In May 17 issue, Russell County News
By Derek Aaron
Russell County News Editor
From an early age, Judy Antle, a former #1 women’s angler in the world, of Jamestown, has fished the waters of this country most of her life and finally made it on the professional women’s bass fishing circuit during the 80s.
She grew up in Palatka, Fla. on the St. John’s River, and learned to fish as a young girl, with the help of three older brothers. Antle said her brothers made a game of her going fishing with them.
“They saw me as an extra pair of hands to help carry stuff,” she said. “If I didn’t catch a fish, I was going to have to clean theirs … then I learned to catch them.”
She said jokingly that her brothers would probably take the credit for developing her into the type of angler, but she says her husband, Henry, also makes that claim.
Antle and her husband, who is originally from Albany, moved to Jamestown from Louisville a little more than a year ago, deciding it would be a good move to head toward the country.
Because of the move, Antle had to take a year off the Women’s professional BASS tour to relocate. She is now beginning to get back in the groove.
“I’ve been fishing professionally since 1984, off and on, with local women’s fishing clubs and on the national circuits,” she said.
She has fished on three tours in her more than two decades of water time, the Bass and Gal circuit, the Women’s Bass Fishing Association and then, finally, the Women’s Professional BASS tour took the women’s fishing circuit over.
In 2004 she said she claimed first national championship at Neeley Henry reservoir in Alabama, which gave her a number one world ranking on the Women’s Bass Fishing Association tour. According to Antle, she is the first woman in Kentucky to lay claim to that honor.
Antle, who mostly fishes for Smallmouth Bass, said she loves the area she moved to because of the fishing opportunities on Lake Cumberland and the Cumberland River.
“A lot of people think that the lake is suffering due to the lower water levels but I don’t find any fault with it at all, I enjoy seeing the structure that the fish love to hang around,” she said. “I though the fishing was great last year and this year has been super great.”
Since March, Antle and her husband have competed in several tournaments, including the Midwest tournament trail and the Renegade tournament trail, on Lake Cumberland and have a couple first place trophies.
She said several weeks ago that her and Henry had competed in a tournament on the lake and brought in more than 19 lbs. of Smallmouth, and didn’t receive a check.
“That’s how good the fishing is and the quality of fish in this lake,” she said.
Judy will be heading out to compete in Gadsden, Ala. next week on the Women’s BASS Tournament trail with top prize being a Triton bass boat valued at $40,000. She won a Triton boat on the tour in 2004 and said she knows what it takes to be the victor.
Antle, who has been photographed by professional photographers and been on several national radio telecasts, said that on the tour she has to fish with a non-professional co-angler, per tournament rules.
“I take a lot of pride in mentoring my co-anglers,” she said. “Many have never fished competitively.”
She recalled fishing with a lady from Texas several years ago who had never competed before. Judy said the lady didn’t even know when she was getting a bite.
After some tutelage from Antle on the ins and outs of fishing, she began to catch on. Antle said she had recently found out that the woman she helped won her first fishing tournament.
“She told me that if I hadn’t taught her anything that day she may have given up fishing,” Antle said. “I was so proud of her.”
Antle’s local sponsors are Unlimited Marine and her employer, American Cable, whom she says continues to grow and is a delight to work for.
Some of her other sponsors include Statos boats, Motorguide, Prowler Baits, Taylor Battery Company, Evinrude Motor, Bandit Baits, P-Line, Lowrance, Quantam and Esox Rods.
Judy, who has two children, Miranda and Tammy, says she likes to patronize merchants in Jamestown and says she does all of her shopping here.
She said she like to give to her new hometown and knows, when possible, they will give back to her.
“It is expensive to fish the BASS Women’s Tour,” she said. “It costs approximately $3,250 in entry fees and $5,000 in traveling expenses.”
She said it has been difficult to pick up money sponsors.
“I really want to thank the local sponsors for opening up their hearts to me and if there are others that want to help sponsor Judy on the 2008 Women’s BASS tour can contact me at 270-343-5729 or 270-343-2177,” she said.
“To be able to go out on the water and relax and to enjoy the outdoors is amazing,” she said. “Fishing is anyone’s sport.”