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Jan Spencer:  

Jan Spencer


HOW TIMES ARE CHANGING

I have trout fished as long as I can remember. My Uncle Bert would take me by the hand and we would go down to the Liffey River which ran through my father?s property. My, how those 40 years have flown!

Around 20 something years ago I fell into the flyfishing phenomenon and became totally hooked, not only on flyfishing but tying as well. Back then it was difficult, to say the least, for a woman. Not being able to join the local club because I was of the fairer sex didn?t make the learning process any easier. How I could contribute now! Dame Juliana Berners must have been a very headstrong lady, just like the flyfishing ?fraternity? has made me! It hurt when the flyfishers I admired were planning a fishing trip and I wasn?t invited. How my learning apprenticeship could have been shortened! I was determined to succeed, so much so that for the first four years of my flyfishing career I wore two pairs of waders out a season, wearing the soles clean out of them from walking the many streams & lake shores. I worked hard on my flyfishing, but it certainly has had its benefits. I have represented Australia twice. I have fished for large Russian browns, caught fish in the famous River Test, and helicoptered into some of New Zealand?s very remote mountain country, just to name a few of my adventures. But none of the above excite me more than my local rivers here in Tasmania or backpacking trip into our mountain lakes. Mentioning this brings back a couple of laughable memories. On having a conversation with one of my elders about Tasmania?s remote mountain country and how the weather can change so quickly, where it can snow, blow a gale, rain and sunshine all in a morning?s fishing. His advice to me was that it?s a MAN?S country: no place for a woman. Well, I have survived this far, having fished that country in its worst elements, carrying heavy packs long distances. It?s not the bad weather one tends to remember but the good days when the breeze is slight, the sun high and the polaroiding for the large browns is at its best. The second instance was in that very same country. I was walking on my own, coming across two fellow anglers, and we had quite a conversation on the day?s fishing which had been quite good to me. It just got too much for the older of the two fishers and he asked ?where is your man?? I replied ?he?s home at work?. I went on my merry way leaving them both a little lost for words.

Flyfishing in recent years has come into its own and women are mostly welcome. I think the ladies who are into saltwater flyfishing seem to have their foot firmly in the door. There seems to still be an air of conservatism in freshwater flyfishing circles, although it is getting better. Women are being accepted more. I hope I have contributed to this as I have certainly worked for it all to happen. I know it sounds as though I am really having a go at my male counterparts. I suppose I am, but nevertheless, men would have to be the best thing the good Lord put on this earth. I just love?em. What I am trying to say is come on ladies, you too can fish. Be there and enjoy. The fishing, flytying and everything associated with the sport can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will have in life.

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