks, on a diversity and inclusivity campaign involving her community group called 'Girls Gone Fishing’.
Emma founded the group to help women improve their wellbeing together in the north-west of England through fishing, something that worked for her in the past.
“I got into fishing a few years back when I was in an abusive relationship, it was my escape from reality, it was a way for me to practise mindfulness, wellness and taking a step back," says Emma.
“For me, fishing is more than 'just fishing', competing or the love of learning new techniques. I currently live with complex PTSD, anxiety and depression, and my main form of support to help me with this illness is to go fishing. Honestly – it’s been my lifeline when I struggle with my mental health. Angling was always – and still is – a way to “escape” for my own wellbeing."
Emma ended up getting into the competitive side of fishing, and after lockdown decided to form a group for women to match once a month.
She set up Girls Gone Fishing to organise matches across different fishing venues, open to any women. “I wanted to allow other girls in the area to meet other lady anglers, to create an environment where we can learn and develop our skills, and I can offer group or one to one coaching," she tells Smiley News.
"I’m learning a lot as we go along, and I am always keen to hear the other girls' feedback in the hope to improve the group.
"So far, we have almost 50 girls of all ages in our group, and about 10 – 15 are taking part in the matches which is great. In time I hope to offer coaching and social events to our members to develop confidence which may inspire them to take part in one of our matches.”
Now Emma has partnered with Angling Trust who are running inclusive fishing campaigns to encourage diversity and accessibility across the sport (or hobby), she hopes to expand Girls Gone Fishing across the country.
Angling Trust are hosting ‘Get Fishing’ events up and down the country, which cost very little or are even free to attend, and are accessible to anyone wishing to try fishing, with equipment provided.
In time, Emma hopes that there can be a women’s fishing hub in each region, offering free use of equipment for all disciplines of angling, so that anybody can give fishing a go for the first time.
“Fishing provides benefits to our wellbeing, being immersed in nature is a great opportunity to practice mindfulness and grounding, but also a great way to learn about our environment and biodiversity, there is a lot more to fishing than just fishing, that is why I love it so much," she says.
“I’d love nothing more than for everyone to have given fishing a go at some point in their lifetime.”
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