On a Mission–High time women who fish are taken more seriously
Fifty-fifty. That’s what Holly Jones would like to see when she looks around as she stands in a Litchfield County river and gently casts a fly upon the water.
The fifty-fifty regards the breakdown between men and women fisherpeople. And Jones, an angler since she was a child, is trying to do something about evening up the odds. She posts regularly about her fishing exploits on social media,“The fact that 18 percent of those that follow me are women is pretty good and shows there is an interest out there.”
“Orvis has an initiative they call 50-50,” said the 29-year-old Warren resident. “It’s a movement established to get more women into fly fishing and fishing in general. Fishing, as well as hunting, is still very much dominated by males. Even the clothing companies sell for women are mostly downsized male apparel in pink. We have different bodies and need our own outdoors apparel to feel comfortable.”
If Jones sounds like something of a feminist she’s fine with that opinion and doesn’t back off her stance that women be treated as equals in the outdoors. “Being a female angler, sometimes people overstep how they treat me. I was on a trip with a guide and I was being treated like a little girl when I landed a fish. The mentality that I somehow need help because I’m a woman spills over sometimes in the sport.”
We might note that another Litchfield County woman, Andrea Nivolo, is making a name for herself in fishing circles and was featured in this magazine earlier this year.
Jones said it is high time women who fish are taken more seriously. “We aren’t all bikini models when we are on the water and we deserve respect for being able to fish well. I like to say for women, we have to think less skin and more fun when it comes to fishing.”
Nobody has to help Jones with anything when she is fly fishing, which she has done since the age of 14. She frequents rivers, such as the Housatonic and Farmington. She’s saltwater fly fished for striped bass in Rhode Island, and other salt water species in Mexico, the Florida Keys, and Bahamas, and for trout in rivers in Scotland and England.
Jones, who is married to Evan Tufts with the couple renovating an 18th century Colonial homein Warren, is a brand ambassador for XOTIC, maker of apparel and fishing gear. She also designs and sells decals and stickers related to fishing on Etsy.com—her mother Amanda Jones, an artist, helps out.
Jones isn’t merely making a statement with her fishing. She genuinely loves being on, or in, the water trying to lure a fish to hit an artificial fly. “I love the peace and serenity fly fishing provides me. There’s something about being on the water, casting a fly just right so as to lure a fish to hit it, and then landing a fish. It’s something I can do all by myself and it is empowering.”
Jones is making inroads in her quest for the 50-50 goal, although it is a slow process that will take a sea of change in attitudes toward the sport by both men and women. “There are times when I believe I am making a difference. I have had some great interactions with both men and women and that is encouraging. I’ve always been a positive, supportive person and that has gotten me through various ups and downs in my life. That comes across in my social media posts.“
If you want to keep up with her, follow #HollyJonesFishing on Instagram, TikTok, and visit her Facebook site—Holly Jones Fishing. Perhaps you will be sufficiently inspired to lay a line on the water and find that peace Jones discovers anew every time she casts a line.