Women who fish all have stories to tell. They share a love for the wild. And habitat and wildlife conservation are stamped into their DNA. Nicole Jacobs Stelmach is no exception. For example, ask Nicole about her late father’s influence on her passion for fishing, and she’ll reply in one word, “Plenty!”

Today, Nicole actively pursues the sport of fishing from a competitive standpoint, entering multiple tournaments annually. “Fishing all day is not to be taken lightly. Long days can be grueling,” she said. But she quickly acknowledges that it can be very rewarding as well, the benefits of which she hopes more women will someday experience.

We posed four questions to Nicole:

Why are you so enthusiastic about fishing?

After the first couple of years, I finally decided that fishing was my calling, my passion. Since then, my mission has always been to “empower others to follow their passions through faith and fishing.”

Early on, as a little girl, I loved the thrill and enjoyment of fishing with my father. Not only did we fish, he passed on life lessons that built my character and faith in Christ. Since he passed in 2012, I made the decision to devote my life to helping others through my faith in God and fishing.

Nicole Jacobs StelmachWhat is your most memorable fishing experience?

That’s a tough question. There are so many. What I can tell you, though, is that my fishing experiences over the years with my family are what stand out to me. It’s really important to me that I pass on the passion and life lessons that my father once did for me. To that extent, I’m very blessed to be able to do what I love with my family. They love fishing as much as I do, and every day on the water is an adventure and valuable time spent.

Why is wildlife and habitat conservation important?

Our precious resources are limited. If we don’t support wildlife and conservation efforts in this world, humanity could destroy it. We need an ongoing effort to ensure we can continue this sport and pass it down to our youth.

What do you think is the key to getting more women involved in fishing?

In my eyes, the key to getting more women fishing is to be a respectful, humble, and motivated role model. We need to lead by example. Female and male anglers need to unite as one and support each other, because there are still stigmas in the sport about competing against men. It can be intimidating. The men need to be welcoming, and the women need to not compete against each other for attention or pass judgement.

As an example, I try to be as helpful as I can at weigh-ins. I take time to talk with other girls, especially new female anglers who have little voice in the sport. We all have different goals, but ultimately, we should all have the same goal of bringing women and kids into the sport that we love. At the end of the day, fish do not discriminate, and it’s you against the fish, so it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. Going into tournaments or events with that mindset can help ease any self-doubt you may have as a female competing against men.

~By Kent Huffman
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Kent Huffman is the Editor-in-Chief for Wildlife Enthusiast Magazine. Kent is an avid fisherman, hunter, and wildlife conservationist. He also serves his clients as a fractional Chief Marketing Officer, specializing in building successful brands, creating unique customer experiences, constructing proprietary “marketing machines,” and driving profitable growth. Kent has won numerous awards and honors from Forbes, Adweek, CEO World Magazine, Brand Quarterly Magazine, Social Media Marketing Magazine, the CMO Club, TCU’s Neeley School of Business, and the World Marketing Congress for his accomplishments as a marketer.