Shaffer on Being a Woman Fisherman

Editor's Note: Emily Shaffer of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, won the 1995 Bass-N-Gal World Championship (the Classic of the women's bass-fishing circuit), and since has caught the largest bass ever weighed in at a Classic (male or female) weighing 9.01 pounds. In 2000, she won her first Women's Bass Fishing Association (WBFA) tournament.

Question: How did you get involved in bass fishing? Did you start fishing as a little girl?

Shaffer: I've always fished. I used to go fishing a lot with my dad and my brother. I met my husband in 1988 at a weigh-in at a tournament. He turned me into a tournament angler. I never dreamed you could get a check for catching fish. We started fishing in tournaments together. Then I started fishing female tournaments in 1991 off and on, and have fished in them ever since.

Question: Do you feel that this male-dominated industry of professional bass fishing has accepted you?

Shaffer: I've had a roller coaster ride. The older generation doesn't accept me as well as the younger generation. Really and truly, we all want the same thing. We just want to catch the fish. I consider the bass my competitor.

Question: What advice would you give to a woman who wants to fish professionally?

Shaffer: You need to start out on a local level. Start fishing in open tournaments in your area. Each person you fish with in those tournaments will teach you something new. Talk to your local tackle dealers. You can get a lot of information from tackle stores and local anglers. Once you reach your goals on a local level, you can compete on a state level. Then you can compete on the women's circuit or the FLW on a national level.

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