This is so cool!
A North Carolina team of Black women in competitive fishing team are making their mark in the sport, MarthaStewart.com reports.
Gia Peebles is the founder of Ebony Anglers, an all-Black competitive fishing team comprised of five professional women based in North Carolina. Peebles is a salon owner, and last June, she attended the “Big Rock Fishing Tournament” in Beaufort, North Carolina. While there, she discovered the lack of Black women or women of color in the competitive fishing sport. That’s when she got the inspiration to form a team.
“When I saw women of all ages coming from their fishing boats with fish and winning prizes, I noticed that there were no women of color competing. I said to myself, ‘We can do this. I already know accomplished women who are leaders and now how to win in other aspects of their lives – we can do this,’” Peebles said.
Peebles contacted four of her friends who are also business owners, Lesleigh Mausi, Glenda Turner, Bobbiette Palmer, and Tiana Davis. Together the group began entering into competitions, quickly making a name for themselves. They took first place in the King Mackerel division of Carteret County College Foundation’s “Spanish Mackerel and Dolfin Tournament.” The group reeled in a 48-pound King Mackerel, earning an award that recognizes anglers for impressive catches by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
While not all of them were avid fishers, they caught on quickly, relying on each other’s strengths. In October 2020, they competed in their second tournament, bringing in seven King Mackerel within four hours during the last tournament day. Peebles said that despite their success, the group is about more than just fishing.
“Our mission is to create an elevated lifestyle brand anchored in nautical sportsmanship and fine outdoor living while modeling the strength, balance, and resilience of Black women. We also want to establish a legacy of leadership, sportsmanship, and excellence for youth through education and mentoring,” Peebles said.
The women are mothers and business owners who work to juggle their daily responsibilities with the team.
“As a team, we research our tournaments, the fish, and the region/waters we’ll be competing in. We charter our boat, we practice and prepare, then we get out there on the open sea, drop lines, and get to work,” Turner explained.
Despite the fun, the group agrees that it’s no small feat balancing their lives.
“Being able to balance the three and compete and win in a male-dominated sport is a testament to the strength that lies within the many layers of being a woman. Being women of color in this sport shines a light on the importance for inclusion and diversity in representation in the outdoor space,” Mausi said.
Thus far, the group has put much in a lot of work and has already launched mentoring and leadership programs for youth. Black Girls Fish (BGF) and Black Boys Boat (BBB) are extensions of the Ebony Anglers, working with young people to build leadership through fishing.
“Leadership and survival skills are nurtured as young people discover self-sufficiency and connection with the outdoor lifestyle. We educate youth in the fundamentals of fishing and boating, both as a sport and as a lifestyle,” Palmer said.
The Ebony Anglers are set to compete this June in the “Big Rock Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament,” the competition that sparked it all. Davis said it’s a full-circle moment for the team. The lane they’re occupying is super inspirational, and we can’t wait to see what’s next!
Photo Courtesy of @EbonyAnglers/Instagram