Ladies Get Hooked on Fishing

Chelsea DiAntonio is a wildlife refuge specialist at Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey

Chelsea DiAntonio is a wildlife refuge specialist at Wallkill National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey

June is National Get Outdoors Month. Today we hear from wildlife refuge specialist Chelsea DiAntonio about a program that encourages women to get outdoors and teaches them how to fish. Read how the program inspired one woman to want to learn even more.

Make some room on that bass boat fellas because Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, in partnership with the National Wild Turkey Federation, has inspired several women to dive into the sport of fishing!

Wildlife refuge specialist Chelsea DiAntonio (far right), and a few of the participants take a quick break from fishing for a photo op. Photo credit: NWTF

Wildlife refuge specialist Chelsea DiAntonio (far right), and a few of the participants take a quick break from fishing for a photo op. Photo credit: NWTF

This spring the refuge hosted its first ever Women in the Outdoors Fishing Event to introduce women to freshwater fishing. Participants were provided fishing poles, lures, and bait, along with instruction on how to tie knots, bait a hook, and cast a spinning reel. The event also took place on New Jersey’s Free Fishing Day which allowed the women to enjoy the day fishing without requiring them to purchase a license beforehand. But, after all of the fun and fish caught that day, these women may decide to invest in a license after all!

 Federal wildlife officer, Mike McMenamin, introduces the ladies to casting by practicing with a bobber on land. Photo credit: NWTF

Federal wildlife officer, Mike McMenamin, introduces the ladies to casting by practicing with a bobber on land. Photo credit: NWTF

The art of fishing seemed to come naturally after the first couple of casts. Largemouth bass and a few crappie were among the catches of the day. What’s also great is that now these women know of a perfect fishing spot to come back to!

The feeling at the end of the day was one of excitement and accomplishment. We received great feedback and were encouraged to develop more outdoor activities for women at the refuge.  One participant wrote to us in a follow up email: “I wanted to thank you for such a great event, it was really empowering…now I also would like to go hunting.  The experience was simply wonderful.”

Cristina and Patty show off the catch of the day! Photo credit: NWTF

Cristina and Patty show off the catch of the day! Photo credit: NWTF

The goal of the partnership between the refuge and the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Women in the Outdoors Program is to encourage women to try something new and build friendships while doing it. We will look forward to future events!

 

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