The Women in Professional Bass Fishing Today – Where Are They?

I had surgery last week and couldn’t fish or drive, so I was working on the website and talking to some friends on Facebook while watching some live tournament coverage, and the subject of why we don’t see many women fishing in professional bass events came up.

It really made me think because I hadn’t paid as much attention to this as I should have.

I decided to contact some old friends in professional bass fishing both male and female and get their thoughts on it, and I think you’ll be surprised at what some of them said.

First, in case you weren’t aware it, women haven’t always been allowed to fish B.A.S.S. events.

The first woman to compete in a co-ed B.A.S.S. tournament was Vojai Reed. She fished the 1991 Missouri Invitational and finished 58th! not bad, but it wasn’t anything to indicate that women were going to win a lot of Bassmaster Angler of the Year awards or start taking home Bassmaster Classic trophies

And as of 2018, they haven’t!

I had a tackle store, guide service, and a radio show at the very beginning of the internet.

I had been involved in the old Redman Tour where I met a lot of anglers who are fishing at a professional level today, and I had opened Bass Pro shops in Harrisburg, Pa where I did seminars for TTI Blackmore, allowing me to associate with a lot of professionals in bass fishing. I contacted Andre Moore,who had Reaction Innovations and started carrying his baits, and interviewing him on the radio shows.I was at the Classic when he proposed to Kim Bain on stage.

I thought, how perfect is this, a team like that fishing the Classics together, she will go far.

Kim Bain-Moore was the first woman to compete in the Bassmaster Classic. She qualified by winning the 2008 Women’s Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year title. In the Classic, she finished 47th out of 51 anglers. It was her first and last!

Pam Martin-Wells became the second woman to fish the Classic. Like Kim Bain-Moore, she qualified after winning the 2009 WBT AOY award. She finished 22nd out of 51 anglers in the Classic.Pam Martin-Wells is easily the most accomplished female angler in B.A.S.S. history.Martin-Wells ranks 123rd on the B.A.S.S. all-time prize money list with $308,321.14. Ninety-nine percent of that was earned through the WBT or in her one and only Classic appearance.

After the dissolution of the WBT in 2011 no woman has even come close to qualifying for the championship.

Janet Parker came pretty close to qualifying for the Elites in 2011.

Sabrina Thompson was profiled a while back on a local news station in Texas, she is a Pro Angler and was participating in that weekend’s Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Opens.

So why is that a big deal?

She was the first black woman ever to compete in the bass fishing tournament.

She serves as the Vice President of the International Federation of Black Bass Anglers, and has a non-profit organization “Texas Wrangling Anglers”, where she teaches women and children the basics of fishing.

Having been involved in bass fishing in the Northeast, and traveling across the country bass fishing and guiding, for more than 30 years, I had a chance to get to know a lot of professional anglers, both male and female, I spent time with Judy Wong at the Classic, I was there at Christie Bradley’s first tournaments on the Potomac river, so I had high hopes of seeing a women win the Class or FLW tour.

Christiana Bradley posted a fourth place finish at the Bass Pro Shops Southern Open on Douglas Lake, making B.A.S.S. history.

It was the best finish ever by a woman in a co-ed B.A.S.S. event, beating Dianna Clark’s fifth place finish on the Red River at a 2010 Open.

I took Mary Divincenti, Women’s Bassmaster Classic champion, out prefishing for the FLW and had her on my radio shows, so I was expecting a great deal from these women in professional bass fishing, given the fact that things were changing in bass fishing for women and I knew some of them personally, which is what prompted me to contact the top female and male anglers today and see what their thoughts were on why this hasn’t happened.

Here’s what they said when I asked “Why Don’t We See More Women Fishing At A Professional Level Today?”

I think with the popularity of the sport growing you will see women fishing at the highest levels soon. With the high school and college programs growing at the rate they are it’s getting girls involved at earlier ages which lets them spend more time on the water to learn. Until now the guys that have done well at the professional level have many years of fishing experience with fathers, grandfathers, uncles or friends. This time on the water gives them a huge advantage over women. With women getting involved much younger and seeing a viable profession they can invest their time and effort in it will draw women to the sport.

Matt Herron

I would say it is just the mathematical percentages. There are probably some great woman anglers, but for every one of them there are literally tens of thousands of great male anglers. That’s why no women qualify for the Elites. The first one will make a solid half million a year if she sells it! We shall see.

Chad Pipkens

Statistics show that women anglers is a growing number.

Your question is why the number of competitive women anglers isn’t larger?

Personally, my story started with a family that fished, a husband who fished and now is supportive of my competing in the Lady Bass Anglers (LBAA) and before that as a co-angler in the Bassmaster Women’s Pro Tour (WBT).

I started fishing tournaments with my husband, back in the mid 80’s. I was very comfortable fishing with my husband. But, I do admit, that the first time he asked me if I’d fish a team tournament with him, I wasn’t sure the other men would welcome a lady angler. I admit, I was wrong and I was very welcomed and later my husband became known as “Martha’s husband.”?

Making the change to fishing in a draw tournament was huge for me. Since my husband and I always fished together, I was concerned about going out with other anglers, male or female. Having a female tour (WBT) was the opportunity I needed. With that, I started fishing the BFL, and ABA Opens (both as a co-angler and a boater). Now I fish as a Pro/Boater with Lady Bass Anglers.


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