REHOBETH, Ala. (WDHN) — With rod and reel in hand, Taylor Owens first started fishing with the Rehobeth High School Bass Club five years ago.
On Tuesday, she signed a scholarship with Blue Mountain College outside Tupelo, Mississippi. It’s the first time the college will have a female on its angler squad.
The 18-year-old is excited about breaking new ground, or perhaps, treading new water lanes.
“Because I think at first, you’re kind of like, ‘Oh, I can’t do that ’cause I’m a girl,’ but really, girls can do anything that a guy could do,” Taylor said. “Fish don’t discriminate. It’s hard work. As long as you find them and you throw bait at them and they’re near it, they’re going to eat it. They don’t care if you’re a boy or a girl. They don’t care if you’re black, white, Asian; they don’t care. They’re going to eat it, and I think that girls in the sports (is) growing, and I think that’s a great thing.”
Taylor began fishing with her father at a young age but became serious about the sport upon joining the
high school team. Rehobeth High Coach John Skipper said she’s a great young lady and very passionate about competitive fishing.
“Predominantly in the beginning, it was known as a male sport, but I have two daughters that fish,” Skipper said. We have Taylor. We have another young lady on our team that loves to fish. It really doesn’t matter.”
For Taylor’s high school team fishing partner, he had no qualms sharing a boat with a girl. In fact, he has learned many fishing and casting techniques from her.
“We’ve had some tough tournaments, and she’s always fished to the last minute,” Helby Prather said. “We’ve always waited to the last minute to give in the weigh-in. She just never gives up. We could have zero fish and it be a hot day, 95 degrees outside. She just never gives up.”
Taylor doesn’t consider herself a trendsetter, but she hopes her scholarship will be motivation for other female high school students to pursue the sport.