Lakecaster Online

Images of an Outdoors Woman
By Ed Snyder

June 1, 2000, Lake Sam Rayburn, TX.

"I treasure the many moments I find on a lake like no one will ever know, the lady angler softly spoke as she scanned the early morning dawn, "like every little detail from that peach/gray sunrise with wispy fog, to the bream dimples on the water's surface, the heron stalking breakfast, or those squirrels arguing up that pine tree. "I think of all these pretty things I've ever seen out here due to fishing, all of the funny things, scary things, memorable moments, "and people think fishing is just for catching fish... "I don't think so!"

With the mornings cool breezing in our faces and the crack of dawn chasing our wake, the attractive lady angler sets the throttle of her sleek Champion Bass-rig as we rocket out onto Lake Sam Rayburn, steering towards a receding, shadowy mirage as we chase the edge of pre-dawn darkness. Easing down on the throttle when we yawl into a creek, she slows us to a snails pace before shutting down. Quickly setting the auto-troll as we quietly slip into a grassy cove, the lady angler grabs a rod & reel and moves up to the foredeck. "Help yourself, she offers to me as I scan the half dozen fishing rigs which were neatly strapped to the boats deck. Choosing one rigged with a top-water bait before moving towards the rear casting deck I prepare to put my first cast along the flooded edges of some shoreline grass.

I was fishing today with Kathy Magers, one our Nations top woman Bass/Pro's and a strong 'icon' for the image of the Outdoors Woman. As we begin to settle into our early morning fishing patterns, Kathy's life-long love affair with the Great Outdoors starts to unravel, filling my notebook with some, of the many, excitements and adventures that she has experienced since her childhood days on Galveston Island, TX.

"I was initiated into my first outdoor experience, Kathy began to note, "when, in 6th grade, we had this annual event that we girl scouts went to, and the first thing that I had to learn was "latrine duty"..."now, I mean to tell ya' , it's a very humbling experience when they hand you a shovel and tell you to start digging a hole,... ."Welcome to the Great Outdoors Kathy!!??

"Many years later, the whole meaning of that great outdoors experience came together for me when my husband, and two daughters, went on a camping & fishing trip together, when, as we prepared our camp, my husband handed me a shovel, and stated, since you're the one with the experience! After some quick laughter between us, Kathy's eyes misted with the memory of her first loves, a Barbie Doll, and her very own fishing rod. "At the age of six, "that Barbie Doll meant a lot to me, but that rod & reel "also" became a very special treasure too, as would another treasured experience. "Being 6 years old, you never are given the opportunity to enjoy sunrises or sunsets as most families usually put their kids to bed before and after these events occur. "But it was a wonderful adventure to me when going fishing the next day, I'd leap out of bed to see the early sunrise in all its wonderful colors. "That was such a cool thing for us kids to do back then, getting up, riding across the Galveston causeway and eating breakfast at a restaurant "while it was still dark", then to be fishing at the waters edge in time to see the sun rise above the Gulf of Mexico as the birds were feeding with the boats going to and fro, ... "wonderful"....."Just absolutely wonderful,...."and I wanted my kids to enjoy those same wonderful things that I enjoyed so much when I was growing up. "And I do think, Kathy stresses to my notations, "that if a young boy or girl can experience, and understand, nature at an early age, that they will develop a better understanding of life in later years.

"I give credit to my grandpa for starting me out fishing, my parents for continuing to take me fishing and camping, the Girl Scouts for teaching me about outdoor nature and my husband for allowing me to enjoy all of them, Kathy began to unfold. "Chuck Magers and I met at age four and grew up as best friends, then married, and while he does go hunting and fishing with his friends, he and I are still "number-one" fishing / hunting pals." There's just nothing to compare with having the person you love witness and share in a moment of success on the water or in the field. None of those "you should have been there" stories because they WERE there at your side. "I appreciate the times we get together like that, "when, after being apart all week working, my heart still flutters like a teenagers when we can get back together.

With scribbled notations suddenly interrupted, Kathy hook-sets on a sudden swirl and quickly reels in our first fish of the morning. "OHMYGOSH", don't record this one -click- "too late" as my camera shutters an image of a future World Record Catfish which isn't much larger than the bait that it chose to breakfast on.

