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© Garry Mason's "Legends of the Outdoors" : Hosted & Maintained by Outdoor Resources, LLC
Dianna Clark

Fishing became an important part of my life as a very young child. My earliest memories of fishing were when my grandfather took me down a steep creek bank, set me down, and showed me how to put a worm on a hook. Once that part was mastered it was all easy from there. Family fishing trips in later childhood instilled the concepts of enjoyment of fishing along with teaching me to appreciate and respect nature.

During my teen years , I spent many of my summer mornings fishing on "farm ponds" in Texas where I grew up. Fishing adventures with my family and friends on many wonderful creeks and lakes helped me developed beginning skills of fishing. When I made my move to Tennessee after retiring from the United States Army I had never realized how beautiful Tennessee waters were, nor little did I know the adventures in fishing experiences I was about to enjoy. I soon met a gentleman by the name of Harvey Clark who showed me how great fishing really is on Tennessee waters.

During my first years of fishing Tennessee waters I have caught a 9 pound 1 ounce largemouth bass. Among several fish that we have caught and released over the last fifteen years there was no tracking the amount of four to eight pound bass caught. After so many years of producing such wonderfully large fish, one would only think the action would take a dive, but not so.

More excitement came my way than when I started fishing Tennessee waters, and that was the thrill of competitive bass fishing against other women. I will never forget the morning of my first ladies tournament. The sun had not yet come up, the skies were still filled with stars. Every women was in their boat, patiently waiting for that first voice to sound and say "Ladies, would you please stand for the prayer and playing of the National Anthem." Everyone stood up. After the blessing the fireworks erupted in the sky, as the National Anthem began to play. I placed my hand across my heart and stood with great pride and happiness. After sitting back down and slipping on the life jackets, the next sound was "Ladies start your motors." I could really feel the butterflies in my stomach, just waiting for my number to be called for my boat to launch.After what seemed to like an eternity, but was only a matter of minutes, they called my number. I opened up the throttle as if the start of a NASCAR race had just taken place.

The thrill and excitement had me hooked. Fishing had become not only a hobby, but also one of the most important parts of my life. As a women competitor I had been fishing for years before I had discovered that there was a special place for women bass anglers. It's a place where I feel comfortable for the first time, and have a sense of belonging. I wanted to share this with every young lady and woman I met.I wanted them to know the pleasures of the great outdoors, the sight of a beautiful sunrise on the water, of the wildlife I see, and the excitement of seeing the Majestic bald eagles flying above your head. Fishing that just takes your breath away with great beauty. I just want to share everything I've learned, and get more young ladies and women to fish. Competitive fishing is a good thing but we must remember how we got where we are, where we came from, and the special people in our lives who helped us get here.

Now we must pass on what we know today to develope other lady anglers. The future of women's bass fishing is in our hands. If we are to continue doing what we enjoy we must become better at helping other young ladies explore the great outdoors and what it has to offer. Success comes with great sacrifice. It takes time and a lot of practice. We have to give of ourselves to ensure the continuity of the sport. Girls, young ladies, and women should never sell themselves short from enjoying the great adventures.The pleasures and rewards are out there for all of us to enjoy, and no human being should have to miss these opportunities. One could only wonder what direction I would have taken or the experiences I may have missed if someone special had not led me down that steep creek bank long ago.

So remember parents, next time you step out to go fishing, hunting, or camping don't leave out that little special girl in your life.

Thanks for reading, Dianna

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