On the hook with Olivia Osteen

Join Olivia Osteen as she reflects on a lifelong journey of passion and perseverance in fishing.

Introduction to fishing

Reflecting on cherished memories from my childhood, I remember the profound impact my grandfather had on my life. At the young age of 5, I was introduced to the art of fishing on our family’s pier. My papaw would turn on a green light at the end of the pier each evening, and we would catch bream, crappie, bass, catfish, all night.

My papaw taught me the technical skills of fishing like casting, baiting the hook and preparing fish but also the deeper values of life — patience and determination. His presence was a testament to his character; despite the exhaustion from a day’s labor, he chose to spend his evenings sharing his passion for fishing with me. It was there, on that pier, that I learned to appreciate the quiet moments of anticipation between each bite, the shared excitement of a successful catch and the simple joy reflected in my papaw’s smile.

These lessons, learned at his side, have stayed with me, shaping the person I have become. My stepdad is also one who has fueled the fire of my love for fishing. He is the ultimate fishing partner.

Experiences and challenges

On the positive side, I’ve been fortunate to connect with fellow anglers who have been supportive and inclusive, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared passion for the sport. It’s been inspiring to see more women getting involved and breaking stereotypes. However, there have also been challenges.

At times, I’ve encountered skepticism and doubt from individuals who questioned my knowledge and abilities simply because I am a female in a more male-driven sport. Overcoming these biases required perseverance and determination to prove myself. Despite those obstacles, I remain committed to pursuing my passion and contributing to the growth and diversity of the fishing industry.

Personal achievements

Though I have caught my fair share of fish in my life, the most proud I have been in my fishing career is when I am helping kids out. I do several benefit tournaments for kids with disabilities. And to see those kids succeed who have never caught a fish before warms your heart. They don’t care about how big the fish is, the electronics or what kind of boat you’re in; their reaction is true excitement and joy. But doing these events, I have my life enriched every single time by the individuals I meet.

I work for a national catfish tournament trail called King Kat Tournament Trail as their photographer and social media assistant. I have a love for capturing the excitement of the fishing industry through my lens. Growing up in the outdoors and fishing has instilled a deep passion in me for the sport. I’m thrilled to be able to combine my love for fishing with my photography skills to capture and share the beauty of the fishing industry with others.

It’s been a lot of fun working with this company and staff, as we travel to so many places about every weekend, I have met some incredible people and experienced amazing things. I’m starting to get into trout fishing, catching them on a fly rod. I enjoy catching stripers and hybrids as well — and fishing the intercoastal waters.

Something people find pretty neat is my biggest blue catfish was caught out of the James River in Virginia, weighing 60 pounds. My dream fish to catch would be a red drum and a tarpon. Being able to fish and hunt and just be in the outdoors is such a blessing that God has allowed me to do. Everything I have experienced and done is all to the grace of God!

Changes over time

I think there has been progress in recent years, but there is still work to be done to ensure adequate representation of women in fishing media, events and leadership roles. Historically, fishing has been predominantly portrayed as a male-dominated activity in media and events, which can contribute to the underrepresentation of women. However, positive changes are happening.

More fishing media outlets are featuring women anglers and highlighting their achievements, which helps to diversify the representation. Additionally, there are organizations and initiatives focused on promoting women’s participation and leadership in the industry. By creating more opportunities and platforms for women to showcase their skills and expertise, we can continue to break down barriers and become a more inclusive fishing community. It’s important to recognize the valuable contributions women bring to the industry and ensure our voices are heard and our talents are celebrated.

Since I’ve started getting into the fishing industry more seriously, I’ve witnessed a positive shift in the role and acceptance of women. There’s been a growing recognition of women’s skills, knowledge and passion for fishing. More women are actively participating in the sport, whether as anglers, guides or industry professionals. I’ve seen an increase in media representation, with more women being featured in fishing shows, magazines and social media platforms.

This visibility helps to inspire and encourage other women to get involved and pursue their fishing passions. There are also more opportunities for women to connect and learn from one another through supportive networks and organizations. These communities provide mentorship, education and a sense of belonging, which has contributed to the overall acceptance and empowerment of women in the fishing industry.

Advice for aspiring female anglers

Embrace your passion; don’t be afraid to follow your passion for fishing. Learn as much as you can and don’t let anyone discourage you from pursuing what you love. Seek knowledge and skills. Take the time to learn about different fishing techniques, equipment and species. Attend seminars or even find a trusted mentor to guide you along the way.

The more you know, the more confident you’ll feel on the water. Connect with other anglers. Join fishing communities, clubs or organizations that support women in fishing. Building relationships with other anglers can provide valuable guidance, inspiration and a sense of friendship. Practice, practice, practice. Fishing takes practice; I don’t think you could ever stop learning. Get on the water as often as you can and experiment with different techniques.

There is a clothing brand called W.E.T. meaning water, effort, time. Simply being on the water and putting in the necessary effort and time provides the opportunity to create unforgettable memories. And lastly, share your journey. Don’t be shy about sharing your fishing adventures on social media or with friends and family. Your enthusiasm can inspire others and help break down stereotypes about who can enjoy fishing.

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