"My grandpa used to fish religiously -(every Sunday)- in Galveston Bay, Kathy continued, "then one day, Grandpa let me drive the boat across the bay as I remember how great it felt to be at the wheel of that boat as I was only 6 yrs old at that time, and he, of course, kept a hand on the wheel at all times. But little did he know that he was instilling in me the love of water, boats, fishing and the outdoors. "One of the things I most enjoyed about getting to go fishing with Grandpa, Kathy reviewed, "was when he picked us up at 4 am so we could go eat breakfast, and then ride the ferry over to Port Bolivar to a fish camp where we'd meet the shrimp boats in hopes of getting some live shrimp for bait. Riding on the ferry, watching the sunrise, seeing the phosphorus glisten in the dark waters, with an occasional porpoise scampering in front of the boat, "all of this, coated with the fresh salt-water spray on the mornings breeze, was one, of many, childhood adventures which set the stage for my interest in becoming a Professional angler as an adult.

Moving over to another cove, Kathy quietly explains that she's looking for an early morning top-water bite which she can pattern on for fishing an upcoming WBFA tournament event, and with the sun struggling to rise above the treetops, the lady continues to cast and talk..."I was about three years old when I picked up my first fishing rod as Grandpa was taking my cousins fishing one day, and I wanted to go!! "Now, I didn't know where they were going or what they were going to do -"heck"- I didn't even know what fishing was at that time, but I wanted to go. " So I wound up and threw a "walleyed-hissy fit", fell down on the crushed oyster shell driveway, cut my chin and big toe -(still have those scars today)- "And yes, Grandpa did let me go after all, so I learned young that if a gal wanted to go fishing all she had to do was to throw a hissy-fit and the guys would take you along,... "I say that jokingly of course, Kathy "winks" over her shoulder.

"My first bass fishing experience happened when my husband took me along with some friends back in the mid 70's to Lake Palestine TX, where "we three wives" went in one boat and "the husbands" in another. "I watched those women fish and was impressed that they knew which rods and lures to use in different situations. "I learned a lot about bass fishing that day, but more importantly, I learned that gender didn't matter. If these women could launch, operate a boat, and catch fish, "then so could I. "I began to love bass fishing and begged Chuck, "hissy-fit and all", to buy a bass boat. "It worked!". And by September of 1980, I found myself fishing my very first Bass n' Gal tournament. "It was on Toledo Bend, and I fished with Doris Canik of Many LA, the first day and the second day with Mary Ann Martin, Roland Martin's wife. "My first tournament win came in 1989 while fishing the St. Johns River in Florida. "It was during the spawning season and huge fish were on nests, "until, of course, the front blew in! I had managed to catch only two bass the first day, but they were both five pounders, so I led the event with about ten pounds. "The final day, I remember Chris Houston -(Jimmy Houston's wife)- was fishing just across the creek from me. "I tried not to watch as she caught one fish after another, as by noon I still hadn't had my first bite. "Stumped, nervous, bored, and very frustrated, I began eating a chocolate candy bar and started casting a Smithwick Rattlin' Rogue to a submerged tree-top. "I twitched it, took a bite, twitched it, took another bite, and twitched the lure again, waited 45 seconds to finish my candy bar, then twitched it again, "SWOOSH", the most "GOSH-AWFUL" explosion of water & spray suddenly gobbled up my lure. "Please be there, I remember thinking as I set the hook. "After the final weigh-in, I called home to tell Chuck that I had only caught one bass, and he started to console me with, "Well honey, you tried your best,.. "but wait a minute honey, I quickly interrupted, my bass weighed over 6 pounds and "I WON THE TOURNAMENT!!!! "My first time National Win was a very exhilarating experience and a "much" treasured lifelong memory.

"This was the era of the Bass n' Gals, Kathy advised, "as before Bass N" Gals there was nothing for women anglers to join, or enjoy fishing in the competitive realm of Bass tournaments as they were all men events back then, so, Sugar Ferris, or "Shug" as we all call her, coordinated the "first ever" all women's bass fishing circuit that quickly became the National Bass Fishing Circuit for the woman angler, which was aired "LIVE" on "Good Morning America, with Paula Zahn, as the Bass N'Gal's were competing at the '93 Woman's World Bass Championship on the Mississippi River in St. Luis, MO.

"The Bass N'Gals folded in '97, (a very sad happening) and now the WBFA (Woman's Bass Fishing Association)- is taking over. A very good organization, the WBFA provides the tools for women to get involved with to learn the ropes about how to become a Professional Bass angler, as they get a chance to meet & fish with some of the finest women anglers in the world. "A new angler, or amateur, can fish these events with an inexpensive fee that will allow her to fish with a different Pro each day. "No where else can you find a better bargain as being able to "fish and learn" from the absolute best for a three day cost of just $150, which is far less than hiring a fishing guide for just one day at $280. "I mean,... do the math!!

