By Grace Caldwell
I have been raised in a competitive, outdoors focused family. The members of my family have been hunting and fishing for generations. I have only been fishing in tournaments for 16 months. My brother, Noah, has always been the family fisherman. He began at a very early age and continues to fish competitively today. Noah is the one who has brought a love of the sport to our family and made fishing a part of our lifestyle.
I traveled with our family as Noah fished the tournaments, my Mom and I would visit local shops while he fished his tournaments. My participation in sports has always focused on softball, cheerleading and volleyball. After helping my brother start the Berkeley Springs High School fishing team, I realized that I shared his passion for the sport. I would help with preparations for tournaments, food, and fundraisers and then one day I decided that I wanted to fish too. I felt I could do this. I started catching fish and fell in love with the competition and excitement during weigh-ins.
I was hooked. I would soon become the first female to fish in our high school-based tournament and that was a great honor for me. During my sophomore year, I teamed up with another female fishing partner, Katie, and a boat captain that we love named Norman and it has been “game on” ever since. My partner and I have placed in the top three in just about every tournament we have participated in. We placed third in the West Virginia state tournament out of 37 teams. I was also honored to be chosen as a Bassmaster High School All-State recipient for West Virginia.
My goal is to show other young girls that it is okay to be a role model. Fishing is more than just fishing and to understand this you have to experience it. I have been blessed to have several fantastic role models in my life that have taught me the ins and outs of the sport and I want to pass that on to the next generation of young anglers. My high school fishing team has had such a terrific year and it just makes us want to do so much more to continue to advance. The team was awarded first place in the Berkeley Tackle Challenge and received an award of $4,500 in tackle and gear. We are a small team that has to work for each and every piece of equipment and this will go a long way to providing support for the team. Until the next time we can use a fisherman’s favorite phrase “Fish On”!