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By Jennifer Stelly, Louisiana Pro Angler March 2018

I have fished professionally for about 30 years … I’m not one of those girls that goes and “wears ‘em out” every time… There have been good days, and I mean some really good days... And then there are those days when I couldn’t get a bite at all. Hey! We all have those days. I grew up in a small town in the southwest corner of Louisiana. In 10 minutes I can go fishing, crabbing, shrimping, hunting, or just take the boat out for a trip around the lake. My parents love the outdoors and always made sure my sisters and I were able to enjoy it also. My dad had a 14 foot jon boat with a 5.5 hp outboard. He and Mom would load all three kids and an ice chest in the boat and we would go fishing, sitting for hours seems like. Fishing with shiners that had died because we had played with them, or trying to catch the crickets after one of us dumped them out in the boat... It’s what we did… We were kids. My mom and dad just wanted to fish. As adult life started with a career, marriage, kids etc., I fished as often as I could. Bass fishing at Toledo Bend or chasing big red fish in Big Lake, trying to keep up my skills and my love for the sport. There is nothing like throwing a trick worm against a laydown and hooking a big fish. One of my proudest moments was when my son asked if I would team up with him to fish a few team events. At the time he was only 13. We had a blast. And since then my daughter and her family all love to fish and hunt too. I wouldn’t trade that for anything. They all just want to fish. The ladies professional tournament tours have given me a spark to keep the fishing fire going for me… There have been times when I wanted to quit. I’ve had people tell me that I could take some really extravagant vacations for the money I spend traveling to and from the lakes all across the country. My answer is this. If I quit, I’m not helping the future of the women’s fishing. Sure, they will continue on without me. But numbers is what we need. If I quit, will I take the vacations to all the exotic places that are out there? Probably not. There is always an excuse for not going somewhere. I could quit. But what about the people I have met through these years? My best friend lives 400 miles away. We talk or text on a daily basis. We met back in the days of Bass’n Gal. She doesn’t fish competitively now, but was a force in her day. All the ladies and their families are a close knit bunch. I wouldn’t have met these people if it weren’t for fishing. If I quit, I will miss my next fishing lesson from my co-angler. It happens to me every tournament. I learn something new each time. Think about it. I don’t want to quit. I Just Want to Fish! I know this is not your typical how-to fishing blog. When I was asked to contribute something, I decided it should just be a few of the things that have been running through my head lately. I don’t have any secret skills or lures to divulge to you. I hope it hasn’t been too boring for you. My best advice is to Just Go Fishing!!

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