Watery masculinities: Fly-fishing and the angling male in the South West of England

Bull, J.
August 2009
Gender, Place and Culture

This article examines the masculinities evident through fly fishing for salmon and trout in the South West of England. It identifies the way that many accounts of rural masculinities focus on particularly macho traits such as strength, resilience and domination and particular relationships with nature and the environment. Such macho traits are evident in the masculinities of angling - the angler regularly discusses issues of competition and duelling with nature. The trophies of such encounters become significant as they are used to summon life to stories and become crucial in narrating masculinity. However alongside these macho traits are numerous additional masculinities which are in tension with the more macho elements. These 'additional masculinities' become evident in the watery landscapes of angling; as such these waterscapes can be considered as liminal spaces as they enable masculinities to slip and reform. Therefore what emerges is a cadence to masculinity with different subject positions becoming significant in different spaces.


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