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Ontario's Argosgirl Outdoors
We have done a lot of great interviews here at Go Fishing Now. Each has been special in its own way. This one to me is particularly special as it is the first fisherwoman I have had a chance to interview.
You may have noticed that on this site we take the time to write "fishermen and fisherwomen". For us, this is not about political correctness but rather a way to respect the role that women anglers are playing in our great sport. This interview demonstrates how critical this role is in so many ways.
So read on to learn more about the journey of Rebecca Vito, of Argosgirl Outdoors, into fishing and her work in spreading the fishing bug that she clearly has caught.
GFN: I understand from reading your blog, that you only caught the fishing bug a few years ago. So, how did you get started in fishing?
Quite simply, I met a guy. Other than a camping trip or two as a child, I had never fished until about six years ago. I had no desire to go fishing, but I ended up moving in with a fish-a-holic who gave me a fishing rod and tackle for our first Christmas together, when I really needed a new winter coat and boots. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I decided not to be angry about it, and when spring rolled around he started taking me down to the creek that ran through the farm we lived on.
Though it took a few trips for me to hook into my first brook trout, I found that I started looking forward to the time spent by the water. My first trip crappie fishing sealed the deal – I caught more fish than I’d ever seen before and my face hurt from smiling so much. After that, fishing just became a part of my life. That guy, Darrell, probably has more pictures on the blog than I do. He was smart enough to take his time introducing me to fishing, and in return, he ended up with a permanent fishing partner.
GFN: Why did you decide to start blogging?
Writing is something I’ve always done, whether it was writing short stories that would never be read by anyone else, or journaling the mundane details of life. Writing is a necessary act for me. I had tried blogging in the past but never stuck with it. One winter I found myself with a little extra time on my hands and started writing about our fishing adventures. When other anglers read the posts and started commenting, I realized how much fun it was to share these stories, so I kept at it.
GFN: Your blog contains lots of topics from fishing, to gardening to many other life topics. How do you choose what you will blog about?
I write about whatever strikes my fancy. If we’ve been out fishing and I feel the urge to write, it will be a fishing post. If I’ve been working in the garden and want to share pictures of flowers in the middle of a spectacular bloom, that’s what I’ll post. That said, I do try to keep the blog focused more on fishing and outdoors activities.
GFN: What is the most rewarding part about blogging?
For the first couple of years, I just enjoyed being able to share my stories and interact with other bloggers. But the most rewarding part came in the past couple of years when people started telling me that I had gotten them into fishing because of what they had read on my blog. It’s such a fantastic feeling when you find out that you helped someone get into this great pastime.
GFN: What is the most challenging part?
Finding the time to write is the biggest challenge. Between work, the farm, volunteering, and fishing, I find I run out of hours too quickly these days. I will often start a blog post at the end of the night, when everything else is done, but fall asleep before I get more than two sentences typed out.
GFN: On your blog, you provide info for Fairy Lake, Guelph Lake, Island Lake and Grand River in Southern Ontario. What are the things you like about each of these bodies of water?
All four of these waterbodies have bass, black crappie, and northern pike, so they give me the chance to catch some of my favourite fish throughout the seasons. The Grand River is an amazing fishery with big fish that provide an incredible fight, the way that only river fish can. It’s easily accessible for putting a canoe in and spending the day drifting downstream with the current.
Fairy Lake, Guelph Lake, and Island Lake are electric trolling motor only lakes, which may give a clue about my fishing preferences. I like smaller, quieter lakes, though Island Lake can be quite busy on a weekend in the summer. All three of these lakes have given me many days of catching 100 or more crappie, with some spectacular slabs coming up often enough to keep me happy. They also all have great pike fishing action in the fall. The lakes tend to setup in ways that suit my fishing style (I’m more of a power angler than a finesse angler), so I like visiting them because I can use the techniques I enjoy most.
GFN: You fish all year around. What do you enjoy about ice fishing?
Ice fishing acts as a restart button on my fishing season. By the time December rolls around, trout and bass are closed, very few rivers are open to fishing at that point, and it’s getting cold to be out in the boat. I find I start losing enthusiasm for the fishing opportunities that are left. Once the ice has formed, it’s a new fishing season, with new techniques to try.
