The Lady Angler—Thoughts from Female Fly Fishing Guide Molly Mix
Posted on 08 June 2021
Why a Girl from Texas Feels Right at Home on the River
It’s not every parent’s dream for their precious child to grow up and become a fishing guide. Or is it? Either way, for this girl from a West Texas oil patch, it was the last career path anyone back home could’ve dreamed that I’d take. At least I married well.
There is a constant when I meet first-time guests in the morning—the surprise. I still look forward to (admittedly in slight anticipation) catching that brief yet exposing look on my client’s face when they’re greeted with, “This is your fishing guide, Molly.” Taking it all in stride I offer my firmest southern handshake and smile knowing that, “You’re about to have a ton of fun.”
Granted, the general public’s surprise at the existence of female fishing guides isn’t shocking in itself. Aside from fellow TC guide Shannon Outing and shop gal London Krapff, who tear it up on a regular basis, we lady anglers are relatively few and far between. This phenomenon never ceases to amaze me given the natural beauty surrounding so many trout streams as well as the general tranquility of the sport. Then there’s the ample supply of men that frequent fly shops, their generally genuine interest in offering bits of wisdom and free float trips to girls seeming even remotely interested in the sport, and the promise of complimentary après fishing beers. What’s not to love?
The Fun of Guiding as a Woman
From a guide’s perspective, I’ve never been made to feel inferior or incompetent on the river by being a girl. In fact, I reckon I’m spared a good bit of the foul moods, bad sportsmanship and general crudeness and rudeness that my male co-workers are so often privy to in their day-to-day fishing excursions. Would you have the audacity to curse loudly at a miserable 8” trout in front of your own daughter? I’d hope not! In fact, many times my new acquaintance will ask a question regarding those who fish and, uncertain of the politically correct term, say something like, “So, it’s not everyday you encounter women…fishermeennn..???”, in hopes that I’ll jump in and offer a title which might not offend me. Don’t worry, I’m just a fisherman.
Other times, fish nestled firmly in a net—and lots of them—are the clear purpose from that initial handshake. And this can be quite a bit of fun as well. As much as I enjoy admiring the scenery of my “office” while my client enjoys a casual fishing outing, setting out with the purposefulness of a competitive angler is in the heart of so many who fish, and I am no exception.
It has been interesting, though, witnessing certain varieties of people as they discover the joys and dramas of a day on the river. I’ve become certain that you can establish quite a bit about a person by the way they hook, land and handle a fish. For good or for bad, for better or worse.
Who Wants to Work in an Office Anyway?
However surprising the source of my current pay checks, I’d argue that spending my days on the river is about the most rewarding a “daily grind” could be. And I’m always learning. Not just about the fishing—we might all agree that’s something of a life pursuit—but also about the ups and downs of being a fishing guide. That your car will always smell like waders, the skin on your hands and neck will eventually argue 20 years onto your actual age and there’s no way I’d be allowed into most social circles with a closetful of men’s Patagonia shirts.
Then again, I’m convinced that Coors Light is a perfectly acceptable meal replacement, and it is pretty fun swapping up-to-date fishing reports every morning, evening, and lunch break with some of the most talented anglers in Colorado. And then there’s the look on someone’s face when they hook into their first fish.
Because, young or old, that’s got to be the best part of the job.
Molly Mix, Taylor Creek Guide