Even though I support woman's Professional bass fishing, I also promote family fishing as an outdoor family sport, "because there are a lot of men out there who want to take their wives, or girlfriends, fishing with them, and they come to me at the outdoor shows to have me tell their wives, or girlfriends, that they "ought" to go fishing with them. "Well,.. I can't make their wives/girlfriends go fishing with them if they don't want to." I guess one of my major goals in life is to explain to women that it is not just a "quote" Man's Sport anymore as catching an 8 lb bass is not really that hard, or even catching a 10 lb bass isn't hard, if you really want something hard go out and catch a Marlin that weighs hundreds of pounds, "now that takes a lot of strength. "Bass fishing is a more relaxed sport that's more in tune with nature.

Case in point, a former fishing partner from PA, had never caught a big bass before. She was extremely shy & introverted, but she managed to catch the largest bass of the tournament. The wind was blowing hard and I could hardly hold the boat as we drifted over shallow moss flats when the big bass took her Rattletrap. After we boated the monster, she was afraid to even touch the fish. "It was really comical until she began to cry. I asked her what was wrong and she sighed that she was just so happy to have caught such a big fish. I've had many women catch the biggest bass of their lives in my boat, and end up in tears of joy. It's comical to have to hug someone and console them over catching such a big fish. I bet the tournament "guys" would get a big laugh out of this....but hey, it's a woman thing as we're still women, Kathy grins, explaining that we still exchange recipe's, tell stories, and pass the family photos around, as Pro's & Amateur's alike become just like one big family when we all get together at these different tournament events to fish & compete against each other. "The competitive edge is "always" there during the tournament, Kathy emphasized, "but we are all just one big "happy" family before and after each event.

I think the outdoors woman of today is very different from those of the past, Kathy informs, as the numbers are far greater now that women are not afraid to join in on outdoor adventures from rock climbing, to camping, hiking, biking, and yes, fishing. I've often wondered why fishing was once considered a "man's sport" until I recall as a child fishing in Galveston Bay that there was no such thing as sun-screen, so a lady would "fry" and have leather-like skin, and the rod and reels were big, heavy, bulky things, "but now, with the fishing tackle companies factoring in ergonomics, and with equipment being slimmed down and contoured for more comfortable fits, it makes them perfect for women's smaller hands. "Back then, Boats had to be hand launched and "man-handled" on and off boat-trailers, but today, we have drive-on trailers and electric tilt and trim. In the old days, there was no outdoor clothing for women, so we had to wear old shabby pants and shirts. "But today, there are stores & catalogs full of women's outdoor clothing. The outdoors has opened up to women as women are warming up to the outdoors. They no longer stay home alone on weekends but now join the family fun as fishing has become a "one-size-fits-all" sport.

"A "most" memorable experience, Kathy recalls, "was being a guest on the "Kathy Lee and Regis National TV Show" in Branson MO. "While, waiting with my two daughters in the green room, someone came in, but I didn't look up as I was scanning over the beverage tray that the show provided for us. The person walked up to my side and asked, "Oh, what do we have here? "I quickly answered with "we have some fruit juices and sodas, which would you like I answered while turning around to look up. "I quickly froze as I looked up into the eyes of Mel Gibson! "I was there to promote the Sport of Women's Professional Bass fishing and Mel was there to promote his new movie "Brave Heart." Thinking back on it now I'm pretty sure that Mel still has some "friendly" bruises from when I, and my two screaming daughters, forced him to the couch to squeeze in on him for some pictures....."LOTS OF PICTURES!!! "Mel Gibson is a very nice man, "and I surely hope is still a very good friend......."Hi Mel"......"REMEMBER US?

"Another exciting experience occurred when I was "lucky enough" to get teamed up with George W. Bush, before he became the Governor of Texas, as we were fishing a Fund Raiser Tournament on Lake Athens, TX. "We spent the day fishing together and remarked about all the wonderful outdoor scenery that was around us. "I found that Mr. Bush was very "in-tune" with nature, and I certainly feel that "WHEN" he is our next U.S. President that it will be a good day for all of us who love and appreciate the great outdoors. "Some people talk about conservation and never mean it, but I felt that Mr. Bush meant exactly what he said and will do the right thing when it comes time for him to do so. "He's definitely going to get my vote".

"A funny incident?" Kathy responds to my curious notebook,..."well, let me think,.."Oh yeah, she giggled, "once, while fishing up on a lake in Missouri, it was very important to monitor the lake level at all times in order to know what lures to throw and where to look for the fish to be holding. "A falling lake pulls fish to points, Kathy advised, and a rising lake pushes them back into shallows, "so, in a moment of sheer genius, and "vivid blushing-recall" I took a magic marker and put a small line on the side of the dock where the water level was. "Then each day I would check it to see if the lake level was rising or falling, and finding that the lake level was staying the same, I then determined the lake was stabilized and not falling as some of the other "Gals" were saying, and stubbornly maintained my fishing pattern -"UNTIL"- on the final morning I suddenly realized that I was marking a FLOATING BOAT DOCK!

