Talkin' Outdoors

Abigale DeVane is a 17 year-old-high school senior in Plant City, Florida, an honor student maintaining a near perfect grade point average. She is active in her FFA chapter winning ribbons with her prized steer at an annual festival. She is drop-dead gorgeous with proof shown on page three of her school’s calendar; she was voted “Miss March.”

Abigale, “Abby” as she is called, will be enrolling in college this fall majoring in Interior Design and with her grades and popularity, could no doubt garner scholarship offers from any number of prestigious universities.

The college Abby has chosen to attend is a lesser known school, Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. She’ll be attending college on a scholarship but not the type of scholarship you might imagine. She’ll be going to school on a fishing scholarship. Her mom, Heather who grew up in Calvin in Winn Parish, explains.

“Abby was brand new to bass fishing a little less than two years ago. Her boyfriend had joined a newly-formed high school fishing team and she attended a weigh-in, at first being more interested in the boy than the fishing. However, the thought of competitive fishing interested her to the point that she wanted to join the team. However,” said Heather, “she told us she didn’t want to partner with her boyfriend just in case they broke up; she didn’t want to mess up her fishing partner. We knew then she was serious about it.”

Since then, Abby has zeroed in on her bass fishing and recalled attending her first tournament weigh-in.

“There was only one girl in that tournament and I began wondering why there weren’t more. I decided to join but because my dad was primarily a salt water fisherman, we didn’t own a bass boat so I started my fishing as a non-boater, going along with a partner who had a boat,” Abby said.

After seeing her serious interest in the sport of bass fishing, her dad bought a bass boat and ever since, she has been “hooked” on the sport with her dad, Derek, captaining her and her partner.

With her success as a bass angler beginning to create waves — she came within one pound of winning a high school bass tournament — she was noticed by the Georgia college, which has a college bass fishing team. After verifying her grades and prowess as a serious bass angler, she was offered a full scholarship.

“I had heard that the college was looking for girls this coming fall for scholarships for their bass fishing team. I inquired about it, the coach called me and after checking me out, I was offered a scholarship,” said Abby.

Having the opportunity to fish some of the country’s best bass fishing lakes in her home state of Florida, Abby is looking forward to setting the hook in one of the monster bass the state is known for.

“You can go out and catch a bunch of bass on any given day but I’m interested in catching my first nine-pounder. That’s why I like to flip baits such as a Sinko and creature bait. You may not catch as many but you have the chance to stick a really big one,” Abby said.

How serious is this young lady about her new-found sport? Here’s what she had to say about an upcoming tournament on Lake Kissimmee, one of Florida’s premier lunker bass lakes.

“We have a high school tournament on Kissimmee coming up,” she said. “It’s the same weekend of my 18th birthday plus our senior prom is that weekend. So will I be celebrating my birthday and attending the prom that weekend? Nope, I’ll be in my bass boat, trying to win that tournament.”

No doubt, Abby DeVane is super serious about her bass fishing.