BassWestUSA - May/June 2009, Page 18

From Joe To pro

tend the Bassmaster Classic that she had heard about for so long, “Fishing the first couple of Open Championships gave me a but had yet to experience. little bit of experience down south. I wanted to know what other “The first Classic I ever went to was the year when Woo Daves kinds of fisheries were around the country, and I hadn’t fished much won. I remember walking into the arena and saying to myself, ‘Wow! in either the south or the east. So, I was pretty keen to check it I can’t believe all these people are here just to see guys weigh-in out.” fish!’ There were brass bands playing music, tens of thousands of people walking around, and the anglers were From FLW To WBT treated like rock stars. I was like, ‘Oh yeah, Kim’s ambition to further explore waters this is it… This is where I want to be!’” around the country led her to the FLW Tour in Excerpt from song titled, The Classic visit bolstered Kim’s ambi- 2004. She fished as an FLW co-angler for three “Woman” by Australian years. At the beginning of her rookie season, tion to become a professional angler. Over she met Andre Moore, a touring profession- the next two years, she continued to trek to rock band “Wolfmother” the U.S. west coast to fish. With an outgoing al and tackle entrepreneur, through mutual personality, she developed close friendships friends. They became friends almost immedi- “She’s a woman; with several prominent west coast anglers ately and started spending time together at You know what I mean. such as Bob Adkinson in Washington and the various tour stops. Andre and Kim quickly Mike O’Shea and Rich Tauber of California. fell in love, became engaged, and married a You better listen, Each angler provided a unique perspective couple years thereafter. Listen to me. on bass fishing and tournament strategy. In 2006, Kim decided to take on the pro- She’s gonna set you free, Their insight helped to accelerate her learn- fessional side of the newly formed FLW Series yeah, yeah, yeah.” while continuing with the co-angler side of ing and shaped her early career. the FLW Tour. Competing in different divi- sions of separate circuits was a greater chal- The WesTern opens lenge than she first expected. By 2003, Kim felt that she had gained “Fishing the FLW Series as a boater and the FLW Tour as a co- enough experience to enter the larger, higher-profile B.A.S.S. West- angler in the same year was difficult. It is a totally different change ern Open tournaments as an amateur. The decision would prove to in strategy going from fishing the back of the boat to the front of the be a fortuitous one. “That gave me a tremendous start to my career boat. So trying to do both in one year was definitely a challenge. because I was able to meet many great anglers, gain experience on That year, I wasn’t very successful at either part, and looking back different lakes, and learn the techniques that are used here in the on it, I would probably never do it again.” U.S. It provided me with a starting platform for my career. Coming A couple years later, Kim was fishing professionally on both the from a country that did not have largemouth, smallmouth or spotted FLW Tour and FLW Series, and had two full seasons under her belt. bass, I had a lot to learn.” She had become more comfortable with the roles and responsibili- As a rookie co-angler in the Western Opens, Kim became the first woman to qualify for the Open Championship. She followed that ties of a touring professional. She continued with the FLW Tour in performance the next season with a second consecutive berth. The 2008, but added the B.A.S.S. Women’s Bassmaster Tour (WBT) to first two champi- her schedule. Kim’s future success on the women’s trail was fore- onships she participated in were held on Toledo Bend Reservoir and the Ouachita shadowed in her very first event with a win at Lewisville, River, respec- Texas. That same season, B.A.S.S. allocated a new tively. Both venues were unlike Bassmaster Classic qualification slot for the WBT those found on the west coast and required Angler of the Year in an effort to further promote s p e c i a l i z e d styles of fishing. Neverthe- competitive fishing among women. With the less, she en- joyed the challenge that the season-opening victory, she took command of s o u t h e r n waters offered.

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May/June 2009

Photo courtesy of ESPN Outdoors Media