Kristine Fischer doesn’t play the gender card when she competes in professional bass tournaments.
She wants to be known as a good angler, not a good woman angler.
She is fishing for equality in the pro game, and she is accomplishing her goal. Competing in kayak tournaments typically dominated by males, she is making a tsunami of waves.
Consider the recent Hobie Bass Open Series Tournament of Champions on Eufaula Lake in Alabama. Competing on a lake she had never seen before, she devised a game plan by doing her research.
That plan worked to perfection and she won the prestigious title, besting a field of 50 anglers, mostly male. She walked away with a check for $35,000 and new-found respect in the kayak fishing world.
Today, we’re going to shed light on her rise to stardom, her status as a role model for women anglers, and her thoughts on kayak fishing.
Remember, the next time someone tells you that you fish like a girl, just hope they’re referring to Kristine Fischer. This young lady can flat-out catch the big ones.
Read on, and we’ll tell you how. And don’t forget to fill out our survey and give us some feedback on how we’re doing. If you have a brag photo you want to share or a tip, just reply to this email and I’ll get it.
It’s time to shop until you drop. Here are some good deals. (Photo by Ron Hueston/B.A.S.S.)
Holidays Specials Worth Considering
Drop a few hints to your spouse. Tell her or him that you’d really want some more fishing equipment instead of a robe or socks this year.
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- Affordable electronics: Dick’s Sporting Goods has a sale on electronics worth checking out. The Humminbird Helix 5 Fish Finder is priced at $399.99. Regular price was $499.99.
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Kristine Fischer uses her Hobie kayak to sneak up on some giant bass. (photo courtesy of Kristine Fischer)
Raised In The Outdoors
The first thing you have to know about Fischer is that she grew up in a household without a TV.
It wasn’t that her parents couldn’t afford one. It’s that they considered a life in the outdoors far more enriching and educational than time in front a television.
Raised in Weeping Waters, Neb., in the southeast part of the state, she had plenty of water to fish and land to hunt.
“I have a photo of me fishing when I was 2,” said Fischer, who is 33. “I had this little rod and reel and I was out there trying to catch a fish.”
That passion for the outdoors led to a career. After graduating from college, she went to work in the fishing and hunting department of a sporting goods store. She guided on the side, taking clients to small bodies of water in the area.
She was a woman operating in a man’s world at the time, but that didn’t bother her.
“I never had a woman client,” she said. “It was all men.”
“But they treated me with respect and we caught fish, so everything was fine.”
When Fischer saw a flier advertising a kayak bass tournament, she acted on a whim. She bought a used sit-on-top, paddle-propelled fishing kayak and launched it for the first time in that tournament.
She finished third in that event against a field of 49 men, and she was on her way.
“I car-topped my kayak to the lake, and all the guys came up and wanted to help, which was nice,” she said. “But I was too proud to take it.
“I wanted to do things on my own, and it worked out. I was amazed at how easy that kayak was to fish out of.”
“A lot of people were shocked that I did so well. But I knew I could fish. It didn’t matter to me that the other fishermen were men.”
Kristine Fischer has advanced to the point where she can maneuver her kayak into spots where big smallmouth (shown here) and largemouth bass lurk. (Photo courtesy of Kristine Fischer)
Look At Her Now
Today, Fischer is a nomadic professional angler. She lives on the road, traveling from tournament to tournament.
She no longer has a permanent home; she stays with friends or in Air BnBs.
“I think I fished 25 tournaments this year,” she said. “I plan to do even more next year.”
She has found success, winning several competitions and finishing in the money in others. That has attracted 15 sponsors and a national following.
In short, she has come a long way in five years.
Fishing is now her full-time job and she leads a hectic lifestyle competing, promoting sponsors, doing videos for her YouTube channel and writing articles for national websites. But she is loving life.
“When I started fishing tournaments, a lot of times I was the only woman competing,” she said. “But I’m seeing other women involved in kayak fishing and even tournaments now, and that’s great.”
Fischer celebrated her championship in the Hobie Bass Open Series Tournament of Champions. (Photo courtesy of Kristine Fischer)
Celebrating Bass Fishing’s New Look
Fischer has mixed feelings when the public makes a big deal over her gender after she wins a tournament.
She believes her gender is just a distraction, not something that should be featured.
“When I finished third in a tournament of 150 fishermen, the media made a bigger deal over a woman placing that high than the guy who won the tournament, and that frustrated me,” she said. “I just wanted to be treated as an equal.”
But she embraces the feedback she has gotten from other women after winning the Hobie nationals.
“A lot of women reached out and told me how good it was for the sport,” Fischer said. “They told me how excited their daughters were to see a woman win a tournament like this.
“If I can help more women get involved in fishing, that’s a big thing. I always tell the girls I meet to follow their dreams.”
Kristine Fischer’s Hobie kayak is so stable that she can stand and fish shallow areas. (Photo courtesy of Hobie)
The Advantages of A Kayak
Kristine Fischer has adjusted to the lack of mobility that fishing out of a kayak presents.
When the fish aren’t biting, you can’t just revv up the big motor and head to another part of a big body of water. You’re pretty much stuck where you put in.
But Fischer says that has made her a better angler.
She has learned to dissect water and look for the subtle clues that nature gives as to where bass will locate.
“In early spring, for example, bass will push up into little areas so shallow that a bass boat just couldn’t reach them,” she said. “I think the bass feel protected in those spots, because they don’t get a lot of pressure.”
Stealth is another big plus. Fischer can sneak into an area without disturbing shallow bass. Her Hobie Pro Angler 14 360 kayak is a fishing machine. It is pedal, not paddle, powered and is stable enough that Fischer can stand while she casts or flips.
It is equipped with electronics, including LiveScope, so that Fischer can fish off-shore. And it has plenty of room for fishing tackle.
Fischer will take as many as 14 rods with her, 12 baitcasting and two spinning. She considers herself a power angler, so she often works shallow cover with a buzzbait, a spinnerbait, a Chatterbait, a square-billed crankbait or a jig.
Another feature is that kayaks are far more affordable than bass boat. Fischer doesn’t even own a regular boat. She is satisfied with her kayak.
Taking time to dissect an area can pay huge dividends. Fischer caught an 11-pound, 8-ounce largemouth on a creature bait on Headwaters Lake in Florida one January.
“I was fishing an area where a channel intersected with a roadbed,” she said. “There was sparse grass and I was burning a creature bait over the top of it.”
When Kristine Fischer isn’t targetting bass, she often is fishing for trophy muskies. (Photo courtesy of Kristine Fischer)
Targeting The big Ones
Fischer loves to talk about sleigh rides in the fall. But she’s not referring to the ones taken in a horse-drawn carriage.
She’s referring to the type that a big muskie can take her on when it tows her kayak.
“It’s wild,” she said. “Once you hook up with a big one, they’ll take you for a ride. You just hold on.”
Fischer has caught some true trophies. She measures them and lets them go.
She prefers spring and fall, when the big predators are most active. Even then, there are no guarantees.
Muskies are the fish nicknamed “the fish of 10,000 casts,” after all.
Fischer uses big baits to target big fish. In an article in Outdoor Life, she specified three of her favorites: the Chaos Tackle Medussa, the Muskie Mayhem Double Cowgirl, and the Joe Bucher Top Raider.
That’s it for now. I hope to see you on the water.