Do you ever feel that there is one place no matter what you can go and not be judged? That you can be who you are and its ok?
For me thats what it’s like when I’m in the wilderness hiking, camping or fishing. Surrounded by tall pines, flowing wide open rivers or crystal clear sparkling lakes, the cry of a loon or a howl of a wolf on the wind. Yes, I have wonderful friends and family who don’t judge, and accept me as I am, for who I am; but when it comes to society? I don’t fit in. Female anglers often have an unfair label put on them. A Google search brings up beautiful young ladies in bikinis or short shorts. Here I am, far from body beautiful, I’m 5’7″ and well insulated for northern Ontario, and heck for 6 months out of the year we are wearing parkas. Most/many female angler programs are geared to the southern part of Ontario, or across Canada, and finding like minded ladies has been a difficult task in my district. I’m thankful to both Ontario Women Anglers and Great Canadian Female Anglers for being online and being a great resource for the past year and a half.
Recently I found two fishing forums. Both of them made to promote fishing, one for a region, the other Canada wide. The regional one (set for northern Ontario) I will admit would turn any potential angler away from the sport, filled with internet trolls the members attack each other for simple mistakes and misunderstandings. Internet shaming is found in multiple threads daily. The other, country wide, Canadian Fishing Network accepts every angler from new to old and provides tips, hints, and a sense of camaraderie that is found only among friends. I have watched this group grow in the last couple months and I have watched the founders go out of their way to try to get to know as many members as they can on the page. They share their knowledge, their jokes and their passion with all 4000+ individuals on the page. They make it a welcomed environment no matter who you are.
Much like the forest I turn to as my escape away from social expectations of who I’m supposed to be or how I’m supposed to look, I find that CFN is a safe haven that those with a passion can turn to.