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AUGUST 2015 | Wai Lin Coultas
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IN THE traditionally male dominated sport of fly fishing, women make up less than 5% of fly fishers.
This makes Karen Brooks, Owner, Director and Head Guide at Driftwater in Deloraine, an extra special woman; she loves to fly fish.
“Fly fishing takes us on a journey of discovery,” she says. “It puts us in touch with and develops a respect for nature. It is challenging yet rewarding. (It) allows us to escape from our everyday lives.”
Karen finds that this form of catching fish takes her “through a range of emotions - anticipation, expectation, frustration, determination, contemplation, disappointment and elation.”
Karen looks forward to the first Saturday in August with anticipation; that is the opening of the fly fishing season.
“The experience of being back out on the water enjoying what nature has to offer and the people that my fly fishing and guiding will put me in touch with over the coming season thrills me,” she elaborates.
These feelings are a total contrast to the emotions she experiences when the season closes on the last Sunday in April.
Karen explains, “There is a sadness, some reflection and perhaps an emptiness... but I believe it is important to respect the trout and allow them the time to run their spawning cycle without interruption.”
Karen was first bitten by the fly fishing bug 20 years ago, “Coming from an outdoor background of hiking, horse riding and surf fishing it was an easy step to immersing myself in fly fishing. Since that time my passion has grown,” she explains.
“What I enjoy about it has changed over the years. In my early days of fishing, the importance of catching a trout was paramount.”
Now Karen feels she “does not need to measure a day’s fishing by the quantity of fish caught.”
Instead, she immerses herself in “the sounds of the stream running (and the) glimpses of wildlife as they forage by the river.”
“To catch a trout is the bonus,” she adds.
This is a joy she so wishes to share as a fly fishing guide. And she is currently studying to become a Certified Casting Instructor. When she gets this certification, Karen will be “only the third woman in Australia to be certified.”
An initiative started by Karen at Driftwater, after a fly fishing trip through the USA in 2010, was to offer lessons in fly fishing to women as well as men.
“I was amazed and inspired by the number of women who fly fished, or were involved in the industry as guides or instructors,” she shares. “I decided I would like to encourage more women in Australia to fly fish.”
Driftwater opened its doors in January 2014 with fly fishing lessons tailored for women, and a lodge set up to offer a comfortable and welcoming environment.
“Women generally have the capacity to make great fly fishers,” Karen shares.
Karen’s new business caters for women who may feel more at ease with a female instructor and provides male and female guides to accompany couples who both wish to learn to fish.
Workshops can be arranged for groups of women covering all facets of this sport, including learning to cast, entomology, selecting and tying flies, reading the water and understanding the trout habitat.
For those with limitations in height and strength for wading in rivers, or restricted mobility in their later years, Driftwater has drift boats which are designed for fly fishing from a very stable and comfortable platform.
Driftwater provides a full range of gear available for their clients use.
Further information may be obtained by ringing Karen on 0408 427 767 or visit the Driftwater website at www. driftwater.com.au
[udesign_icon_font name="fa fa-camera" color="#000000"] Mike Moores