Stephanie Hutcheson: Making Her Mark on the Costa FLW Series

Central Florida native Stephanie Hutcheson (@stephanie_hutchesonfishing on Instagram and on Facebook) cut her bass fishing teeth on the Harris Chain of Lakes, near where she grew up.

“I was born and raised right here in Central Florida,” she says. “As far as living anywhere else, I haven’t ventured out much. But I do travel a lot for fishing.”

Although she’s now a competitive bass angler, that’s not how Stephanie started out.

“I grew up saltwater fishing, mostly,” she says. “My grandfather used to take me when I was young. We lived on the St. John’s River, so he’d take me bass fishing, as well.”

It wasn’t until later that the bass bug bit Stephanie hard.

“It was like four years ago that I got really into bass fishing,” she says. “Then I did some local tournaments, but it wasn’t until 2017 that I started fishing for the FLW on the BFL [Bass Fishing League].”

What does Stephanie credit with sparking her interest in competitive angling?

“To be honest, my ex. He’s a pro bass fisherman on the FLW Tour,” she says. “When we first got together, I traveled with him, and I really got a feel for competitive fishing. I love the atmosphere, and I’ve always been competitive. So, it made sense.”

Stephanie started out slowly.

“I did some tournaments together with him,” she says. “And that’s when I got really hooked on it — fishing with him and learning so much. I started getting good at it, and I was like, ‘Maybe I should try this.’”

So she did.

“In 2017, I decided ‘You know what… I’m gonna do it.’ There’s not many women that do it,” Stephanie says. “It was kind of nerve-wracking. I felt like everybody was expecting so much of me because of who I was dating. It was hard, but I did well in my first tournament. And I was like, ‘I’m gonna do some more of these.’”

Stephanie was able to find some support right away.

“I was lucky enough to land a sponsor who said, ‘Hey, I got your back. I want to go on this ride with you — what can I do?’” she says. “I said that I’d love to fish the Costas. That was the next step up from the BFL.”

Stephanie’s now in her second year as a co-angler on the Costa FLW Series — Southeastern. As of this writing, she’s currently the points leader among all co-anglers in the BFL – Gator Series and is ranked 15th in the Costa FLW Series — Southeastern.

“My goal is to fish as a boater, hopefully, by next year,” she says.

Some additional sponsors have come on board to help push Stephanie toward her goal.

“Right now, my main sponsors are Tightlines UV, which is a bait company out Missouri, and Mudhole Custom Tackle,” she says. “I build my own fishing rods and they help me out. I also just picked up a new sponsor. It’s an apparel company called Gillz Gear.”

But Stephanie’s drive to fish is more deep-seated than sponsorships and tournaments.

“It’s just always been a passion of mine,” she says. “For years, I’ve always just wanted to learn and get better. I also want to show that women can fish, too, and get more women into the sport. It’s just my passion. Some people play basketball, some people shop, but for me, when I wake up, I prefer to spend my free time fishing.”

Keep up with Stephanie on the Costa FLW Series here.

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