From the Concrete Jungle, an Unlikely Angler
What comes to mind when you think of fishing? Perhaps a middle-aged man sitting in a boat, leisurely waiting all day for a tug at his line?
Christi Rolin has news for you.
She’s a member of the angler fishing club at Georgia State, a university landlocked by freeways, city streets and MARTA trains. And recently, she was the only woman to compete at a national college bass fishing tournament in Florida.
“Even though it’s a male-dominated sport, the fish don’t care what gender you are,” Rolin said. But she admits one of her biggest pressures is being the only girl out there.
Bass are huge, powerfully strong fish that struggle violently, and snagging them is an arduous task. Fish also hide under water, and the time of day affects anglers’ ability to catch them.
“It’s a lot more technical than you would think,” said the Georgia State physical therapy student. “You have to know how to be precise. You have to have patience, and you really have to be accurate and ready for anything.”
Rolin grew up fishing in Douglasville, about 30 miles west of Atlanta, but it wasn’t a primary interest.
“My grandparents took me fishing every once in a while, whenever we were near a lake,” Rolin said. “They would give me a Barbie fishing pole, and we would catch fish.”
After abandoning the pastime, she got back into it after meeting her boyfriend, Adam Acker, president of the club.
“I picked it back up and realized how much I liked it,” she said. “especially when you’re catching bigger fish than when you were younger.”
Rolin and Acker traveled to Florida’s St. Johns River in January to compete in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Southern Regional against other colleges that are serious about bass fishing. The duo finished 30th out of 124 competitors.
There are no large bodies of water near Georgia State’s urban campus where students can fish. So the club goes on the road, to Sweetwater Creek west of the city, Lake Lanier to the northeast and Lake Allatoona to the northwest—even out to Texas.
“It’s difficult to find places around Atlanta because we’re in the concrete jungle, but there are some really good places in the outskirts of Atlanta that we’re able to get to,” she said.
She’d like to see more women take up fishing, even if they’ve never cast a reel in their lives.
“It’s never too late to learn techniques and start a new hobby,” she said.