Local girl making waves in fishing tournaments
Briana Tucker spends a lot of her days in a way that is far different from most others her age. Unlike most 17-year-old high school seniors, she spends the majority of her free time on the water fishing.
Tucker competed in her first fishing tournament with her grandfather, Jim Garrie, when she was only eight years old, and the experience led her to continue down the path of a future professional angler.
“The first tournament I fished in we won, and that really helped my interest,” she said. “I have been doing it ever since; the competition is amazing.”
Tucker said her grandfather has been fishing his whole life, and he and his brother have competed in major tournaments before.
That love of the sport seems to have rubbed off on the young woman, who spent the first two days of this week out on the water honing her craft.
“Having Wheeler Lake and Pickwick Lake so close makes it easier to practice since so many events are held on the Tennessee River,” she said.
Female anglers are much less common than their male counterparts in tournaments, which was initially a bid of a hurdle for Tucker.
“Girls are a minority in the sport, so when one of us does well we are very supportive of each other,” she said. “When I started competing some guys were not very receptive at all, but now most realize we are competitive and just as good as they are.
“There has been a big change with accepting women, and we are all pretty much a family now that I’ve grown up with the guys. I love the camaraderie in the sport, and everyone is so supportive and helps each other out.”
Tucker attends Hartselle High School, but she and her family live in Lawrence County. The young woman is able to fit her schoolwork in around the competitions she enters because of a certain opportunity afforded her by the school.
“I’m blessed with my senior year because I’m taking all my classes online,” Tucker said. “I get to go practice whenever I want to so long as I keep my schoolwork balanced.”
Being able to work in all this practice time is a good thing, because Tucker is already competing in tournaments around the Southeast.
“I have fished in a lot of different trails, like FLW and Fishers of Men,” she said. “It requires a lot of traveling, but my parents are very supportive.
“A lot of times we don’t get a lot of practice, and some events are back to back and across states, so we push to get there. I’m blessed enough to be able to go.
“I try to compete in any tournament I can. Competing in tournaments is what gets you better when it comes to fishing.”
One of the biggest challenges of competing in fishing tournaments is also part of the allure; you never know how things will turn out from one event to the next or even day-to-day sometimes.
“You’ll win one Saturday, and the next tournament is completely different,” Tucker said. “I was eighth at Guntersville qualifying for the national championship, but I won an event earlier on Pickwick in Florence.”…Read More