8th place finish.
For the past 13 years, Mary Croft
of Bedford, VA has been setting the stage for a career change, fishing career that is.
The 39-year-old angler has been competing against male anglers in the Region 5 VA BASS Federation
Serving as Vice-President of the Big Island Bassmasters club during that time, she has managed to qualify for 9 VA State Team tournaments, one East Coast Region Fall Classic, and one VA State Mr. Bass Championship tournament.
When BASS announced the Women's Tour at the Bassmaster Classic
in Pittsburgh, PA in July 2005, Mary
was happy to see that female anglers were finally getting the recognition they deserved.
didn't really think much more about it until the premier tour event was announced for October 2005.
As time drew near, she
didn't want to miss out on "history in the making".
sent in her
entry fee, went to Lewisville, Texas and walked across the stage with an 8 th place finish in the non-boater division.
Fishing with all female anglers was a new experience for Mary
wasn't sure what to expect, but found it to be a more relaxed atmosphere in some instances.
Most women who compete against male anglers constantly have to prove their fishing skills and their dedication to the sport.
was impressed by the competitive skills and boat handling abilities of most of the women at the premier event.
While many women fish and were taught to fish by a family member or husband or boyfriend, Mary taught herself to fish at the age of 11 while living in Florida.
had moved there with her
mother and two siblings after her
The canal behind their house was full of alligators, but she
learned to dodge them long enough to catch Snook and Bass.
started fishing out of boredom and it was an escape for her
made another career change and went to truck driving school.
drove over the road for several years and was never home to fish.
That got old after a while so she
quit driving and started building houses with her
Dad back in Bedford.
That is when she
became involved with the bass club and the VA Federation
The male club members accepted her
membership with some reservation, but she
was able to prove to them her
capabilities as an angler and her
character as an equal on the water and off by helping with club activities.
enjoys volunteering for Casting Kid events and Take a Kid Fishing events in her
That is due in part to the fact that she
also became a mother 7 years ago.
daughter Taylor loves to go fishing in her
Mom's bass boat and going fast on the lake.
When Taylor fishes she
doesn't want to use a live worm and bopper.
has to have the same lure tied on as Mom.
Taylor finished 2nd in her
age group at her
very first Casting Kid's competition in 2004.
Taylor keeps Mary
focused in her
goals to teach other children the joys of fishing and to mentor them so that they discover at an early age they have the abilities to set goals and live their dreams as she
chose to leave Big Island
Bassmasters after the premier tournament in Lewisville so she
could concentrate solely on the 2006 WBT Tour.
is looking forward to fishing with the new friends she
has made and being part of WBT organization.
goal is to fish hard and do her
best, learn the lakes as a non-boater the first year and go pro in 2007.
has the positive attitude and skills necessary to get the job done and that is exactly what she
intends to do.