It’s fair to say Kristine Fischer has become the face of our sport over the past half-decade. We see her on television, her social media following is massive and she is a perennial threat to win any kayak fishing competition. But being a hammer or having a high public profile aren’t necessarily qualities that merit the Kayak Bass Fishing Sportsman of the Year award. It’s the manner in which you carry yourself that makes the difference. And when it comes to making a difference, Fischer has been a force for good.
Fischer has begun to shift gears of late, from competitor to ambassador. The effort involved in bringing change is not lost on her. As she put it:
“What I am doing is working, and my focus has shifted to being a better ambassador. Sometimes being a better ambassador doesn’t mean being a better competitor.”
The Kayak Bass Fishing Sportsman of the Year award is not an award for competitors. But in awarding it to Kristine Fischer, the obvious must be acknowledged: there is no tournament angler who has been more competitive, or tenacious, or determined. In many instances, she was the only woman fishing against a field of men. She had to be determined – she represented all women out there. The pressure was real.
But there is another quality that is more important, and it is how an angler represents the sport to others. On a personal note, I have witnessed Fischer’s generosity of spirit repeatedly in the professional and personable way she speaks with representatives of the media. I have seen it up close while writing content for Kayak Bass Fishing; for example, it was apparent in her excitement when two younger anglers won the Realtree Fishing KBF Trail events at Lake Chickamauga in June of 2023.
That unique combination of qualities is what merited the attention of the KBF awards committee. In the words of Chad Hoover:
“This award is not about competitive accolades, but it’s hard to be a successful angler and also be a positive force in the community. That’s what makes her [Fischer] so impressive: she is at the forefront as both an ambassador of the sport and as a competitor in it. I mean, she gave her boat to another angler at the Team USA event [the Pan American tournament in late 2022]. That says it all.”
And it should be noted she gave the boat to a woman angler from another team. We can’t ignore that she has inspired countless women to take up the sport. A kind word and gesture can matter more than a tournament trophy, and Fischer is aware of the power that she wields, not just for women, but anglers everywhere. When we asked Fischer about being recognized with the award, she replied:
“My goal in the past several years was to win tournaments. It’s been beautiful to grow and see my demeanor has shifted to bringing positivity to the sport. So many people come to this sport from trauma and addiction and divorces, and they tell me the sport has saved their lives. I want to be a light, to bring positivity back to fishing.”
About the Kayak Bass Fishing Sportsman of the Year Award
Kayak Bass Fishing established the Sportsman of the Year to recognize and encourage individuals who represent the sport of kayak fishing in the best possible light. Chad Hoover describes the award’s history as follows:
“When Jim Dolan [of Heroes on the Water] passed, I realized we weren’t acknowledging some of the ways that people impacted our sport. The award put a focus on something other than competition. For example, Cory [Dreyer] won when he saved that girl’s life, and Barry Davis won it for promoting unity among the anglers in his region and for his role in handling a cheating scandal. They were individuals who embodied what we were looking for in ambassadors who made a positive impact on our sport.”
To date, recipients of the Kayak Bass Fishing Sportsman of the Year Award have been:
- Cory Dreyer (N.C.), 2020
- Barry Davis (S.C.), 2021
- Jeff Little (MD), 2022
- Kristine Fischer (TN), 2023
Kristine Fischer is sponsored by: Berkley, Fenwick, Abu Garcia, Hobie, Outdoor America, Dakota Lithium, AFTCO, Tin Cup Whiskey, Yeti, Marine Mat, Torqeedo, Garmin, Blue Storm and Dugout Bait and Tackle.
First Published November 3, 2023. The author of this article was not assisted in any way by AI / machine learning in the composition of it.
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