Hook, line and sinker

Hello friends, some of you may know me as Wild Girls Alberta, and some of you may know me as Amanda Wiebe, the Tuesday host for The Women’s Fishing Network. I thought I would use this opportunity to give our Viewers a glimpse into my personal history with angling, where my love for the sport started, and some of the experiences that helped that passion continue to grow. I am 34 years of age, I grew up in Spruce Grove, Alberta; a small city located about 20 minutes West of the City of Edmonton. I now currently reside another 5 minutes West of that in Stony Plain, Alberta; the town with the painted past.

Growing up as a child, I was always drawn to the outdoors. I was fortunate to be raised in a time where access to a computer was few and far between, and the only good T.V. shows played on Saturday mornings, which left me with endless amounts of free time to explore and adventure around my neighbourhood and my grandparents large acreage. I was a wildling, always had knotty hair, grass stains on my knees, and enough sand in my shoes to fill a playground. From a young age I was always fascinated by and enamoured with animals of all shapes and sizes; frogs in the creek around the corner; stray cats and lost dogs always seemed to find their way to me in my travels around my small city. I was always having some adventure or another; making bows and arrows in the forest near our house, or getting stuck up in the tree house we built out of carpet in my backyard. We didn’t have cellphones in the early 90’s, you knew it was time to go home when the street lights came on or when you couldn’t ignore the grumbling in your stomach any longer. What a great way to grow up.

My grandparents and my dad were the first people to introduce me to the wonderful world of fishing. I was so little I would have easily fell through the holes my Grandfather drilled through the ice, but they slapped a little makeshift fishing rod in my hand and away I went. My first remembered experience with the fish was laying down on the ice like my grandpa ( Patty Boy ) told me to do, covering the rest of the opening with my hands and watching as the little perch below darted around under the ice. I was thrilled, how exciting that just beneath me was this whole other world, filled with tiny little creatures that I couldn’t wait to catch, hold and inspect. The first time I felt a fish hit my line, I was hooked (pardon the pun), I squealed with glee, and I have no doubt that in my excitement I likely dropped my rod. That was it for me, the defining moment; the moment that I became an Angler. The following years were filled with many fishing adventures, courtesy of both my grandparents and my dad. It was such a wonderful way for us to spend time as a family, almost never a dull moment with at least three kids in tow, if not four. Years worth of passion and experience shared while untangling countless knots, and re-baiting tiny hooks. Passing on technique, instilling values and an undying respect for the outdoors and all the wonders it provides.  I feel incredibly fortunate to have those memories, and to have inherited the small pieces of wisdom and love handed to me by people that I very much loved and looked up to.

A particular fishing trip with my dad and younger brother always comes to mind. I must have been seven or eight at the time, my little brother three years my junior. It was a balmy summer evening and my dad packed us into the van and took us to a local lake we spent much of our summer at. At the time it was a wonderful fishery, absolutely packed with trout and perch. We hauled all our gear down to the dock, pulled out the chip nuts and sunflower seeds, and my dad set about the tough task of keeping both my brother and my lines untangled and our hooks tipped with little pink maggots. The feeding frenzy was on, it seemed like you would no sooner drop your line in the water that you would have a tiny wiggling perch on the end of your line. Between my brother and I, my dad could hardly keep up constantly unhooking one fish and then moving on to the next. I think we must have caught around 30 fish or more each that evening, and I don’t believe my dad ever did get to drop a line in. It was one of the best nights of fishing in my life and a memory that I will always hold dear, and can’t wait to one day replicate with my own future children.

Many years passed, but that love for the sport never went away. We would have some summers absolutely packed with fishing adventures, and some summers where we never wet a line, but I would always find my way back to it like a familiar old friend. When I reached high school age, and got my drivers license all bets were off. My sister, my best friend and I began weekly adventures out to our local lakes in search of big toothy Pike. It was one of the few things we were all willing to get up early for. Misty mornings knee deep in cool water, watching the loons swim and dive; listening to Holly McNarland CD’s and jumping railroad tracks in our Chevy Lumina and making jokes about ghost ships in the mist. All the while my love and passion for fishing grew stronger and stronger. The itch to get out and cast a line lived under my skin during the week, leading into weekends spent doing the thing I loved. More time passed and life grew more hectic as I aged, full time jobs and many other new responsibilities arrived, a bustling social life that came with being of legal drinking age, and finding time to get out fishing became harder and harder. The love never went away though, it stayed dormant in the background waiting for its time to shine again.

Fast forward a few years later, bar weekends slowly turned into camping trips. Full long weekends hidden in the bushes with friends, and wouldn’t you know it, we were often by bodies of water; it was meant to be. I would pack my fishing stuff and sneak off to the nearest shore in hopes and snagging in to whatever that body of water held. That was all it took to rekindle that spark and reignite my undying love for fishing, and boy did it come back with a vengeance. Many years later now and that love and passion has only continued to grow, those nearest and dearest to me can confirm that it takes up a lot of real estate in my mind and life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have found a community through the sport, a kinship with people all over the world. Fishing is a wonderful equalizer, anyone can love it; anyone can do it and that is one of the things I cherish most about the sport, we all belong to it and it to us.

All of my love and effort and work within the angling community led me to this project, The Women’s Fishing Network. This is an initiative that I hold near and dear to my heart, and it is my personal mission to continue to learn and grow as angler and to try and share as much of my knowledge and passion with as many people as possible. I do my absolute best to let my passion shine through in the content I put forward, and am so thrilled to be sharing my journey with anyone willing to watch. Thank you so much for taking the time to learn a little bit about me, make sure you stay tuned for future blog entries where I will do my best to share tips and tidbits and maybe a few good stories too.

Hook, line and sinker

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