Betty Bauman: Breaking Down Barriers For Women In Fishing

Florida angler Betty Bauman has made it her profession to teach women how to enjoy fishing. The only rule: No yelling. “We try to explain to the ladies that when there’s a fish on, things have to happen fast, people get excited and voices may raise,” Bauman says. And it was one such experience that led her to found “Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing!” (LLGF).

“My husband is a tournament angler and he’d take me fishing. He’d yell at me to do things, but I didn’t understand what he was talking about,” she says. “I thought if I had a chance to practice away from him in a situation where I could hold the equipment and learn how to use it instead of being a robot taking orders, I’d feel more competent fishing with someone with his ability.”

Bauman quickly realized that she wasn’t alone. It was the mid-1990s and she was running a public relations firm, working with a number of fishing tournaments in Florida. She attended ICAST, an annual fishing tackle trade show, and the director of the American Sportfishing Association asked in his keynote speech why there weren’t more women fishing. She took it upon herself to find an answer.

Betty Bauman Ladies, Let's Go Fishing LLGF
For more than 20 years, Floridian Betty Bauman has shared her fishing skills to help other women get comfortable with the sport. (Ladiesletsgofishing.com photo)

Bauman came up with a weekend-long event that fully immersed participants in every aspect of fishing, from the very basics, like how to hold and use a fishing rod and reel, to more advanced techniques including backing up a trailer or throwing a cast net. She dubbed her program the “No-Yelling School of Fishing,” and brought on sponsors including the state of Florida and a number of tackle manufacturers.

The first event was held in Fort Lauderdale in 1997, and 120 women between ages 21 and 78 signed up. Bauman has been going full steam ever since, hosting events around Florida as well as the Virgin Islands, Colorado, and soon Cuba.

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