Written/Compiled by Tierra Goldston & Zoë DePreta
In honor of Women’s History Month, we have decided to highlight and honor some of the “firsts” for female anglers. Below is a list of some of the highlights, but this certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, and there are plenty more firsts that have yet to be had!
Kim, listed by Time magazine as the First Lady of Fishing, became the first woman to compete in the Bassmaster Classic in 2009. She qualified by winning the 2008 Women’s Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year title, and in the classic she finished 47th out of 51 anglers.
Sabrina is the first African American Woman to ever fish in the Bassmaster Opens in 2011. As a pro-angler this was a huge career move for her. Prior to this accomplishment she has served as the Vice President for the “International Federation of Black Anglers” in addition to acting as a Certified Angler Instructor for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Division.
While she was married to a well-known angler, Michael Lerner, Helen is known for creating a legacy for herself in this industry back in the 1950s. She was the first woman to catch a bluefin tuna in Europe and the first to catch a swordfish in Nova Scotia.
Vojai was the first woman to compete in a co-ed B.A.S.S. tournament, fishing the 1991 Missouri Invitational and finishing 58th. Vojai had not intended to make history, but the Corps of Engineers made a surprise announcement that the tournament’s permit would be revoked if women were not allowed to compete. Her husband Charlie (another highly accomplished professional bass fisherman) convinced talked her into it, and she ended up competing in six more B.A.S.S. events over the next year.
Kay Rybovich, Ginny Sherwood, and Denny Crowninshield: These three women founded the International Women’s Fishing Association (IWFA). They changed the game in 1955 by establishing this organization that ran global tournaments and establish a scholarship for women studying marine sciences!
Pam was the second woman to compete in the Bassmaster Classic, following Kim’s footsteps qualifying by winning the 2009 Women’s Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year title, but ultimately finishing 22nd out of 51 anglers in the Classic, making her arguably one of the most accomplished female anglers in history.
The first female angler to receive the Anglers Insight Marketing (AIM) Angler of the Year award. In 2012 she received this honor after scoring the most points over the course of the season. Her victory came down to the last event of the season, but she prevailed!
Addie is known in Casper, Wyoming for guiding tourists in the area and giving them one of the most unique fly-fishing experiences there is to offer. In addition to being a manager for Ugly Bug Fly Shop she hosted a historic women’s event in 2019 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the North Platte River. This event for women included yoga, guided fly-fishing, nutritionist-inspired dinners, and a cocktail clinic.
Yayi Bayam Diouf
Though Yayi Bayam Diouf was the 3927th person in Senegal to be granted a fishing license, this made her the first female angler in her community in 2017. Coming from a small traditional fishing community in Thiaroue-sur-Mer, the men of her village told her women could not fish, she made a case for herself after her son passed away. She now successfully runs a training center for women where they can access support and learn entrepreneurship skills.
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