Women in Business – Lucy Bowden | Living North

Women in Business – Lucy Bowden


From an idyllic childhood spent on Northumbrian waters to a bright career full of exciting plans, Laura Steven caught up with Fishing for Everyone founder Lucy Bowden to talk past, present and future in the sport that has her well and truly hooked
‘It’s so rewarding; there’s nothing better than seeing the smile on their face as they land their first fish’

When most little girls were busy dressing up their Barbies and stealing their mother’s lipstick, five year-old Lucy Bowden was already out on the lakes and rivers of North Northumberland with her dad by her side, showing her the ropes of his beloved pastime. It was here, on one of her very first fishing trips, that she caught an eight and a half pound rainbow trout in a Scottish Borders fishery, setting a personal record that is still standing today.

Fast-forward 11 years and Lucy’s passion for fishing had survived her early teens. It was then, at 16, that Lucy launched her still-thriving website, fishingforeveryone.com. ‘I didn’t really pick fishing as a career; it picked me. I initially launched my website to encourage more people to try fishing; in particular, more women. As a teenager, I was sick of going down to the river or lake and finding I was the only female there. When I was 18, I missed out on the grades I needed to go to study English at York University, so I got a job in Jobson’s of Alnwick selling fishing tackle while running my website on the side. When the website really started taking off, I evolved it into an e-commerce website selling products online.’

However, ambitious Lucy’s feet began to itch as she realised that she could do much more with her dream. After a brief relocation to Orvis’ new angling shop in Kelso, Lucy was soon headhunted to join the Hardy & Greys team as their Alnwick-based PR coordinator, all the while continuing with her individual pursuits, which were steadily growing in number. ‘A few years after I joined Hardy and Greys, I took my angling qualifications and added angling coaching to my website and CV. I get a lot of female clients, but also a lot of men and kids as well. It’s so rewarding; there’s nothing better than seeing the smile on their face as they land their first fish.’

Adding another string to her bow, or fly to her line as the case may be, Lucy also writes freelance pieces for several publications, including past work for Reel Women and Sky Sports Tight Lines. ‘I do a lot of writing, and tend to cherry pick magazines to suit me, targeting international magazines as well as UK based sites and papers too. I also donate two enterprise awards to local schools, helping to support the entrepreneurs of the future.’

Lucy’s own entrepreneurial journey thus far has not been free from setbacks. ‘The main issue with the fishing industry is that it’s very male-dominated. It’s not just when you go fishing that there are a lot of men on the water, it’s also in the manufacturing and development side as well. So for me it was about overcoming this and getting people to stop judging a book by its cover, because obviously I didn’t look like your typical angler and still don’t. So in many ways, I had to work really hard to prove myself and to prove that actually I could do it and I was capable.’ 

Having set up the Fishing For Everyone Ladies Fishing Club in Alnwick in the last few years, it’s abundantly clear that this determination to drive more gender equality into the sport is something that still fuels Lucy today. ‘I’ve always said that fishing is something that anyone can do, no matter your age, your race, your gender or your ability. Anyone can do it because you can adapt fishing around the person. I just think more people should take it up because at the end of the day, you’re out in the fresh air, you’re at one with nature, it’s great exercise, and you can work on your tan!’

Making sure to give something back, firmly-grounded Lucy also participates in non-profit charity work for various different organisations, including Jack Charlton’s Disabled Anglers and Casting for Recovery. Her most recent focus is in her work for Northumberland HospiceCare Trust and Fishing for Heroes, an organisation offering relief to ex-service personnel struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder by using fishing as an aid. ‘I just ran the Fishing for Heroes event and we raised nearly £4,000, which we were absolutely over the moon with. It’s something close to my heart as my granddad was in the forces, so it was lovely to be able to do something like that for them.’

Not one to rest on her laurels, Lucy’s sights remain firmly set on the future. ‘Ultimately, I’d like to put together a national programme involving schools and beginners’ days across the country. It’s happening in shooting and other sports but ours always seems to be a few years behind, and it’d be nice to be able to change that. Another goal of mine is to become really well respected in my field. While I think I already am to a certain extent, and I’ve worked really hard over the past ten years to get there, I want to be seen to have made a real difference in the sport.’

While Living North have no doubt that Lucy has the talent and drive to achieve her national goals, it’s nice to know she’ll never sacrifice her pride in her North East roots. ‘We’ve got some beautiful scenery and some fantastic people who have always supported me in everything I’ve done. For that I’m so proud and so pleased to be part of the North East.’ 


Published in: November 2013

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