When you lose in one area, it can spur the motivation to start anew in another. That’s exactly what Cheryl Bowden did.

After the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society scuttled its women’s fishing events, angler Cheryl decided to start her own women’s bass fishing organization with co-founder Secret York in 2010. Eight years later, the “Lady Bass Anglers Association (LBAA) is 90 members strong.” As part of the pro bass fishing circuit, LBAA holds four to five tournaments per year, concluding with the LBAA Classic in the fall. Cheryl has won twice, which to her is an ongoing testament that women can hold their own against men any day.

Of course, being raised in East Texas, Cheryl was exposed to fishing at an early age. However, she didn’t get into bass fishing until she was an adult. Going on a guided fishing outing was the hook. Not long after, Cheryl got her first boat, “joined a local club, and fished a little of the women’s fishing tours.”

In learning the pro bass circuit, Cheryl started out as a “co-angler” (fishing off the back of the boat as a teammate, learning all you can from your more experienced partner). “Co-angler is a great place to learn, because you don’t have to worry about anything but fishing,” said Cheryl. Whenever the circumstances are presented, she is quick to encourage women to try fishing that way.

As her work schedule has become more flexible over the years, Cheryl’s passion for bass fishing has intensified. She now enters 12 to 20 fishing tournaments each year, winning three classics and coming in second and third place in four other classics. “I just love the challenge,” Cheryl said.