Angler of the Month
This months angler is someone who is quickly becoming a well known figure in the fly fishing world.
With magazine articles and cover shots in the likes of Canadian Fly Fisher and STS, appearances in FlyMax Films dvds and TV shows, podcasts and articles on various websites, and the face of an angel, April Vokey is hard not to notice. But I don't want to focus on April Vokey the professional, I'd like to tell you about April Vokey the person.
I first met April over four years ago, when she came into the shop looking for a set of breathable waders. Its always a pleasure to deal with female customers, especially those that are enthusiastic and actually fish hard. April was one of those, and because we are two of a very small handful of female anglers (and steelheaders at that) in the lower mainland, we quickly struck up a friendship. April has a bubbly, outgoing personality, and lives and breathes fishing. She's also a little bit nuts. When I first met her she would work all night, then drive four hours to our favourite little steelhead stream to fish all day. And repeat. After she discovered fly fishing, April has pursued it with a passion and determination I've rarely seen. In a very short time, she has become an accomplished single and double hand caster, an incredible fly tier, a guide and instructor, started an amazing fundraiser - Flies for Fins, and has created her own business - Flygal Ventures.
April fishes more than most of us, and is a riot to be out on the water with. She's funny, sweet and positive, yet could kick your ass in a heart beat. She'll go camping for weeks at a time, or spend months with a houseful of steelhead bums and love it, but she is also a self professed "girlie-girl". April loves pretty clothes and looking good, and isn't ashamed of it. She has helped me realize its okay to be a girl and fish. I can still throw on a little makeup in the morning, wear pink and big hoop earrings out fishing - if that's what I like and want to do. Before knowing April I had fallen into a trap of trying to hide my femininity while fishing with the guys. But if I'm naturally "girlie", I shouldn't pressure myself into being something that I'm not.
Last year April was in a horrific car accident, and lucky for us she survived it. But even a broken foot can't stop her. In the months right after the accident she was out in her pram on BC's interior lakes, with her crutches at her side, catching monster fish. I fished with her for a week soon after the accident, and while many people crumble under a terrifying incident like that, April pushed through her pain and used it as an opportunity to better herself.
She has been working tirelessly this past year to become a better angler. One of her goals is to encourage more people, especially women, to try fly fishing and not be indimidated by it. April proclaims herself to be an "eternal student" of fly fishing, I sentiment I whole heartedly agree with. Its absolutely refreshing to fish and hang out with someone who has such a positive attitude. April is fearless and independent, and is breaking down barriers for women anglers everywhere. Not just because of her exposure in the fly fishing media and not because she looks good in a picture, but because of who she is as a person.