On the hook with Emily Reinhardt

Read into a nostalgic journey from childhood memories to competitive kayak tournaments, accompanied by invaluable insights for aspiring female anglers.

Introduction to fishing

I started fishing when I was 6 years old in the stocked pond we had in our backyard with my dad, but my first vivid memory is fishing in my uncle’s pond with my grandparents and my mom. I remember using worms and my Barbie push-button fishing pole. We would stay there for hours until I caught one, and even when it was hot and the bugs were eating us alive, I wouldn’t let us go home. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Perceptions and Attitudes

right away as my fishing journey began on social media I was accepted to be pro staff for @fishordiebaitcompany and @nextcast_nc. 

I believe that the people who truly love the sport of fishing are so accepting of women and want to welcome them with open arms. This has been my experience so far when joining my local tournament trails like Northern Virginia Kayak Bass Association, The Smallie Chaser River Bassin Series, and Mid-Atlantic Kayak Bass Association.

This is my first year fishing in-person kayak tournaments, and I have received nothing but support. I do not feel that I am treated any differently than the other club members. It makes me very excited for the future of the sport to receive so much support right away and to be given tips and tricks when needed.

Personal Achievements

I am very proud of myself for beginning to fish my river in my kayak and learn more about it. It was tough at first, but every time I float, I learn more about the river, more about where the fish are, how the weather and temperatures affect them, etc. I feel like every time I go out, I get a little bit better and I’m able to perfect my skills and try out new techniques.

The river can be dangerous, and it’s very important to practice safety. I also think it takes skills to be able to float the river safely and efficiently. Doing these things has allowed me to catch a lot of large smallmouth in the last few months and be in very good standing in some of the online tournaments I have competed in. I’m also proud of becoming a member of the 3 tournament trails and fishing their events.

Fishing is hard; you have so much gear, your rods, deciding what you’re going to throw, etc. It is hard work, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. My goal one day is to be a professional fisherman and to gain sponsors to help me live out my dream.

How I fish

Right now, I am fishing CPR kayak tournaments – Catch, Photo, Release. This requires you to have a measuring board – these tournaments require Ketch products measuring boards. You measure the fish and compete against others with your best 5 fish for length. And you can cull fish if you catch one that is longer, etc.

There are lots of in-person tournament trails around my area using this method with a lot of turnout and participation. This method also makes it easier so that we all can compete with each other on the same body of water without typically having to launch at the same boat ramp. As long as we are within bounds, we are good. For proof of the catch and to be fair, we also have our location services on to make sure of the time, location, etc., that the fish was caught.

It is a very well-thought-out process that has expanded the kayak fishing scene, as you can also do these tournaments online and fish against people from different regions and different bodies of waters. It is something I am really enjoying and plan to continue further with it.

Advice for Aspiring Female Anglers

My advice to other women interested in this sport would be to absolutely go for it. It sounds cheesy, but you really can do anything you set your mind to. If it is something you really want, then you can work towards it. You can create goals of things you want to achieve like getting the right gear and deciding how you want to fish, whether it’s from a boat, bank fishing, kayak, etc.

Fishing is constantly about learning and bettering your skills as an angler. It won’t happen overnight, and your wants and needs will change, and you will just have to adapt to that and work your way up to where you want to be. I would also encourage women to watch YouTube videos and do as much research as you can to learn.

You can follow Emily on Instagram: @emreinhardtfishing