Lakecaster Online

Tight Lines
By Sue Crochet

Hi! My name is Sue Crochet and I'm from Longville, LA .. about 20 miles north of Lake Charles. I began fishing with my husband 17 years ago and since that time, have become an avid bass angler. I'd like to share some of my experiences and goals with you and hope that in some way, I might help you to become a better angler or find answers to questions you might have.

I spent several years soaking up everything I felt I needed to know about the sport of bass fishing. This included how to use open-face baitcasting reels, what kinds of rods to use with different baits, how to read a map, staying on top of weather conditions, adapting to changing weather conditions and seasons, and so on.

While team fishing with my husband on the Hydrosport tournament trail, I was exposed to my first Bass 'N Gal tournament. These gals were fishing their tournament the same time we were practicing for our tournament on Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas. At that time, I was still learning how to bass fish and didn't even know how to operate a boat, but the idea of fishing in an all-women's tournament was very exciting to me!

Shortly after that, with the encouragement of my husband, I became a member of Bass 'N Gal and fished my first tournament on Lake Fork in Texas, as a non-boater. This was a very humbling, but rewarding, experience. Humbling because I really thought I knew enough to place or win. Boy was I wrong! Rewarding because in spite of my poor showing, I learned a lot from this experience. One, I had a lot more to learn and two, I wanted to do it again! I loved the excitement and competition of tournament angling and I had the privilege and pleasure of fishing with two of the best-known lady anglers on the tour at that time; Kathy Magers and Vogai Reed. These ladies demonstrated the need to be prepared, to be patient, to know your equipment, to concentrate, and most importantly, to have confidence in your ability. I realized I had only some of these things and NONE of others, but I wasn't going to give up!

That seems like eons ago and my love for this sport has grown by leaps and bounds. My husband and I have team fished in the CAST and Angler's Choice Couples tournament trails, the Angler's Choice and Bass 'N Bucks Team tournament trails, and various other individual tournaments here and there.

Furthermore, through our success we were able to gain various product sponsors, including Bass Cat Boats and Mercury Marine, as well as lure sponsors. In November, 1995, I won the Bass 'N Gal early bird invitational on Toledo Bend, which qualified me for the 1996 Classic where I placed 10th. I earned abirth in my second Bass 'N Gal Classic in 1997 through the point system and placed 7th in that event. In 1998, I fished the WBFA tour and qualified for their National Championship on J. Percy Priest Lake, TN where I placed 15th overall.

Another wonderful thing which happened a couple of years ago was the formation of our local ladies fishing club, the Lake Area Lady Anglers. The club was formed in January, 1997 as part of the Bass 'N Gal affiliate organization. Our first year together was phenomenal! Our top four point qualifiers that year (including myself) represented our club at the Bass 'N Gal Affiliate Tournament of Champions on the Arkansas River.We finished in Second Place and brought a boat and trailer home! Of the six original members, five are still in the club, and we have picked up seven new members.

Since the Bass 'N Gal organization has dissolved, the Lake Area Lady Anglers have affiliated with WBFA and the ALBC (Association of Louisiana Bass Clubs).

What are the goals of a woman angler? I can only tell you that MY personal goals today are very different from what they were ten years ago. At that time, I could hardly wait until the day my children would be old enough for me to begin fishing on the women's national tour. Now that I've been able to do this for the last three years, I have decided to focus my efforts on the growth and development of our local bass club, spend more time fishing with my husband again, and on a more personal note, spend more time with my 5 grandchildren. Although I have thoroughly enjoyed traveling around the country to lakes I would probably never have fished otherwise, I now feel more drawn to helping the women in our area learn how to fish. There are so many women who love fishing and the outdoors, but cannot afford the luxury of fishing in a national circuit. Also, it's very exciting to work with new people, teach them the skills they need, and see them catch their first, and sometimes biggest, bass ever!

My husband and I will be team fishing again this year and re-acquainting ourselves with the many dear friends we made several years ago fishing in the Southeast Texas couples and team circuits. If it's money you're looking for, fishing the couples circuit is NOT where it's at. I can promise you this though, if you've never tried it, you are missing out on one of life's many joys and pleasures. If you enjoy fishing, meeting new friends that will last a lifetime, but still like the thrill of competition, you really need to find a couples fishing circuit to join!

On the other hand, there are lots of tournaments right here in Louisiana and Texas, and lots of money to be made, without having to travel great distances. From local fishing clubs by the hundreds to the FLW Everstart series, you can fish every weekend for nearly the entire year. Ladies ... that means you, too! I don't currently know of any circuits which exclude women. If you don't have your own boat, sign up as a non-boater or amateur. You can learn an awful lot, especially when you're first getting into tournament fishing, by fishing in the back of the boat and keeping your eyes open. Sometimes, the person in the back of the boat can be more successful that the person running the trolling motor, depending on the weather conditions. For the most part, experienced anglers love to share their knowledge and skills with anyone who has the sincere desire to learn.

As a parting thought, I would like to invite all you ladies out there to join the many women who will be fishing in the upcoming WBFA Pro-Am event on Toledo Bend Lake. The Pro-Am format provides an excellent opportunity for ladies who are relatively new to the sport of professional angling, to learn from ladies from all over the country who have been fishing professionally for many years. Additionally, the amateur entry fee is half that of the pro, but you still have a chance to win some good money fishing against the other amateurs.

The lake will be off limits from Monday, March 29th through Sunday, April 11th. The first of three days of practice will begin on Monday, April 12th and the first of three tournament days will begin on Thursday, April 15th.Each tournament day, you will be fishing with a different partner. You have a very good chance of drawing out with well-known professional lady anglers such as Sherrie Brubaker, Penny Berryman, or Janice Cheek, just to name a few. Anyone needing more information can contact me at (318) 725-3975.

Back to Lakecaster Online contents