A spokesperson for the Women's Sport-fishing Foundation, Kathy gives credit to the girl-scouts, church groups, and family togetherness that she enjoyed during her Galveston Island childhood for providing the roots of becoming the Outdoors Woman that she is today. A National Bass Champion, Kathy Magers, now commands a $1,500 fishing seminar fee for maximum exposure sponsor products, which includes the high performance Champion Bass Boat that she operates. Kathy also coordinates "hands on" work-shops for women, "and men, who want to learn the "how-tos" of fishing, boating safety and boat handling, "Most women have that helpless "at-the-dock feeling" and don't know what to do, Kathy informs, "we teach them how to be helpful, how to drive the boat in case of an emergency, how to back the trailer at a ramp, and other safety issues, etc. "We have never advertised, but the class fills up by word of mouth, mostly from husbands calling and saying "I want my wife to take your course, as I'm tired of doing ALL the work!" Classes are usually held in June on Lake Joe Pool in Arlington, TX, with "launch & munch" on site" as we do hands-on boat driving classes after lunch.

When asked what her most memorable memory of todays fishing trip would be, she smiled a "Kathy Mager's smile and states "most likely that beautiful peach/grey sunrise with wispy fog, the feeding heron, those squirrels arguing up a tree, "AND" that itty-bitty catfish.

For more information on Kathy Magers, the W.B.F.A., the Women's Sport-Fishing Foundation, or for her seminar schedules, contact WBFA Headquarters at - (205)-663-5243. The following -Bio- will give you some very interesting insights on this amazing woman of the outdoors who has helped to elevate the spirit & prestige of the Outdoors Woman "more so" than anyone else in the Professional Bass fishing industry.

PUBLIC RECOGNITION: Host:"OUTDOORS USA" TV Series - TNN, Women's National Champion (Bass'n Gal & Women's Bass Fishing Assn.) 13-Time Classic Qualifier, Spokesperson, Women's Sportfishing Foundation, Freelance Outdoor Writer/Photographer, Member Outdoor Writers of America and Texas Outdoor Writers Assn., Fishing Instructor, TP&W Certified Boating Safety Instructor, Seminar Speaker, Product Spokesperson, Lure Designer/Manufacturer (EZ Rig,).
HOMETOWN: Waxahachie, Texas (near Dallas)
FAMILY: Husband: Chuck, Two married daughters - Dana and Angie
SPONSORS: Mercury Marine, Champion Boats, Farrow's Catalog - Women's Outdoor Clothing, Costa Del Mar Eyewear, Eagle Electronics and EZ Rigs.

BIGGEST LARGEMOUTH BASS: 10 lb. 8 oz. Largemouth caught on Lake Fork, TX -
RECORD SMALLMOUTH BASS: Caught Bass'Gal Circuit Smallmouth Record, 6 lb. 3 oz. - Pickwick, AL

FAVORITE TECHNIQUE: Pitching jigs on wood for big bass. Specialty: Carolina Rig technique. Designed and patented a Carolina rig accessory ("EZ Rig") introduced Jan. '98.

MEMORABLE CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

Host: "OUTDOORS USA" The Nashville Network (TNN) 72million homes) (Only female hosted show in TNN's outdoor programming)

Past Host: "Fishing Stories" TV Series -(Prime Network - 18 million homes))
Guided Texas Gov. W. George Bush

Record Holder: Bass'n Gal Nat'l Circuit - Largest Smallmouth caught during national event, 6 lb. 3 oz.
Guest: "Regis & Kathie Lee"- NBC Guided Regis Philbin (Humorous 6 minute video aired on show.)
"CBS This Morning" - Interviewed by Paula Zahn

Profiled in REEL WOMEN (by Lyla Foggia) History of women's contributions to the sport of Fishing
FOX SPORTS SW - TV Guest of legendary baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan on his Fall Fishing Special
National Boating Course for Women - Course Instructor / Certified Boating Safety Instructor
Supports Kid's Fishing Programs (Hooked On Fishing, Kid Fish, Casting Kids, Future Fisherman Fnd.)
Women's Sportfishing Assn. - Spokesperson and Board Member


Not all memories need to be big ones

Working grass-beds is like pulling weeds
< photos by Ed Snyder >

Kathy Majors with WBFA catch

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