Your name or any nicknames you have?
So, my “real” name is Jacqueline, but I have been called Sassy since I was an infant because my brother could not say my name. Once I left my hometown I started going by Jacqueline because the name Sassy brings so many questions and comments, and I really got sick of telling the story to people I would never see again. And no, I am not a sassy person… not at all.
Where are you at in the world? Where will you be fishing this year?
I am in Grand Junction, Colorado currently in nursing school. I have no idea where I will be fishing this year, I really want to explore the Western slop more.
What got you into fly fishing? When did you start?
I have been fishing for about 4 years now. I can’t really pin point what got me into fly fishing. One day I asked my step dad if we could go and he took me to float the Green River, you can imagine what a disaster that was. I missed so many fish and had a plethora of knots. Although it was a day full of disaster, I was immediately drawn to the challenge. My good friend, Matt, was also into fishing and started inviting me along, little did he know he had a front row seat to cheap entertainment. He really stuck it out through all the knots, missed hook sets, and dropped rod tips. Learning from such a patient angler really aided in sticking out the initial learning curve.
Why do you fly fish? What does it “do” for you?
Fly fishing is by far the best thing I have involved myself in. I can honestly say, when I reflect on my fly fishing adventures, I immediately think about all the people it has connected me with, all the beer we’ve drank, and all the tears we shed from laughing so hard. It has connected me with many people that I hope to grow alongside and collaborate with to impact peoples’ lives via fly fishing. Sometimes I get really caught up in school and all the goals I’ve set for myself. When I am out on the water I don’t think about any of that. It slows me down and reminds me that happiness is my number one priority in life and enables me to be present in the moment.
As a woman angler, you’re definitely in the minority. What made you decide to be a angler?
There’s no denying I am a minority being a female in the industry; however, I do not believe the sport attracts a specific gender, I think it attracts a specific person—sportsmen/women. I chose this hobby because I love being outside and I love challenges. I know many females are interested in fly fishing, but I think they’re scared to get involved because how male dominant it is, and they may be intimidated by all the badass fishermen. I strongly encourage women to get involved if this is a lifestyle they desire. Men are so encouraging and supportive of female anglers.
Has the fact you’re a female ever been an issue with a client or other angler (such as them hitting on you or maybe talking down to you?) If so how did you manage it/them?
I am not a guide, so I haven’t had to deal with this, but I know it does happen to my female guide friends which makes me sad. As for me, I have not been talked down to by another angler, instead, I have been constantly encouraged and supported by males (and females). They are always so willing to give me advice and teach me more about the sport. I am so grateful for the male anglers I have crossed paths with, they are literally bursting with knowledge and so eager to share it with females. Sometimes I think the men I fish with get more excited about me hooking into a big fish than I do. It has encouraged me to stay in this sport.
What is a piece of advice you want to give to other anglers or a tip/trick that has helped you grow as an angler?
I would suggest getting involved with your local fly shop. When I started fly fishing I lived in Fort Collins and St. Peter’s Fly Shop was constantly hosting free classes/presentations and fun events for their customers. Some of the free classes I attended were casting classes, tips for fall fishing, spey casting, winter fishing, fishing free stone rivers, etc., This really helped me build a foundation and learn how to read water. The staff is very supportive of new anglers and helpful when it comes to picking flies for the day. Now I live in Grand Junction and Western Anglers Fly Shop has been teaching me about the carp world and surrounding fisheries. It’s great to support your local shop and get involved with their ladies night and iron fly. Don’t be scared to ask for help. Everyone is a beginner at one point, and even after four years, I think I’d say I’m still a beginner.
What’s your favorite new piece of gear?
Ha, my favorite NEW piece of gear? If you know me, you know I use things until they fall apart on me. While in a canyon, being a badass and what not, the sole of my wading boot literally fell off my boot and I had to walk back with one boot and probably did some measurable damage to the bottom of my waders. So, once I get new wading boots and send my haggard waders into Simms to get numerous holes patched, they will be my favorite new pieces of gear.
Best catch of all time?
What a hard question. “Best catch of all time” makes me think of times that I have landed fish that I shouldn’t have. One time I was fishing with my pal John and it was pouring rain, so naturally I was trying to think of that cheesy quote about learning to dance in the rain instead of waiting for the storm to pass. During the cheesy quote I get the “yep” and I set the hook, fish on, wahoo, time to fight the fish. Well, not long after setting the hook I start reeling in line and notice there is a knot in my fly line and it got stuck in a guide. I immediately started panicking and yelling for John to help me. I handed him the rod to help with the knot and I grabbed the fly line and started pulling the fish in the good ole fashioned way. I managed to get the fish into the net and we were laughing so hard. The scene was just perfect, all the odds were against us, but you know what they say, “Teamwork makes the dream work.”