By Anastasia Patterson
Anastasia Patterson started out hunting and fishing with her father before founding a bass fishing team at college. Now she’s ready to hit the trail with Fishing League Worldwide!
My name is Anastasia Patterson, and I recently graduated from Presbyterian College where I majored in Political Science and minored in Theatre. However, what really made PC special was being a member and an officer on the bass fishing team.
Without a bass fishing team at PC when I first got there, I found other ways to get involved on campus. I knew of other universities with teams, but I thought that starting one would be out of my reach. So the first week of junior year, when I heard that other people were interested in starting a team, I jumped on board. I had only done a handful of tournaments, but there were people of all skill levels on the team, and I loved fishing, so that didn’t bother me.
Before I even walked, my dad carried me into the woods and onto the water to hunt and fish. From a young age being in the outdoors was in my blood. It was my passion. I never saw outdoor sports as a pastime, but as a way of life. Growing up in Summerton and Sumter, I did not spent most of my time in the woods or on the water. Being a part of the inaugural season of the team at PC was an easy “yes” for me.
Waking up before the sun, rain or shine, to go fishing was a whole lot easier than making it to class . . . even at 9 a.m. I was the girl who went hunting or fishing before competing in pageants on the weekends in middle school and high school. When people asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, I’d either tell them I wanted to be a lawyer, Miss America, in a duck blind, or a Bassmaster Classic or Forrest Wood Cup champion. I’d seen women do all of these things besides win the Classic or the Cup.
When I was in high school, I remember a man telling me that I’d never be able to fish professionally as a woman. That made me want to do it even more. As I got older I started doubting God and myself. I began to think I was crazy for dreaming to fish professionally. But I still had a fire within me.
I didn’t get to fish as many big tournaments in college, but I was in an environment surrounded by so many like-minded individuals. From exhibition shows, to tournaments, to seminars, social media, and spending time on the water, I made great connections within the industry. Every chance I could I went fishing with someone from PC, on the PC Pond, at home, or from pond to pond. Fishing tournaments were something I couldn’t just let go of after college.
I let doubt be my excuse for fear, scared of what people might say or might think of me for going to college to just fish for a living. Anxious, I worried that I was “just a girl,” or that I wouldn’t catch fish big enough. However, I had to become less, and I had to let God become more. For guidance, I read John 13:7, “Jesus replied, ‘You don’t understand what I’m doing right now, but someday you will.’”
Graduation was on the horizon, and I was still unsure of what to do, but I knew I wanted to fish. All my friends were getting jobs and moving away, but I wasn’t scared anymore. When people asked what I’d be doing, I said “fishing.” The first time the words came out of my mouth I was surprised, but I knew in my heart that this was in the plan all along.
Next year I’ll fish the FLW tournaments and other tournament trails, adapting to different lakes and situations, establishing patterns, building relationships, and chasing a dream. If you have a dream you think is too far out of reach, don’t give up. It’s never too late.
If you want to get involved in high school or college fishing, I urge you to do so. There are a lot more opportunities now than when I was a freshman in high school, eight years ago. But if there isn’t a team near you, talk to your principals, teachers, PTA or school board. The sport is ever-evolving. You’ll learn more skills than just fishing, like marketing, media, finances, public speaking and you’ll gain confidence. Plus, we live in South Carolina, close to some of the best fisheries in the U.S. — so take advantage of it and get outdoors!
Travel along the bass fishing tour with Anastasia Patterson!
Follow along on facebook: @AnastasiaPattersonFishing
Yudu Outdoors: Anastasia Patterson
Presbyterian College Bass Fishing Team
And if you’re interested in starting up a bass fishing team, check out SCDNR’s Youth Bass Fishing League and read the story of how Presbyterian College’s team was started: Anglers Connect on New Bass Fishing Team.