Ashley Rae got into fishing at age five and has traveled the world in search of the next big catch. We asked Ashley about how fishing became her passion, her dream catch, and what it’s like as a woman in a male-dominated sport.
You got into angling after a family friend took you fishing as a child. How did you get hooked? What keeps you fishing, decades later?
At the time, fishing was such a special treat for my brother and me, as it wasn’t a pastime my parents took part in. We didn’t fish often when we were young, except when we visited the lodge. It was always exciting getting out on the water — not knowing what we would catch. Each trip was (and still is) unique and has a different outcome. As I got older, I wanted to become independent on the water so I purchased a fishing kayak and then eventually a boat. I still feel just as excited to go fishing as I did back then. I always find it tough to sleep the night before with all the anticipation. I haven’t found anything else that makes me feel this way. On the water is where I am meant to be.
What’s it like being a woman in a male-dominated activity like fishing?
Being a female in a male-dominated sport definitely has its ups, downs, and challenges. I try to focus on the positive, because my hope is to see more women get involved and inspired to take up fishing. Female anglers are on the rise but there’s a long way to go for fishing to be a completely welcoming environment regardless of gender. I’ve experienced plenty of disheartening situations over the years, but that pales in comparison to the support I receive on a daily basis. Those who are truly passionate about fishing love to see female anglers breaking down barriers and helping grow the sport. Take your daughter, sister, wife, girlfriend, or friend fishing!
What’s your best fishing memory?
Catching a 50-inch musky on my boat with a topwater lure is still the highlight of my fishing adventures. It’s the fish of a lifetime! Now I’m on a mission to catch a bigger one for as long as that takes. Catching a fish like that is a sickness that just leaves you wanting more!
Do you have a fishing bucket list? What species and locations are on your dream list?
I feel like my bucket list grows every week thanks to social media and people sharing their amazing catches with me. There are a few species on the top of my list: tarpon, peacock bass, greenback walleye (found in Manitoba), and sturgeon. I am always happy to catch something new and learn about each species.
How did you turn your passion into your profession? What tips can you offer others who would love to follow in your boat’s wake?
A lot of people think I get paid to go fishing but in reality it’s not quite that simple nor is it a job that really exists.
If you’re passionate and devoted, you will find ways to make your dream a reality and this is what I’ve been working on. I realized after grinding away at a nine-to-five office job that it just wasn’t where I belonged. I started a blog back in 2009 — before blogging had really caught on. I was fortunate that people were interested in reading my content and connecting with me through social media to chat about fishing.
My blog opened up a lot of opportunities for me to get paid writing work and reach new audiences around the world. I’ve also had opportunities to host seminars and fishing-show episodes on television. Both have helped me reach even more anglers and have some really great experiences.
My advice is to try new things and step out of your comfort zone. Believe it or not, I am quite shy, but I just light up when talking about what I love — I think we all have that ability. I found through this journey that writing is my favorite way to share my passion. It amazes me what can happen if you work hard and put yourself out there. I have expanded my writing opportunities more and more. I especially love to travel and showcase my adventures. I still have a long way to go, but I have enjoyed the journey and the memories.
My blog opened up a lot of opportunities for me to get paid writing work and reach new audiences around the world.