Published 9:40 pm Sunday, November 2, 2008
The Bassmaster Classic just got classier.
For the first time in the 39-year history of the tournament, a woman will be fishing in the Classic in February as Kim Bain, 28, of Alabaster clinched the spot last weekend by winning the Women’s Bassmaster Tour Championship and the Angler of the Year Award.
Prior to this season, BASS announced that the Angler of the Year would go to the Classic.
Going into the weekend, Bain held a slim lead in the points, and that lead dwindled after finishing seventh on the first day of the Championship.
However, Bain recaptured the lead on Friday and never looked back.
“I was overwhelmed, I was excited,” Bain said. “It made me a little bit sad, in a way, because it made me miss home.”
Home for Bain is thousands of miles away in Brisbane, Australia.
As a young girl, Bain dreamed about fishing in the Classic. Her father ran an Australian bass fishing series when Bain was young, and she grew up idolizing the likes of American professionals Denny Braurer, Gary Klein and Rick Clunn.
“I’ve dreamed about the Bassmaster Classic ever since I was a little girl, but I never thought it was possible,” Bain said. “Whenever you set yourself a goal and it comes true, that is a pretty special moment.”
Although Bain looked up to the likes of Braurer, Klein and Clunn, it is ladies like Chris Houston, Mary Ann Martin and Penny Berryman who have helped pave the way for women anglers, Bain said.
And Bain doesn’t intend to let them down.
“I really do feel like fishing is a sport where everybody is on an equal playing field,” Bain said. “This is a tremendous opportunity to really wave the flag for ladies in a pretty big arena.”
When Bain gets to that big arena, she will have a familiar face in her corner.
Bain’s husband, Andre Moore, is also an angler and he has fished the Classic numerous times. He even proposed to Bain at the 2005 Classic.
The two have even fished against each other in several tournaments on the FLW Tour, with Bain coming out on top a couple of times.
“Yeah, she’s kicked my (butt) a few times,” Moore said.
“But we don’t talk about it,” Bain said with a laugh.
And it’s that special relationship that has made this whole whirlwind of events easier on Bain.
“It’s fishing. You can’t catch them all the time,” Bain said. “Sometimes you have good days, and sometimes you have bad days. It’s been really nice to have someone who truly understands the sport to sort of go home to and have a shoulder to cry on or a high five to get.”
While Bain has fished with Moore and many other male anglers during her career, she has no plans to return to circuits of mostly men.
“I’ve been there, done that,” Bain said. “I really get to hang out with ladies and enjoy fishing with people who have the same passion as I do.”
Although Bain knows she has just as good of a shot to win the Classic as anyone, she hopes her story goes beyond a battle of the sexes.
“I’ve never really been one for man against woman I think we should all just really get out there and enjoy the sport. I think at the end of the day, the fish doesn’t know if it’s a man or a woman on the other end of the line. May he, or she, with the best strategy go to the Classic and win,” Bain said. “I really hope that it encourages people to get out in the outdoors and go fishing and to really follow their dreams. That’s why this is so special to me.”