Bauman believes viewing other women catching fish on social media platforms and a growing confidence in seeking what they want from life in general helps spur female entry into the sport. Capt. Janet Rupp, of Lucky Duck Sport Fishing Charters in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland, agrees, although she’ll remind you the changes haven’t come fast enough and aren’t evenly distributed along the coast.
“I was the first one in my area,” recalls Rupp, a striper specialist who started as a mate in 1974. “I walked down this dock past every boat looking for work until Capt. Joe Rupp said, ‘Come aboard.’ Management told him they couldn’t have women working on the boats here, but he didn’t give that a listen. That was forty-nine years ago, and I’m still at it.” Eventually, Rupp married the captain and they worked together for 40 years. “When he passed away, I just kept on going.”
Rupp hasn’t noticed a large increase of female anglers in her area, but she has experienced an uptick for bookings with both men and women aboard. “In any charter group, there’s someone who books the trip and puts things together. We need more women that are confident enough to be that person before things really take off, but we’re headed in the right direction,” she says.