The city of Brisbane, on the Brisbane River in Queensland, Australia, is a long way from California. Nevertheless, 19-year-old Kim Bain boarded a plane with her backpack and a handful of fishing rods nine years ago and made the journey. She thought it was a necessary step in her search for a career as a professional angler.
"I followed American bass fishing from the magazines when I was a kid in Australia and wanted to be a part of the American scene," says the pro on the Women's Bassmaster Tour presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors. "We have a fish back home that we call Australian bass but they're not like the bass here. Ours are like white bass, but they're still fun to catch.
"It was kind of scary to leave home at that age, all by myself, and travel to America. But I figured America was an open country, English was the native language and fish are fish. I figured I could survive, so I decided to give it a try."
Bain was introduced to competitive fishing at an early age. Her father, Steve, ran a professional Australian bass circuit and, as a consequence, she grew up around the culture.
"I did pretty well as a kid. I fished as an amateur, a co-angler and as a professional in dad's circuit. That developed a love of the sport in me that continues to this day. And I learned to compete and fish under pressure. That was important."
Before her journey, her father made a few contacts in California. One was Norval Pimentel, a well-known West Coast bass angler. He met her at the airport, and they have been fast friends since that day.
"We were fishing within a day. It was kind of funny, really. He said we would flip tules with a Texas rigged worm for largemouth bass. I didn't know what a tule was, didn't have a clue how to Texas rig a worm and only had a vague idea of what a largemouth bass looked like.
"But I learned, and in short order had a couple of keepers in the boat. They were hooked, and so was I," she says, laughing as she recalls the experience. "I haven't looked back, not even once."
As time went along, and she gained more experience, she started competing in the Western Opens. After they closed she fished with another circuit for a while and then migrated to the WBT after a brief stint as a television commentator for BASS/ESPN.
"I married Andre (Andre Moore, owner of Reaction Innovations) in December 2007 after he proposed on stage at the 2005 Bassmaster Classic in Pittsburgh," she explains. "My best friend and maid of honor, Janet Parker, was fishing the WBT, and she encouraged me to join and compete. I'm glad I did."
That's no doubt true. Bain is currently leading the Toyota Tundra Women's Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year standings and is positioned to become the first female angler in history to compete in a Bassmaster Classic.
"It would be an awesome experience, but I try not to think about it. I know you hear that all the time, but in my case it's true. I figure if I fish every tournament as hard as I can and make good decisions on the water, everything else will take care of itself.
"I've had good help and advice over the years — Norval Pimentel, Bob Adkinson, Mike O'Shea, my husband Andre Moore and my father Steve — so I have no excuses regardless of how it turns out. It's on me, either way.
"It would be awesome, though. But I'm worried about the media pressure on whoever gets to go. Fishing against the men is not a problem. Sure, they're good, but so are we. Bass are bass, and they don't care who's after them. We can compete against the guys. But the media will be a different story. The pressure will be enormous. It'll be tough to keep your head down and stay focused."