Reel Fly Girls is a women’s fly fishing apparel business.
It all started on my birthday weekend in January, 2018. Jill and I decided ’50’ was a birthday that required a girls getaway! That weekend, we set out for Lake Cumberland Hatchery just below the Wolf Creek Dam in Russell County, Kentucky. Our plan was to stay in a cabin I rented. However, the nice owner called while we were en-route and said that the icy weather followed by the drastic change to warm weather resulted in burst water pipes. He made a reservation for us, instead, at the Lake Cumberland Park Lodge.
When we arrived at the Lodge, we were told that a large family reunion was taking place and that we would be staying in the nearby Pumpkin Lodge. Since it was the slow season, we would be the only vacationers in that lodge. (Cue creepy music here.)
The Pumpkin lodge was beautiful. It sat on a cliff side about one hundred feet above and overlooking the Cumberland river. We brought our bags in and got settled. If you don’t know us, this means putting on our pj’s and fixing Wellers bourbon with ginger.
Prior fly fishing adventures for us involved fishing stream-side. Jill belongs to a trout club up by Lake Erie in Ohio. That club has beautiful little streams that weave around the grounds. There are idyllic wooden bridges to cross the streams or to stand upon while fishing. While stream-side fishing you wear any clothing that can get damp or dirty. A person is not submerged into the water when fishing stream-side so the traditional waders are not required.
Lake Cumberland was going to be our first ‘wading’ experience. We had all new equipment (still in boxes) sitting in our room. After a few bourbons, we decided to do a fashion show with our new waders and boots. Within a few minutes the room became a flurry of boxes and tissue paper! Next thing I know, we are parading around the room in our get-ups.
We had to climb on a chair to get a good view of ourselves in the lodge mirror. (Tipsy and standing on chairs is generally frowned upon but we didn’t have a choice. We needed to get the full effect.) Unfortunately for us, the mirror revealed two women dressed like men. We thought it was funny because we had the bourbon to soothe our minds.
At one point, Jill looked at me and said
‘Why don’t they make these clothes for women? It looks like they took men’s apparel and resized it (albeit not well) for women! We should design women’s fly fishing apparel!’
When Jill uttered those words, I just smiled and said
‘I want you to see something!’
I pulled out a notebook and opened the pages. The notebook was filled with drawings of fly fishing apparel items for women. I had planned to show it to her on the ride down to Lake Cumberland but we talked so much that I forgot.
That night, with the help of Kentucky’s best bourbon and the bond between two best friends, Reel Fly Girls was born.