Fishing through the ice provides a different way of looking at things. Panfish will often school under the holes and I can watch them through the ice, or on the underwater camera, and observe their behaviours. Pike love to settle in front of the camera and just stare at it. I have spent many days on the ice just watching fish. When you do get hits through the ice, they can be completely unexpected and even more of an adrenaline rush than in open water, because you have such a limited field of view and often don’t realize a fish was in the area.
GFN: This spring you purchased a new canoe. Will you give us a review of the canoe including its strengths and weaknesses?
We purchased a 16’6” Algonquin Prospector from The Holy Cow Canoe Company. They’re a Canadian company based out of Guelph, Ontario, so fairly local to us, which was important.
We bought the ultraglass version since our boats do get roughed up and the ultraglass would be easier to repair. The first thing I noticed about the canoe was how light it was. I could move it on my own if I really needed to. On the water it has been a completely different experience than any other canoe I’ve used – you can tell the difference in quality compared to the cheaper canoes I’ve been in before. The draft is nice and shallow so it goes through small rapids easily without bottoming out. It’s remarkably quick, taking only a few strokes with the paddle to really get it going, and it tracks easily even on a windy day. There’s lots of room for fishing gear and it’s easy to maneuver in once you get a fish to you.
The only issue we’ve had with it to this point is the turning. It’s not as nimble as our previous canoe so that’s taken some getting used to, but being four-and-a-half feet longer than the last one probably has something to do with that!
GFN: You are very involved with Ontario Women Anglers. What's your involvement with this organization and what do they do?
Ontario Women Anglers was founded by Yvonne Brown, initially under the name of Fishing 101 for Women. Yvonne started Fishing 101 for Women as a program for women, taught by women. Initially the program put on one day seminars that included a classroom portion in the morning, covering fishing regulations, fish ID, safety precautions, and an introduction to tackle. Then participants got some hands on time putting reels on rods, tying knots, and learning to skills such as rigging up a slip-float and texas-rigging a senko. All the instructors would be female anglers, so women could learn from other women. I started as a volunteer instructor for Fishing 101.
Eventually, many of the women who had been through the program were looking for more information to advance their skills, and opportunities to go fishing with other women anglers. This lead to the formation of Ontario Women Anglers (OWA), and Fishing 101 became a program offered under the OWA banner. OWA offers a variety of programs for members with different interests and skill levels. Fishing 101 for Women is still the introductory program, but there are bass fishing tournaments, bass fishing weekends where women can advance their skills, Creek Fishing 101, Fly Fishing 101, Angler-New Angler Fishing Day, industry-related tours such as to fish hatcheries and tackle companies, and more. OWA has turned out to be a great way for women anglers to make new friends and learn more about fishing.
This year I organized the Angler-New Angler Fishing Day at Ken Whillans Management Resource Area in Caledon, Ontario and a Fishing 101 for Women seminar at Island Lake in Orangeville, Ontario. We were lucky to partner with Credit Valley Conservation for these events and I had some awesome people helping me out. The participants got to learn from passionate women anglers with a variety of different experiences. The introductory events are where I like to help out – getting people into fishing and helping them enjoy it is one of the best things I can spend my time doing. Listening to some of the participants over the years, I realize how lucky I was to have an amazing, patient teacher when I got into fishing. I hope that we are able to provide that to all of our participants and get them excited about sharing fishing with their friends and family.
GFN: If someone is interested, how can they get involved?
The best way to get involved is to become an Ontario Women Anglers member by visiting www.fishing101forwomen.ca, or emailing Yvonne at firstname.lastname@example.org. As well, anyone interested should follow OWA on Facebook at facebook.com/OntarioWomenAnglers. News about upcoming events gets posted here, and you’ll see all sorts of information about past events and lots of great fish pictures. We’re always looking for more volunteers, instructors, and people who would like to organize events in their areas. I’m also more than happy to answer questions.
GFN: Thank you Rebecca for doing this interview and taking your time to promote the sport all of us love so much.
To follow Rebecca, please read the Argosgirl Outdoors blog. You can also follow her on Social Media: