Trait Crist is female. She’s a “bass fisherwoman”… an “Angler-ette”.
The 25 year old Crist has a bright smile and dimples big enough to make valuable bass-holding structure and habitat. Hey, if I was a fish, I’d live there. She sticks out like a sore thumb among the sea of men that dominate the sport.
“I sometimes feel like a fish out of water being one of the few girls in the sport”, she admits. ”I may fish, but I have a girl inside too” — she proceeds to show me her pink sparkle toenails — “I wear heels and dresses. I’m like a different person off the water.”
“I want to be like the Danica Patrick of bass fishing. We need a girl to make the Elite Series and be feminine as well… to show other girls that you can fish seriously and still be a girl.”
Crist has been fishing the Central Opens this past season in what is her first year of tournament fishing. But don’t make the mistake of thinking she’s a fishing newcomer.
“My dad got me into fishing. It’s a funny story… My grandmother used to take me to my great aunt’s house on Lake Granbury in Texas. They used to leave me on the dock with a bag of ham and strap a life jacket on me and go do their own thing. I would just sit there ‘perch jerking’ until they came back. My dad was a tournament fisherman and he used to take me sometimes and I just loved it!”
During our conversation I couldn’t help but wonder what her fishing strength was. I thought maybe she just leaned over the boat, smiled, and all the bass jumped into the livewell. It turned out to be a little more conventional than that.
“I’m a jig girl. I really like the Bitsy Bugs. I’m a huge Bitsy Bug girl”, she proudly claimed.
It sounds pretty cute, but you boys may not want to give her too much slack.
“The guys give me a lot of information. If they knew I could fish, they wouldn’t try to underestimate me or help me as much.”
In a testament to how classy so many of our pro anglers are, she names Skeeter Yamaha pro Chris Zaldain as one of her mentors from the Elite Series.
She may get a little help from the boys every now and then, but it’s not always a piece of cake.
“I’m just getting used to my equipment in a tournament scenario right now. It’s different than fishing just for fun. I’ve had to learn things most guys wouldn’t even know how to handle. During the tournament you can’t just ago to a mechanic when you have motor troubles out on the water. You’ve got to address it yourself. ”
She may not be on your radar yet, but keep your eyes open. I spotted her hanging around the Strike King booth at ICAST absorbing some very advanced fishing tips from “Rage Tail” Steve Parks himself, who ended up giving what amounted to a mini master class to myself, Crist and Jonathan Van Dam.
“Look out for me next year. I’m really starting to prep more intensely. Watch out for me on Ft. Gibson because I’m going to be ready for that one!”
Trait, I think you can count on a lot of us watching… ain’t that right boys?