PALESTINE, Texas (KETK)–Lighting up the waters in what some may call a male-dominated sport is Alisa Johnson, Lady’s Bass Anglers Associations (LBAA) rookie of the year.
It what seemed like no time at all Johnson went from fishing in local lakes, to signing t-shirts at pro tournaments.
“I didn’t expect a whole lot of myself at first. I kind of had a lot of trial and error, it took a lot of family and a lot of support from the ladies I fish with and against to kind of encourage me to stay and keep fishing.”Alisa Johson
The East Texas native didn’t start her fishing days wearing a jersey.
Instead she was formally introduced to the waters, and was baptized in East Texas tradition.
“I’ve always grown up catfishing in ponds with my grandmother,” said Johnson. “She had a stock catfish pond, she would chum them up with the little can and some dog food and we would just go out there and have a blast.”
Growing up near Lake Palestine making time to go fishing was easy, but it was so much more than having fun on the lake or putting food on the table.
“The lake has always been my serenity, my peacefulness, I just find a calmness being on the water,” said Johnson. “You really can just take in God’s creation and in the nature you can just see all kinds of things.”
All her current success out on the water didn’t happen overnight and she didn’t achieve it alone.
Since the first competition, always at her side is her best friend and mentor Pam Ridgle.
“We just had it, it was one of those things when you meet somebody and it just happens,” said Pam Ridgle, LBAA angler.
“I had to learn how to bass fish, I had to learn how to tournament fish and she took her time to teach me,” said Johnson.
The pair didn’t meet on a body of water or at a bait shop.
“Alisa and I met several years ago, probably about 20 years ago,” said Ridgle. “We had kids that went to school together, played basketball together, they were all friends and so we actually met through basketball games.”
The lessons passed from friend to friend proved to be fruitful, and Johnson proved to be a quick study.
“I know I taught her too well,” Ridgle joked. “She has gained a title I have not received yet, she has learned a whole lot, she is an excellent angler, I know that if I miss one she’s going to get it.”
Despite all the fierce competition out on the water, Johnson still finds time to be thankful and appreciate every blessing.
“We are all working women that are in the circuit,” Johnson said. “We are mothers, we are daughters, we’re sisters, we’re wives, we take care of our home, most of us have a full time job; but I’m thankful for my family that I do leave because I know they’re back home supporting me.”
With the a short and impressive resume, the sky is still the limit and she knows she can do better.
The next tournament will be in Natchitoches, Louisiana in March.
Until then Johnson will be practicing and working on perfecting the skills she learned in the pond so many years ago.