Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cuz It's Red

     Recently I held a contest where I asked for pictures and stories about getting women involved in the outdoors. This is my follow up post from that contest which explains how I got involved in the outdoors again.
     Ten years ago, I wasn't much of an outdoors person. I grew up fishing and camping but then my family started doing our own things. I focused on working and school and spending most of my time in front of a book, cash register or computer. I really had missed the outdoors, but I didn't have anyone to help me learn what to do or anybody to go with me.
     In 2003, I met a guy that was a fisherman, hunter, camper, and off roader. I had never really used fishing lures until I met that guy either. He bought me a fishing rod, a reel and some lures. I had a small tackle box that I had used to carry art supplies for college and I never thought I would ever need anything bigger than that. That guy became my boyfriend, then fiance and in 2005 he became my husband. In those 9 1/2 years since we met, I now own more fishing gear than a lot of guys, an ATV personalized for me and I own 5 guns of my own.
     The first rod my husband bought me had some red embelishments on in. My favorite color is red, so he knew I would like the rod. From there he started buying me some red lures for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries and any other excuse he finds to buy be a gift. My small tackle box grew 4 times to my current 2 large tackle bags. My husband buying me red lures and gear made fishing fun for me again and I learned how to tie on my own lures, put bait on my own hooks and as long as the fish isn't too toothy, take the fish off the hook myself.

Most of my red fishing gear.
     I used to joke that red lures and hooks were what fish were attracted to because red is a cool color. My husband and our friends would always roll their eyes when I explained my reasoning until one day my husband read an article about fish and red lures & hooks. The article said some fish will go after red lures and red hooks hanging from lures because the red looks like blood which they associate with an injured baitfish. I had PROOF that red is the best color for fishing!

     I can only use braided line and spinning reels. If I use any other type of line or a different kind of reel I end up with a HUGE nest and an even larger amount of frustration. I used Spider Wire for a long time until I found Power Pro's red braided line. I was so excited that I could use red line on my red reels with my red lures!
     My husband made fishing fun by letting me choose gear because its "cool" or "pretty", not because they do a specific thing that a specific fish will go crazy for. Even if he thinks my choice in lures is weird or not right for the conditions, he lets me experiment and learn what works and when it works, instead of lecturing me how it works and why. Sometimes my "cool" or "pretty" choice works out better than some of the "scientific" choices. A lot of sporting goods stores are picking up on the fact that some women use the "cool" and "pretty" method of choosing their fishing gear, which is why they carry so many pink and purple rods, reels, tackle boxes, lures and other accessories. I think it's great that the stores are doing this because it gives girls that don't like red a couple more colors to choose from........and it makes it really easy to find gifts for my nieces!

     My mom was very anti-gun and as kids, we weren't even allowed to play with toy guns or water guns. That led to me being nervous and a little afraid of guns, because I didn't know about them. I knew my husband was a hunter when I met him, so I knew there would always be guns in our house. When he had his guns out for cleaning or getting them ready for hunting or target shooting, I was a little nervous. He explained how guns worked and how to be safe with them. He was very patient and never pushed me to do anything I wasn't comfortable with when it came to guns. When I finally decided I was ready to try shooting, he surprised me with the red Ruger .22 in the below picture. He had taken an old composite stock and painted it a sparkly red. Of course I couldn't say no! The first time I shot that rifle, I had a blast and was really good at it. A couple years ago he wanted me to try a shotgun. We couldn't find a red 20 gauge shotgun, but I saw this pink camo Remington Model 870 pump action. I am horrible at shooting that gun right now, but have a lot of fun doing it. With some more practice, I'm sure I'll get better at it, but it's still not as much fun as my rifle. Of course I had to have matching cases for my guns so we found the red & black Ruger case and the pink camo shotgun case.

     Pistol shooting was another story. I hated pistol shooting because my hands are so little and most pistols my husband owned kicked so hard it hurt to shoot them. Then my husband found the pistol on the right in the picture below. It is a .32 cal Vz.50 (CZ 50). My hand fits it just right, its fun to shoot and it doesn't kick too hard. This is the pistol I used when I took the concealed carry class and I did really well with it. It has a reddish tint on the top so that was another bonus. About a year ago my husband found this .22 rimfire Beretta Neos pistol for my birthday. This is my favorite pistol. I LOVE shooting this gun plus it looks really cool!

     We were watching one of Ted Nugent's shows one night and he was talking about how to make bow hunting fun for your wife, girlfriend, sister or daughter. His first step was to buy a pink bow for them to use. I started giggling because that is exactly how my husband got me interested in fishing again and got me interested in shooting only in a different color. If he hadn't surprised me with the sparkly red rifle, I don't know that I would have liked shooting as much as I do. 
     This past year we decided to invest in some ATVs. We used to go offroading in a Jeep but it seemed like my husband was always working on a friend's rig all of the time and didn't have time to work on ours and it was getting really frustrating. I liked riding in the Jeep, so I could take photos, but the ATVs are more fun and less work for my husband.

     The story of my red ATV is funny because I didn't know it was red. We decided it would be best for me to have an automatic and my husband likes Polaris, so when he saw an ad for an automatic Polaris we decided to go look. When we walked into the guy's garage and saw it was red, it was pretty much a done deal. I pretended not to be excited about it being red so the seller wouldn't know how much I wanted it. My husband took it on a quick test drive and we loaded it on the trailer and brought it home. We added the trunk with a seat on the back for some great storage and as a place for my 3-year old niece to ride safely. We also added an oversized plastic milk crate on the front for my little dachshund to ride in and some other custom bags. I still get a little nervous on some trails, but my husband never makes me do an obstacle I'm not comfortable with and he shows me the easy lines to take. I'm getting more comfortable with the driving so sometimes I take the harder line. I love riding my ATV and love it even more because it turned out to be red.

     I love hearing stories about how a girl was encouraged to enjoy the outdoors whether it is fishing, hunting, target shooting, offroading, hiking or any other outdoor activity. If you have a story you would like to share, please email me (GirlsInTheOutdoors(at)yahoo(dot)com) and we will share your story on the blog.

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