Lakecaster Online

WOMEN & THE OUTDOORS
By: Sue Crochet

As summer comes to an end, I'm really looking forward to some great fall bass fishing. Kids are back in school and hunters are headed up to their leases to prepare for opening week of whatever kind of hunting they enjoy. This will take a lot of pressure off our lakes and allow us diehard bass anglers to fish on our favorite spots without sharing them with 20 other people!

Although I've come to really enjoy the sounds of nature in the woods around me, the pounding of my heart when I see a deer, and the rush of taking my first deer of the season, bass fishing is my first love. There's something about being on the water that gives me a feeling that's hard to explain. The beauty of God's great creation and the awesomeness of it all brings me a sense of peace, but I also have a certain amount of excitement waiting to erupt when that first bass bites.

I know there are a lot of women who enjoy fishing and have never had someone to encourage or show them how to develop bass-fishing skills. When I decided to semi-retire from the women's professional bass-fishing tour, forming a local women's fishing club seemed like the natural thing to do. This gave me the outlet to maintain my competitive edge, as well as help other women learn to be better anglers. I get a great deal of pleasure seeing a woman grow in knowledge and skill, then move on to run their own boat and fish in the national tour.

The Lake Area Lady Anglers have been together for approximately 8 years now and we've seen members come and go. Although we are a southern Louisiana based club, we are now comprised of ladies from both Louisiana and southeast Texas. As an affiliate of the Women's Bass Fishing Association (WBFA), we are continually seeking to increase our membership while helping to grow the national organization. Through affiliate clubs, women enjoy meeting others who share enthusiasm for the outdoors and specifically, the challenge of catching largemouth bass. They also experience the thrill of competition and achievement by fishing in monthly club tournaments and earning points toward the annual Affiliate Club Championship.

I'd like to tell you about some of our members:

Like most of us, Tommie Domingue (Livingston, TX) has fished since she was a young girl. She is a retired school teacher, lives on Lake Livingston, and probably spends more time on the water than anyone I know. I met Tommie while fishing on the Bass 'N Gal tour many years ago and my life hasn't been the same since. She is a super angler and a wonderful friend, but most of all, she has skills that are unique to her, which have brought her much fishing success through the years.

Sarah Busby (Grand Lake, LA) joined our club about three years ago and at that time, had mostly fished with her husband. Having started my fishing career in much the same way, I know that Sarah had good, basic skills, but had not developed her own "style". She also had limited boat-handling skills. Well, that's old news now! Sarah has become a very versatile angler and can now operate her own boat. She has qualified for the Affiliate Club Championship two years in a row and was critical to our recent First Place win at Kentucky Lake, as well as our Second Place finish last year at Neely-Henry in Alabama.

Rayburn resident, Liz Lewis, has been a strong competitor in several bass-fishing circuits and clubs for many years. As you can imagine, living on one of the best fishing lakes in the country, she has spent plenty of time on the water, which gives her an edge like very few others in our club. We call her the Fluke Queen, because she can catch fish with that lure in almost any situation! Liz is probably the most quiet person in our club, but makes plenty of "noise" by bringing fish to the scales when no one else does.

Sandi Karnes (Livingston, TX) is our newest member and recently traveled with us to the Affiliate Club Championship as our Alternate. Having an alternate at these events is helpful for many reasons, but primarily as a fill-in if someone on the team gets sick. Most people who love to fish competitively wouldn't find this position very appealing, but Sandi jumped at the chance to come to Kentucky with us. I know everyone on the team agrees with me when I say that the trip wouldn't have been nearly as much fun or as successful without her there. Although she is just beginning to learn the art of bass fishing, Sandi is a skilled angler and was very helpful during the practice days at Kentucky Lake. I love the way she absorbs everything she sees in the boat and gets so excited for someone else when they do well. Every club should have a Sandi Karnes!

You all know about me, so I won't bore you with that old stuff. Suffice to say, my husband taught me to bass fish 22 years ago and I've had this "disease" ever since! Probably the one thing I could share with you when it comes to my role in the club is that I will do whatever it takes to keep it going. I have given a great deal of myself to make the club successful, but mostly I have made lifelong friends and learned the meaning of teamwork.

We have several more club members and each have their own unique qualities. I hope to share more about each one of them in the future, but wanted you to know a little about the group of individuals who earned the title WBFA 2004 National Affiliate Club Champions. If you are the slightest bit interested in learning more about our club and the WBFA, please give me a call at 337-217-9283 or e-mail me at cbasskitten2@cs.com. You can fish as our Guest as many times as you want before deciding whether or not you want to become a member. The only requirements are that you are female, 18 years of age or older, and like to have fun!

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The Lake Area Lady Anglers will hold their September, 2004 tournament at Toledo Bend on Saturday, September 18th. For more information, please contact Sue Crochet at the number or e-mail address above.

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