Lakecaster Online

Of Bass and Gals

Although I love fishing any time of the year, when spring arrives, it's hard to think of anything I'd rather do. Spring in Louisiana and East Texas can be anywhere from early January through April, depending on how cold our winter has been. This year we've had a very mild winter, which brings on an early spawn.

Twenty years ago, you would never have been able to convince me that I'd love fishing as much as I do today. Raised around water and boats all my life, as a young girl I never fished. However, my family spent lots of time in the outdoors, so I grew up with an appreciation for nature.

When I met and married my husband, I had to learn how to bass fish if I wanted to spend time with him. An avid fisherman, he was willing to help me learn. I am very grateful that he was such a patient teacher.

There are some women out there whose "How I Learned to Fish" stories are very similar to mine. I'd like to introduce you to a very special friend of mine, Nobie Jo LeBert, who recently took first place on the Co-Angler side of the FLW Everstart Series tournament recently held on Toledo Bend.

Attractive, and quiet-spoken, it might be hard for people who do not know her to believe this lady has fished against many of our country's finest men and women professional anglers, and made quite a name for herself. I'm sure several of the anglers fishing in the Everstart event looked at Nobie and thought, "What does she think she's doing here?"

Before I give you Nobie's Toledo Bend success story, let me share with you a brief history of her fishing experiences. She started fishing 12 years ago with her husband, mostly white bass and catfish. They dabbled in black bass fishing now and then, and finally decided to join a local bass club to learn more. A couple of years after learning to fish, Nobie joined the Bass 'N Gal organization, a National Bass tournament tour for women anglers.

Nobie says this was quite an experience in more ways than one, but her main obstacle was versatility. Like most of us, before fishing professionally, she primarily fished a couple of local lakes, and was pretty set in her style of bass fishing. She shares, "Today, I feel very confident with just about any bait, except a deep-diving crankbait, but I'm working on that."

Nobie's resume, since her early bass fishing days, is quite impressive. Aside from finishing in the top 10 all five years of her membership in the Gulf States Bass Club, she and her Angler's Choice Couples partner had an outstanding four years. They finished in 2nd place their first year and won the championship two years in a row! She and her husband have also teamed up in several local tournaments and done quite well. Nobie is quick to say, "It's always helped to have his support, especially during those times when I was running the roads by myself. Because of work, or other commitments, he couldn't always travel with me, but he's always my biggest cheerleader. Without that, it's difficult to maintain your concentration level and avoid stress."

When I asked Nobie to explain the strategy she used to come out on top at the Toledo Bend Everstart event, she quietly stated, "I only practiced one day, just a couple of days before the tournament. I figured since I was a no-boater, it would be of no use to practice much, but I wanted something to fall back on."

She went on to share the details of the four days which lead her to victory. "I managed to catch two nice fish the first day for a total of 6 lbs. 6 ozs. My second-day weight was a little more impressive and totaled 12 lbs. 4 ozs. This gave me a two-day total of 18 lbs. 10 ozs., which helped to make it through the first top 30 cut for the third day."

"A cold front came through for the third day of the event. My partner's fish were located way north, but strong winds and head-high waves forced us to use another game plan. I suggested that we fish straight across from the launch site. Although I hadn't been to this area in over a year, I've had great success there in early spring. I managed to bring a 10 lb. limit to the scales that day, which qualified me for the top 10 cut, and the final round. I was thrilled because, even if I didn't get a bite on the fourth day, I was going to make at least $1,200 for last place!"

"As luck would have it, my fourth day partner, and fishing friend, was Paul Eason of Brookeland TX. We covered a lot of water at the south end of the lake that day, each caught our limit, and culled at least four times. My total weight that day was 14 lbs. 3 ozs., which helped me to cinch First Place and a beautiful trophy!"

Nobie went on to say that she and her husband, who also fished in the event, were impressed with the Everstart operation from start to finish. Nobie was asked by the tournament director to tell the women in the audience why they should fish the FLW Everstart circuit. She explained, "The co-angler (amateur) doesn't have to run the trolling motor or big motor, and you don't even have to locate fish. All you have to do is concentrate on catching them!" She went on to say, "I've fished many draw tournaments and everyone I've drawn has been great to be with in the boat. I'd recommend it to anyone, not just the Everstart circuit, but any Pro/Am circuit I've ever fished in."

Unlike most sports in which we become involved in our lifetime, fishing is something you can do forever. Competitive angling is not for everyone, but I don't think I know anyone who ever enjoyed fishing and was able to give it up altogether, especially when spring arrives!

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