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Posted on Aug 24, 2009 in Next Cast
Pretty in Pink?

I've been editor of Sport Fishing magazine since 2001, but I've been a female angler all my life. In those many years, I have seen the industry and its angling public evolve to enfold more women, children and families. I've heard the watchdogs warn that fishing must broaden its appeal or face the imminent fade typical of traditional hook-and-bullet sports.
As a result, I've really noticed the proliferation of pink.
Pink rods, pink reels, pink shirts, pink tackle bags, pink hats, pink gloves. Yes, many of these products are produced by women-owned businesses and many also benefit breast cancer research - a vital cause that I must imagine all women gladly support. And pink is a color associated with breast-cancer charities. But must we have nothing but pink?
Personally, I avoid pink most of the time. It's not that I dislike the color; I do occasionally wear it. But I'm not the kind of woman who likes to make visual statements. Pink, especially in a fishing setting, says, "Hey, I'm FEMALE!!!"
I know some of you men and women disagree with me; many women like making statements. But I don't doubt that some of you feel the way I do. Give us green, blue, red, yellow; give us fancy thread wraps and custom painted blanks; give us iridescence. Yes, some of those colors and effects already exist in marketed products. But I know of none designed specifically for and marketed directly to women.
Unless you're a female who has fished many years, you're probably not keenly aware of how differently women fish compared with men. Those differences are based on our center of gravity, our arm strength, even our attitudes.

The author makes an unintended "non-pink" statement: Blue shirt, green shorts, gold rod and reel, redfish.
Men who want their female friends or spouses to fish - or simply want women to invest in the sport for its future - would definitely help the cause by investigating these angling differences and by finding out what women anglers will buy and advocating that to the industry. Does pink encourage or discourage fishing participation? Can you find gear customizable for females of varying sizes, or are you willing to tell the industry that it's time to design pink and nonpink gear for women?
To that end, I've been discussing the pink issue with members of the industry and other media. Tammy Sapp, who publishes the Women's Outdoor Wire ( and who formerly ran the communications department at the National Wild Turkey Federation as a vice president, took the cause to Southwick Associates ( Southwick surveys anglers and hunters monthly to identify trends and understand retail sales and economic impacts.
Southwick agreed to include a list of questions regarding the sale of "pink" outdoor products in its September survey. After Sept. 1, please visit the Southwick website listed above and click on the Angler Survey link. The five or six "pink" questions will be offered as "optional" to respondents.

In the meantime, please post freely on our forums by clicking here to comment on pink! I will also post future updates on the survey and on Tammy's blogs regarding pink on our Female Anglers Forum.