Nfld. & Labrador

Petty Harbour group angling for girls who fish

It used to be considered unlucky to take a woman out in a fishing boat, but this group is proof the "jinker" concept is a thing of the past.

Women-led program encourages more women to get on the water during the recreational fishery

Girls Who Fish aims to get more women on the water to enjoy the recreational food fishery. (Girls Who Fish/Facebook)

The recreational food fishery opened to the public on Saturday — and for one group of fishers it's an opportunity to catch new members.

Girls Who Fish is operated by, and for, women.

The group's aim is to get more women out on the water as part of a supportive community group based out of Petty Harbour.

I fell in love with it last year, and now I just want to be out in the boat as much as possible.- Maryn Work, who joined Girls Who Fish in 2017

Organizer Kimberley Orren says although this will be their third season in operation — years ago it wouldn't have been given a thought.

"I followed people who fished around, begging to be taught to fish," Orren recalls of her younger years.

"The shore fishing thing wasn't a big deal, so they took me under their wing and taught me to trout. But getting out on a boat was a little bit different when I was younger. I'm in my early fifties, so taking a woman on a boat — you were considered unlucky in a boat back then."

Orren told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show that the Girls Who Fish group is a concept stemming from those early years of rejection.

"[It's] definitely where the idea came from to encourage young women today," she said.

Maryn Work and Kimberly Orren are members and organizers of Girls Who Fish NL, a local fishing group aimed at getting more women on the water. (Jonny Hodder/CBC)

New members from outside of the province

Maryn Work, who moved from Ontario to St. John's two years ago, joined Girls Who Fish last year.

Though it was her first time fishing, after meeting Orren through another group, Work immediately found a passion for the hobby.

So taking a woman on a boat — you were considered unlucky in a boat back then.- Girls Who Fish organizer Kimberley Orren

"I fell in love with it last year, and now I just want to be out in the boat as much as possible," she said.

Work made the most out of the opening weekend for the recreational fishery, and has been enjoying her catch.

"A few of them are in the freezer still, but I had fish two nights already," she said.

"They were not big for the most part. We got a couple that were decent size, but we also got some that were really small."

The group is open to all women who want to get involved with the recreational food fishery. (Girls Who Fish/Facebook)

'I love the process, I love being in boats'

"They call it fishing, not catching," Orren said as to why she partakes in the hobby. "It's the process, it's the act, it's being outside, it's the whole experience."

"So it's not just the fish, it's the whole thing. It's connecting with nature, it's thinking about your food and where your food comes from. It's what people have done ever since there have been humans."

Work echoes a similar sentiment, and feels like she was meant to be on the ocean.

"I love the process, I love being in boats," Work said.

"I moved here because (being) born in landlocked Ontario I always felt drawn to the ocean and I just wanted to live on the ocean. I just always felt in my heart that it was the right place for me to be. So, any excuse I have to get on the water I'll just be right out there."

Knowing exactly where your food comes from is important to the Girls Who Fish group. (Girls Who Fish/Facebook)

Open for membership

The name of the game is to get women on the water, but Orren said if the weather doesn't cooperate, the group will still meet for a different activity, still aimed towards getting outside.

"Of course fishing is primary, but it doesn't have to be fishing," she said.

"If we can't go fishing, it's something outside."

Girls Who Fish meets on the first and third Sunday of every month, at the Island Rooms in Petty Harbour. 

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador 

About the Author

Mike Moore


Mike Moore is a journalist who works with the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador bureau in St. John's.

With files from the St. John's Morning Show