Since March is set aside for Women’s History Month we’ll be profiling a few special women who have crushed the glass ceiling of our favorite pastime, fly fishing. — Skip Clement
Diana Rudolph, a born athlete embraces fly fishing at a young age
NOTE: The following copy and images are from our previous coverage of Cathi Comar’s book A Graceful Rise: Women in Fly Fishing Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. American Museum of Fly Fishing
By Cathi Comar – Pgs 94 and 95
Born in 1972 and raised in Chicago’s suburbs, Diana Rudolph learned to fish at five years old. Rudolph stood alongside her brothers as their father shared his enthusiasm with his children. When she was sixteen, Rudolph’s father introduced her to fly fishing. By the time she was undergraduate studying biology, she had stepped into the world of saltwater fly fishing.
During her early twenties, Rudolph’s father died, and she found it difficult to pick up a rod for a while. She started to attend graduate school in Florida to further her education in fisheries biology, then returned to Chicago to rethink her career path. While working part-time at a fly shop, Rudolph realized her love for angling would direct her career. Around this time, Rudolph had someone finish the saltwater rod blank her father had ordered for her; the first cast landed her first permit on a fly.
Rudolph’s name became prevalent in the saltwater fly-fishing community
She was a fixture at the women’s bonefish and tarpon fly-fishing tournaments in the Florida Keys. She worked as an instructor at Sandy Moret’s Florida Keys Fly Fishing School, won four of the Women’s World Invitational Fly Tarpon Tournaments between 2003 and 2009, and broke several world records fish caught on a fly. In 2004, Rudolph was the first woman to win the annual Don Hawley Invitational Tarpon Tournament in the Florida Keys.
Rudolph has made it a point to promote the sport of fly fishing
In 2007, Diana was featured in the American Museum of Fly Fishing’s award-winning short film Why Fly Fishing and selected to cohost the Sportsman Channel’s new series Breaking the Surface in 2009. She has published articles in fly-fishing trade magazines, and she has made appearances and conducted interviews whenever possible. Rudolph is also on the advisory staff of Sage, Simms, and Rio Products.
NOTE: The author’s text was written in 2011
The modern version of current women anglers can be found in Steve Kantner’s book – 50 Women Who Fish
Many of the women we’ll be covering in March for Women’s History Month appear in both tomes with Kantner’s coverage much more in depth. It isn’t so much that women ‘can’ fish – especially fly fish, but that they were 1% of fly fishers 20 years ago and now 25%.
In the last two decades, the sportfishing industry found a gold mine acknowledging that women are shaped differently than men. It was a remarkable discovery.
Now, shirts, waders, wading boots, and equipment are fitted so women are comfortable, dry and warm