Diana Rudolph

Photo courtesy of Diana Rudolph.
Photo courtesy of Diana Rudolph.

Born in 1972 and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Diana Rudolph learned to fish at the age of five. Rudolph stood alongside her brothers as their father shared his enthusiasm with his children. When she was sixteen, Rudolph’s father introduced her to fly fishing, and by the time she was an undergraduate studying biology, she had stepped into the world of saltwater fly fishing.

During her early twenties, Rudolph’s father died, and she found it difficult to pick up a rod for a while. She started to attend graduate school in Florida to further her education in fisheries biology, then returned to Chicago to rethink her career path. While working part-time at a fly shop, Rudolph realized her love for angling would direct her career. It was around this time that Rudolph had someone finish the saltwater rod blank her father had ordered for her; the first cast landed her first permit on a fly.

For the next ten years, Rudolph’s name became prevalent in the saltwater fly-fishing community. She was a fixture at the women’s bonefish and tarpon fly-fishing tournaments in the Florida Keys, she worked as an instructor at Sandy Moret’s Florida Keys Fly Fishing School, she won four of the Women’s World Invitational Fly Tarpon Tournaments between 2003 and 2009, and she broke several world records for fish caught on a fly. In 2004, Rudolph was the first woman to win the annual Don Hawley Invitational Tarpon Tournament in the Florida Keys.

Rudolph has made it a point to promote the sport of fly fishing. In 2007, she was featured in the American Museum of Fly Fishing’s award-winning short film Why Fly Fishing, and she was selected to cohost the Sportsman Channel’s new series Breaking the Surface in 2009. She has published articles in fly-fishing trade magazines, and she has made appearances and conducted interviews whenever possible. Rudolph is also on the advisory staffs of Sage, Simms, and Rio Products.

Diana Rudolph continues to cohost Breaking the Surface and spends her time between Washington, Florida, and Montana. She travels the world seeking new fly-fishing adventures and often spends time angling with some of the great fly-fishing legends to learn as much as she can.


Note: this text was written in 2011.