Outdoor News’ Kristen Monroe to represent U.S. in world women’s match fishing team championships
Three anglers from Wisconsin and one from Minnesota headline the six-person United States team that will compete at the 24th annual Ladies’ Match Fishing World Championships, August 26-27 in Szolnok, Hungary.
The team consists of Barb Carey, Hannah Stonehouse Hudson and Kristen Monroe of Wisconsin, Elise De Villiers and Penelope Smit of Florida, and Shelly Holland of Minnesota. De Villiers and Smit are veteran match anglers, while Carey, Holland, Hudson, and Monroe will be competing in Hungary for the first time.
Monroe produces text and video blogs for Outdoor News and will be doing blogs for the website about training and preparing for the championships. Her blogs can be found at www.outdoornews.com/wisconsin/blogs/kristen-monroe/.
The first-ever American women’s team has been assembled by the United States Angling Confederation (USAC), a non-profit organization granted authority to host and participate in World Championship Sport Fishing events through a varied network of international partnerships.
“Each of these outstanding women were selected for the team on their unique, individual merits,” said Mike McNett, USAC’s U.S. Freshwater Fishing Sports director. “These are all skilled anglers, and Barb, Hannah, Kristen and Shelly are also established fishing industry professionals, which is a great help when it comes to generating the industry interest and support necessary for a new team.”
While match fishing is hugely popular throughout Europe, the uniquely foreign sport and its seemingly bizarre tactics can leave even the most experienced American anglers scratching their heads.
Match fishing competitions find participants confined to small areas, or pegs, along a bank, with the goal of catching the heaviest combined weight of fish during a prescribed time period. Equipment and tactics are highly advanced, and vary depending on the venue and available species.
Top competitors catch six fish or even more per minute over a three-hour period – all the while managing delicate tackle, adjusting presentations and continually metering precise quantities of ground bait into the water to attract fish and keep them feeding. Adding to the apparent madness, competitors often employ tiny-size 16-20 hooks to target fish less than 4-inches long, but must be ready to battle larger fish like carp on the same gear.
“We don’t expect miracles,” said U.S. coach Attila Agh, a lifelong match angler from Hungary who moved to the United States 17 years ago and has since become a U.S. citizen. “Our competition has been fishing in this way for their entire lives. But I am very encouraged by the spirit our ladies are showing, their angling ability and their competitive nature. They are learning the necessary skills that are new to them, and progressing quickly.”
“It’s a real treat and privilege to be learning this new style of fishing with the goal of competing on an international stage,” said Carey, founder of WI Women Fish, who has been teaching people to fish for many years.
“I guess the shoe’s on the other foot now. We really want to be competitive, so we’re learning and practicing our new skills almost every day.”
In addition to maintaining a rigorous training schedule, the USA Ladies’ Match Fishing Team is raising money to offset equipment, training, travel and competition costs leading up to the competition in August. Individuals and businesses interested in helping financially are invited to make tax-deductible donations of any amount at www.gofundme.com/team-usa-ladies-match-fishing.