When Natasha Eng, 33, boards the subway after work, fishing rod in tow, she knows what you’re probably thinking: “I basically get called an old man,” says Eng with a laugh.
But the creative studio project manager from Williamsburg, who took up fly fishing about three years ago, says the sport isn’t just for the senior set, or for guys, anymore.
“Most people only have known their fathers or grandfathers to fly fish,” she says, “but that’s not how it is now.”
The number of people casting lines is up nearly 20 percent in the past 10 years, according to a survey released last year by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Fishing experts say the growth has come mostly from people in their 20s and 30s — especially women, like Eng.
Millennials, in particular, are hooked on fly fishing. The activity can be a much-needed distraction from the pressing demands of the digital age. Unlike spin fishing, where you cast a lightweight line out and wait for a bite below the surface of the water, fly fishing uses a combination of rod, a weighted line, and water tension to propel a faux fly, with the goal of mimicking the movements of an insect near the surface of the water.
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