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Old 09-07-2008, 03:48 PM
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Default New striper club president asks: why should guys have all the fun?

Roanoke Outdoors

By Bill Cochran


Club has had a woman as its president. Angie Behan has given nearly every aspect of the club a new twist and has placed major emphasis on attracting women to the club and to fishing. Here are answers to questions I asked her:


Q. How long have you been striped bass fishing, and how did you get started?
A. I have been fishing for striped bass for approximately three years; however, I have wanted to fish since I was a kid growing up on the Chesapeake Bay. We used to catch crabs off of the dock with a string and chicken neck. My brothers were the net men. We would catch a basketful and my mom would steam them up with Old Bay. There is nothing that entices me more than the small of Old Bay -- it must be in the blood. I learned to fish from two good friends from Franklin County. My father was a deep-sea fisherman who fished all over the world, but I haven’t reached that point yet. I have a boyfriend who does not fish.
Q. When did you join the Smith Mountain Striper Club and how long have you been the president?
A. I joined in 2006 after hearing about the club through the grapevine, and wanted to meet people who shared my love of fishing and being on the water. I have made many lifelong friends in this club. My circle of friends has increased tenfold since joining this very unique and dynamic club. We are like a big family. The board of directors elected me as president in November.
Q. How many members do you have?
A. We have approximately 500.
Q. What are some of your goals for the club?
A. Getting women involved has been a goal of mine since day one. I have taken some of my girlfriends fishing and they quickly were hooked. It is addictive; it is a good stress reliever. There is something magical about being on the water, something very soothing. You forget about everything else. I feel that it is important for women to do something that is challenging, fun, slightly competitive in a good way, and really helps with self-confidence in a man’s world. A woman who can fish usually can hold her own, and why should the guys have all the fun?
Q. What kind of success are you having attracting women?
A. There are many women in our club that fish with their husbands regularly and more men started bring their wives this year since there is a woman president. That’s why we wanted to have more women’s activities, including StriperGirls Ladies Day Out.
Q. During a recent woman’s fishing outing you caught the largest striper, a 16-pounder. Give us some details.

Angie Behan (left) and Cindy Turlington with striped bass catch.

A. We all caught big fish that day. We were on the dock at 5:30 a.m. and ready to go with Capt. Dewayne Lamb from Captain’s Quarters aboard his boat “All For Fun.” We trolled using planer boards with live bait. In between hits we laughed, joked and talked girl talk. I don’t think we slept much the night before. The anticipation is part of the fun. Yes, I caught the biggest one that day, but don’t ask about the one that got away.
Q. The club’s online news bulletin has grown in size and quality until it is one of the best of its kind in the nation. Doesn’t it, too, have a woman’s touch?
A. It is our crown jewel -- 14 pages in color of everything from fishing how-to’s, lake reports, fishing reports, tips, tricks, recipes, jokes, pictures and news. We have an “Ask an Expert” column where readers send in questions to be answered by a local guide and we have an “Ask Dan” column that posts questions to Dan Wilson, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries biologist who manages stripers in Smith Mountain. We have been blessed with an editor, Cindy Turlington, who is just brilliant and incredibly gifted. Cindy is a visionary and we knew what we wanted to produce. I really could not do this job without her.
Q. What are some other things the club is doing that you feel is important?
A. People are usually very surprised to hear how many projects that we are involved in each year. We work closely with DGIF to maintain the quality of the Smith Mountain/Leesville fishery. We have a jointly created management plan which is a working document that we review, maintain and update. We assist in the stocking of 350,000 to 400,000 fingerlings each summer. In the fall we tag fish and do gill net studies. Our members maintain angler diaries to record data for our biologist.
We teach over 500 kids how to fish each summer. We hold four tournaments a year and have a fish fry. At monthly meetings we have dynamic presentations and speakers that cover every aspect of fishing for striped bass. Our BBQ/Fishermen’s Flea Market has grown so large that we have had to move it outdoors.
Q. In recent years, stripers in Smith Mountain Lake have suffered from a decline in forage, parasites and a die off of large fish. Do you think the fishery is making a comeback?
A. Absolutely. We must be on the right tack. The fishing is good -- good numbers, good sizes. Remember, it takes 15 to 20 years to grow trophy-sized striped bass.
Q. The club has had an up-and-down relationship with DGIF. Do you think the agency is doing a creditable jog in managing the lake’s fishery?
A. Yes, yes and yes. We have an excellent relationship with DGIF and strive to make it even better. Dan Wilson is our biologist and we are usually in contact weekly. We are fortunate to have someone of Dan’s caliber to work with. We even toured the Vic Thomas hatchery prior to this year’s stocking. Ken Mitchell, the hatchery manager, and his crew have been very interested and responsive to the club. Mitchell will be doing a power point presentation at our August meeting.
Q. When and where does the club meet and how much are the dues?
A. Club meeting generally are the first Friday of each month 7 p.m. at the Moneta Community Center. Dues are $30 per year. The contact email is [email protected]
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