There’s just something about fly fishing that inspires passion and obsession. Perhaps this is because of the intricacies and finesse of tricking a fish with a few feathers tied to a hook, the lore and tradition behind the sport, or the way a properly balanced fly rod feels in one’s hand when trying to make the perfect cast to a rising trout. Whatever it is that evokes these emotions, the truth is at the end of the day, it’s fishing. The one thing that fly fishing has that other forms of angling seems to be lacking is a great sense of community. One of the most inspiring and passionate communities of fly anglers began with a woman’s newfound love of the sport, and its ability to change lives.
Two years after choosing a fly fishing trip over a blind date at a fancy restaurant, Pamela Dunlap’s decision has become a life-changing experience. Since then, she’s shared her love of fly fishing with hundreds of other women in hopes that it would make a positive impact on their lives as well.
Women Wine & Waders was founded in 2015 with the vision to help create a better life for women through fly fishing and adventure. The key points of WW&W are (1) to inspire others to pick up a fly rod, (2) to educate its members and enable them to advance their skills, and (3) to continue to support one another through friendship and camaraderie, both on and off the water.
“Right now we’re still growing,” says Dunlap, “and connecting lady anglers in and around West Virginia, and the world.” WW&W works by hosting fly fishing adventures around the state, which are all-inclusive. Trips are posted on the group’s website and all of their social media forums. “The latest one, which I am so proud of,” Dunlap says, “is our Cast and Blast— it is one of our most popular outings.” Cast and Blast gives participants the opportunity to fly fish and shoot sporting clays on the same property. The aim is to bring ladies into the fold that love to hunt and shoot, that may also want to give fly fishing a try. Dunlap says the group hopes to get some crossovers, and perhaps it will get more women into the sport. Cast and Blast began in 2019, and she says WW&W have been very fortunate to be given the opportunity through the generosity of the owners of the private property where this event takes place.
Although it was Dunlap who breathed life into this organization, she is reluctant to take any credit for what it has become, and what it has come to mean in the lives of these women. “This group is not about me,” she says, “It’s about the women who join and take these trips with us, and of course, the ones who support us.”
Women Wine & Waders continues to have success sharing the passion for fly fishing and the outdoors with women from all walks of life. Each of these ladies has a unique story to share, and they are encouraged in their growth and development as fly anglers by Pam’s infectious enthusiasm for the sport, and her passion for sharing with others something that has greatly impacted her life. Just take a look at Women Wine & Waders’ Instagram, Facebook, or website, and notice the big smiles on these ladies’ faces. These are all wonderful people making lasting friendships and forming one of the greatest communities in the world of fly fishing.
If you or someone you know would be interested in becoming a part of this organization, or would be interested in contributing in any way, please reach out to Pamela Dunlap, and be sure to follow Women Wine & Waders on social media: