Written by Tierra Goldston
In honor of Black History Month, I felt that it would be a great idea to highlight African Americans who are trailblazing in our beloved sport. As many of you know the pandemic has allotted us plenty of time to find new passions and adventures, and this was no different for Gia Peebles. As a black woman and entrepreneur Peebles knew all about dedication and overcoming challenges in her professional life, but never imagined how that would translate into the context of fishing. As a native of North Carolina, she attended the annual Big Rock Fishing Tournament in Beaufort. She noticed that women of all ages were participating but there were no women of color. This inspired her to call on four of her friends, who are also mothers and business owners, to start a fishing team. In an interview with Caroline Biggs of Martha Stewart Publications, Peebles stated this about her team selection, “I said to myself, ‘We can do this. I already know accomplished women who are leaders and know how to win in other aspects of their lives—we can do this.”
Peebles recruited Lesleigh Mausi, Glenda Turner, Bobbiette Palmer, and Tiana Davis. In the same interview she also told Biggs, “Our mission is to create an elevated lifestyle brand anchored in nautical sportsmanship and fine outdoor living while modeling the strength, balance, and resilience of Black women.” From their inception they went on to take first place in the King Mackerel division of Carteret County College Foundation’s Spanish Mackerel and Dolphin Tournament. They take pride in researching their competition, strategies, types of fish, and even the water they will be fishing in. They have let their business instincts fuel a lot of the tactics they use to competitively fish, all while strengthening their sisterhood.
Finally, they have made sure that their newly found passion expands beyond themselves. They have launched Black Girls Fish (BGF) and Black Boys Boat (BBB) as non-profit efforts to educate Black youth on fishing. They feel that “Leadership and survival skills are nurtured as young people discover self-sufficiency and connection with the outdoor lifestyle” (Palmer). These ladies have taken initiative to educate and immerse themselves into a space where they are underrepresented. They have also taken it upon themselves to make sure that the fishing industry has more diversity for the next generation. Congratulations to these ladies for making history in less than a year! Happy Black History Month!
*For the full interview on the emerging Ebony Anglers you can check here: https://www.marthastewart.com/8035667/ebony-anglers-competitive-fishing-team
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