Today well wrap up our overview of “Women and Bass Fishing” with some interesting facts and we’ll highlight some of the best lady bass anglers to ever wet a hook. Even though the ladies got off to a slow start, it was May 1st of 1991 when Vojai Reed who was married to the 1986 Bassmaster Classic Champion Charlie Reed became the first woman to compete in a B.A.S.S. event. She competed in the Missouri Invitational and finished a very impressive 58th out of 244 anglers. But overall, women have not had a major impact on the competitive bass fishing world.
This article would fall way short if I did not mention some of the women who help pave the way for the ladies today like Sherri Glasgow of Muskogee, Oklahoma, Judy Wong of Sugarland Texas, Sherrie Brubaker of Warner, Oklahoma, Mary Divincenti of Clinton, Louisiana, the late Penny Berryman of Dardanelle, Arkansas and Janice Cheek of Lecompte, Louisiana. These ladies were the pioneers who really kick started the WBFA (Women’s Bass Fishing Association). Back in the late 1980’s, the WBFA World Championship was held on Cane River in Natchitoches, LA. I had the privilege and honor to be get in the boat with one of the best women anglers of all time….Janice Cheek. At that time Janice was on the rise as she went on to win a couple of world championships in the 1990’s. During the ’88 World Championship as an observer, I was amazed at her casting ability and accuracy. To this day Janice may have been the best at casting and lure presentation of anyone I’ve ever been in the boat with. She put that bait in places most anglers would not have even attempted with great skill and precision. She also did something that day that I had never seen before. The bass were hitting a buzz bait pretty much all day during this three-day event but each day the fish would strike her bait shorter and shorter. Now most anglers would have changed techniques, but not Janice, she went from one trailer hook on day one to three trailer hooks by day 3 and caught all those short striking fish! It was amazing to me at that time that anyone would just keep adding more trailer hooks to their lure rather than changing baits or going to a different presentation. These early year ladies were great anglers in their own right and were not intimidated by anyone especially the men.
There have been other ladies early on who challenged the guys like in March of 1998 when Wanda Rucker of Cocoa, Florida won the old Red Man Gator Division qualifier on Lake Okeechobee. She had a winning weight of 16 lbs. 4 ounces and won $4,438. This was a rare feat accomplished at a time when the women were trying to establish themselves as comparable anglers. Then in November of 2001 another lady made her presence known as Renee Flesh of Edwardsburg, Michigan became the first woman to win a co-ed national tournament on Lake Pickwick Alabama as a co-angler fishing the popular FLW Ever start Series. Other women who have had success against the men include Christina Bradley who in 2013 finished 4th on Douglas Lake in the Bass Pro Shop Southern Open.
But there are a couple of other ladies who have done very well including Kim Bain-Moore who was the first woman to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic in 2010 held on the Red River in Shreveport, Louisiana. I had the chance to interview Kim and the first thing that struck me with her was her confidence. Now confidence is a tricky thing but a must have for any angler competing at a high level. Kim had that and was very well versed on her approach to the Red River. I can’t imagine the pressure she had on her as she finished 47th out of 51 anglers. I was more impressed with her professionalism than anything else as she weighed in 12 lbs. 2 ounces over a two-day period and missed the cut for the final day.
Last but not least, there is Pam Martin-Wells who just might be the greatest lady bass pro of all time. She needs no introduction to the men or anyone else who fishes the higher level of bass tournaments. Pam has set the standard for all women as she continues today to compete at a very high level. She was the second lady to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic in 2010 as she made the final day cut and finished 22nd with 25 lbs. and beating such legendary pros like Denny Brauer, Dean Rojas, Skeet Reece and Louisiana’s legendary pro Greg Hackney. During her time fishing with B.A.S.S. she placed in the money 63% of the time including 4 first place finishes, 3 seconds and 1 third. A total of 19 top 10 finishes and with over $308,000 in cash winnings to her credit, Pam has proven to the world that she can compete with the men anytime anywhere.
So, as we have seen today, it’s not that the women can’t compete with the men, I think it’s just that they have different priorities than men. As high school and college fishing continues to grow at a rapid pace, look for more lady bass anglers to emerge and become a true threat in the bass fishing world. Till next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook!
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