I’m sure during those off season afternoons you’ve caught professional fishing on TV. Whether you tuned in or channel surfed; I bet the next time you see bass fishing you’ll appreciate the multi-billion dollar industry that involves angling a rod with the hopes of catching a black bass. Mrs. Torica Whitty, along with a few before her, has broken the color barrier in professional bass fishing.
Mrs. Torica Whitty, premiere African-American Pro Angler, 22-year army veteran, and most importantly, an inspirational role model to a new generation of minority women answered a few questions about how she got started and what she hopes to accomplish.
Mrs. Whitty on her beginnings:
I was born in Jonesboro, Louisiana, which is a small town and the parish seat of Jackson Parish, the place where, I spent the majority of my childhood years, walking around in the woods all by myself, and I can vividly remember being an insecure little tomboy, and all I used to do was all the things that the boys around my age were doing. So naturally, I grew up fishing in the ponds and creeks, playing basketball, riding motorcycles, and I even used to hunt with pellet guns, but as I got older, I began experiencing a lot of problems with my mother and family, and those domestic issues were the main reasons why I joined the military.
Mrs. Whitty on how she got her start:
In 2006, I was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and at that time my husband came to visit me. I wanted to go fishing, so we went to a local tackle shop in St. Roberts, and when we arrived there an older man started talking to my husband about fishing, but my husband stopped him and said, “I appreciate you talking to me about fishing, but I don’t know anything about fishing—you need to be talking to my wife.”
So, the man walked over to me and told me about a local fishing club, and afterwards I joined the club, and that’s where I met Rick and Travis, father and son. They took me under their wing, and taught me as much as they knew about fishing the waters in Missouri. I was eager to learn so I absorbed everything like a sponge, and at the end of that year, I purchased my first bass boat. After catching a 6-pound bass, I was hooked, and ever since then, I’ve been reeling them in.
On race relations in bass fishing:
The biggest obstacle that I have had to overcome is being stereotyped because most people from other races view black women as the women from Love and Hip Hop and Real Housewives of Atlanta—that all of us are ghetto, loud and obnoxious—but that description doesn’t fit my characteristics. On top of being categorized, I’m faced with a lot of male chauvinism. It’s okay for me to be willing to give my life for this country, that’s all fine and dandy, but the moment I decide to fish on a boat, and be competitive with the men; it’s a problem. I’ve heard it all…
No stranger to adversity—Mrs. Whitty knows firsthand that the odds are certainly stacked against her, but she is determined to accomplished one of her life-long goals, and that is—to not only become the first African-American Pro Angler to win the Bassmaster Classic—but to become the first woman to ever do so.
Please visit her official website at ToricaWhitty.com
PR Credit: Playbook Media
Story courtesy of Zangba Thomson for Playbook Media