Since her childhood in Nebraska, Kristine Fischer has been outdoors and on the water. Family fishing tournaments introduced her to competition, now she is turning her talents on the road as a full-time tournament angler. “I’ve been taking steps towards this my entire life,” she told me over the phone from Lake Kabetogama in northern Minnesota.
Kristine Fischer Takes the Plunge
After a promising start in 2018, placing in the money in a half-dozen events, Fischer decided to leave the rat race and hit the road. “I cashed nine or 10 checks last year,” she jokes, adding that winning money gave her the confidence to turn pro. With more big-money events on the schedule, a growing band of tournament pros are going full time.
So, Fischer left her pilates practice, bought an RV and hit the road with her partner, A.J. McWhorter. To supplement her tournament winnings, Fischer freelances as a writer, consultant and maintains investment properties. “I’m a jack of all trades,” she laughs.
When I asked how many states she’s fished, Fischer laughs again, “Holy cow, I can’t even count.” In the past eight months, the pair has crossed the continent, hitting dozens of states and fishing some of the biggest tournaments. “We’ve been from south Texas to Canada and everywhere in between,” she says.
Competing with the Big Boys—and Winning
So far, 2019 has been a successful year. Fischer won the Hobie Bass Open and registered another first-place finish in the KBF Trail. She knows something about being first. Fischer is the first woman to win a national tournament and qualify for the Hobie Worlds. She admits being the only female in the pro series can feel intimidating. “I am a rarity in a largely male-dominated sport, but if you put in the work, you’re an angler,” Fischer says.
One thing she doesn’t seem to worry about is winning. “I am confident in my abilities and my mental game is right,” she insists. After almost a year on the trail, Fischer has developed these skills to stay ahead of the pack.
Life on the trail isn’t easy. She spends up to six days a week fishing. A typical week starts Tuesday and Wednesday traveling to the next event, prefixing Thursday and Friday, fish the tournament on Saturday and Sunday, then back on the road to the next stop.
Fischer says she loves the spontaneous and unstructured lifestyle of life on the road. “This fill us up,” she says. The biggest challenges are finding time to make healthy meals and exercise. She half complains, “It’s tough to take a long, hot shower in an RV.”
Blazing Trails and Opening Doors
Perseverance is one of Fischer’s strongest points: “I believe in my abilities and I don’t let it bother me when a couple things go wrong.” She tells me about a wrestling match with a four-foot muskie ending with treble hooks in both her hands. Without a knife to perform surgery, her fishing partner used another hook to dig out the huge trebles. With a thunderstorm approaching, Fischer didn’t want to miss the action, so she went back to fishing.
Fischer also feels strongly about finding purpose in her work by sharing her knowledge and expertise. “In the fall, I am helping with Women on the Water, where I will be teaching classes to female anglers as part of a three-day event.”
Fischer wants to use her success to inspire and empower other anglers who feel intimidated. She holds herself up as an example, “I got into the sport on my own with less than $1,000 investment in a used kayak and some gear.”
Following in Kristine Fischer’s Footsteps
Fischer’s advice for hopefuls looking to follow her lead is simple but powerful. “I have failed and drawn blanks in tournaments,” she says, “but I never let the fear of failure stop me. Fear is a binding thing. Don’t be afraid to fail.”
Kristine Fischer loves the spontaneous and unstructured lifestyle of a tournament pro angler. | Feature photo: Dustin Doskocil