Before settling down in the Tampa, Florida area, Abigale DeVane (@ReelBlondeAngler on Instagram) “lived all over the place,” including gorgeous fishing hotspots like Montana.
“I was an Air Force kid,” she says. “But I’ve lived in Plant City the longest of anywhere.”
Abigale has been fishing almost all her life.
“I would go out all the time with my dad,” she says. “We mostly fished saltwater. My dad had a boat and we would go offshore and fish for snapper over the wrecks and reefs.”
A few years ago, however, Abigale discovered bass fishing when she went out with a friend.
“I loved it. It took a lot more strategy and a lot more thinking than saltwater fishing,” she says.
After going to a tournament weigh-in with her friend, Abigale “noticed there were hardly any girls in the tournament.”
So, she joined her high school bass team, found a partner and started competing.
“We had a lot of great finishes,” Abigale says. “My partner and I qualified for the state championship on [Lake] Okeechobee, and we placed eighteenth out of like 160 boats.”
Abigale’s father jumped in on the action, as well.
“When my dad saw how serious I was about it, he got a bass boat,” she says. “Now, we fish a lot of tournaments together, too.”
When not fishing tournaments, Abigale likes to head over to Lake Harris, Lake Kissimmee or the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes and chase bass.
“When I go out early in the day, I like to target the weeds and lily pads,” she says. “I’ll throw a frog pattern when the fish are feeding more actively.”
She changes her patterns and strategies depending on weather, temperature and other variables.
“As the day gets hotter, I’ll look for docks and heavy cover,” Abigale says. “Then I’ll toss baits to the fish while they’re less aggressive.”
Her go-to rig is a flipping set up.
“I like to use the Bamboo Bomber from Zee Bait,” she says. “It doesn’t get hung up in weeds or heavy cover.”
Abigale likes the rig so much that she joined Zee Bait’s pro staff.
“I mean, I could throw rattle traps and floats all day long and probably boat a lot more fish,” Abigale says. “But I’ll catch bigger, higher-quality fish by flipping.”
It’s a quality versus quantity thing, clearly.
“I could catch 20 fish for a 40-pound day, or I could catch five fish for a 25-pound day,” she explains.
This is a glimpse into the way Abigale thinks about bass fishing. The combination of strategy and competition is what motivates her.
And she appreciates that “it’s a team sport in which girls have no disadvantage, compared to boys. As long as you know what you’re doing, it’s a level playing field.”
In the fall, Abigale will head off to college in Savannah, Georgia, where she’ll attend the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).
“I’ve always been interested in interior design,” Abigale says. “And SCAD has one of the best programs in the world.”
They also happen to have a nationally-recognized women’s fishing team. Go figure!