Although she started reeling as a little girl, growing up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, Jamie Smith (@fishinmama511 on Instagram) was a long way from water.
“My dad started me fishing when I was little-bitty, like I don’t even remember how old I was,” she says. “There’re no lakes anywhere near where we lived. So we would have to drive at least an hour or an hour and a half to go fishing.”
“We would go trolling,” Jamie says. “And it was always hot dogs. All we ever used for bait was hot dogs.”
But, by high school, Jamie’s interests moved on to other things.
“I eventually did hair and even owned a salon for a while,” she says. “And then I met my husband, who was in the Air Force.”
Jamie’s husband is a Texas native.
“We eventually moved back to Texas,” she says. “So, we decided to find the halfway point between where my parents were building a house and where his family lives. And we literally picked a dot on a map.”
They settled in Temple, “about an hour north of Austin. Smack-dab in the middle of Texas.”
They’ve lived in Texas for about four and a half years now, along with their two children.
“One day, my husband said, ‘I want to go fishing.’ So, we bought some worms and some rods, and we went,” Jamie says. “But we didn’t really do it again.”
It was her step-father that really sparked Jamie’s renewed interest in reeling.
“My mom and stepdad had decided to build a house on the coast, in South Texas,” she says. “And my stepdad really got me into it. He started showing me how to fish right from the banks.”
There, Jamie learned how to go after inshore species.
“It’s mostly redfish and black drum,” she says. “I’ve caught a lot of stingrays and hardhead catfish, too.”
Initially, it wasn’t the fishing that interested Jamie.
“I just did it to spend time with my stepdad at first,” she says. “He passed away from cancer not this last December but the one before. And that kind of triggered everything. I was like, ‘This is it. This is what I’m going to do.’ And I started doing it by myself all the time.”
Jamie is trying to pass her passion for fishing on to her children.
“They’re not as interested in the fishing, yet,” she says. “They’ll throw a pole in the water, but then they also want to go dig under rocks for bugs and stuff. I tell them to bring them to me for bait.”
Closer to home, Jamie is a bass angler.
“Being in Temple, Texas, largemouth bass is what I try and go for,” she says. “But if I go saltwater fishing, reds are my absolute favorite. They’re so fun!”
Belton Lake is Jamie’s go-to spot. But she was reluctant to divulge that information. “I don’t know if I should give away my favorite fishing spot.”
But the lake is close by and Jamie’s had good luck there.
“I catch largemouth mostly,” she says. “I’ve caught a needlenose gar in there, a lot of catfish, and we’ve caught a lot of hybrids, stripers, and also smallmouth bass.”
She swears by her Texas-rigged YUM dinger plastics.
“The summer before last, I bet I caught 150 fish on a Texas rig and my YUM,” she says.
And it’s the excitement that she feels that keeps Jamie throwing cast after cast.
“Honestly, for me, it’s an adrenaline rush like no other,” she says. “People talk about jumping out of planes, but I’m not interested in doing that. Every time I hook up with a fish — it doesn’t matter if it’s little or small, you can feel the fight — it’s a surprise like scratching a lottery ticket. You don’t know what you’re going to get, but you know you’re going to get something because you can feel it on there. Every time, it’s a rush!”