It's only fitting that a local Kentucky lady, is profiled on the week of the Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship held on Kentucky Lake. However, this East Coast transplant has honed her skills all over the U.S. making herself a force to be reckoned with anytime her name is on a tournament roster. So, lets jump right into this and learn a bit more about "Jersey Girl" Rebecca Golden.
Name Rebecca Golden aka Jersey Girl aka Jersey
Where do you live? Eddyville KY
Have we fished together yet? If so, do you remember where?
I can’t recall ;-) actually we have fished together enough that I can’t remember how many times. But where? Kentucky Lake and Toledo Bend
What kayak do you use for tournaments?
2017 Hobie Outback
When and why did you start kayak bass fishing competitively?
I started fishing with South Jersey Kayak Bass Fishing Club in 2013, purely as a way to meet other kayak anglers. I had no idea I would fall in love with the competitive aspect of the sport. I credit the great anglers and friends from that club with teaching me the ropes as well as pushing me and encouraging me.
What are some of your accomplishments that you are most proud of in the sport?
Since I started tournament fishing, it’s been all of the small landmarks along the way that have shown my growth.
First, it was being the SJKBFC rookie of the year in 2014. There were only 4 of us fighting for that award but I was super proud of that.
Then the next year I placed 5th at a KBS tourney in PA. I had a dismal showing at my first KBS tourney at Guntersville, and I fished my butt off prefishing for the PA tourney. I learned a new skill that tourney (drop shotting) and it was the first “win” outside of my club.
In 2016 I had a much stronger showing with the KBS tourneys and ended up with the title of AOY of the Northern Division. My confidence grew and I realized I could hang with really good anglers for more than just one tourney.
In 2017 I had a number of proud moments and tourneys...doing well at Guntersville, Cedar Creek, and Pickwick stand out not just because of how I finished but also because of who I was competing against.
What are some of the companies that you are sponsored by or pro staff for?
Not that many actually, since I am pretty particular about who I work with and the products I use. Supernova Lights, Pro Tungsten, and Zeko shoes are the companies I currently pro-staff for.
What is your biggest fish to date and what did you catch it on?
It was a 21.75” fish I caught at my favorite lake in NJ, Assumpink Lake. I also won that tourney, and that fish tied me with another club member for the club 2016 lunker award. I caught it on a Neko Rig with a black Flat Dawg.
------>> (Addendum: Rebecca had a right before posting catch of a 22.5" here on Kentucky Lake while prefishing for the National Championship.)
What are your biggest challenges either during tournaments or leading up to a tournament?
My biggest challenge since I started fishing has been the mental aspect of fishing. I’m proud of the fact that I’ve shown growth in this area but I work on it every tourney, every year. I used to get freaked out by my 15-20 person club tourneys...then it was 50-60 person tourneys, then 100+ person tourneys. I feel like I have turned a corner with that. I also used to hate fishing lakes blind. I’ve gotten much more confidence in my ability to research lakes and make good decisions about how to approach them.
Sleep in the car, arrive the morning of the tournament, or grab a hotel?
Sleep in the car. No question. Even when I’ve stayed in a hotel or camped, I end up at the ramp the night before and sleep in my car until go time.
One piece of equipment that you wouldn’t consider fishing a tournament without?
Aside from the obvious (rods and reels), I wouldn’t fish a tourney without my mirage drive. I left it home by accident once and I never will again!!!
We all have preconceived notions of what we were getting into before that very first tournament. Have there been any surprises along the way for you? If so, what were they?
The biggest surprise with tournament fishing has been how awesome kayak anglers are to each other, even during a tourney. It’s not cut throat like other forms of competition, and I’ve seen anglers offering advice and help to others. I’ve seen people quit fishing to help someone in trouble, even driving them to the hospital during a tourney.
Who is one person you would love to kayak bass fish with?
What body of water is your favorite to fish a tournament on? Why?
Gosh there are so many. But Guntersville is a big favorite of mine.
Are you an old school “rely on my instincts” angler, or do you employ technology more in tracking down where you are going to fish?
I think both. I learned to fish basically without electronics. I read everything I could about bass fishing and went to classes through Bass University. So I learned about about where bass “should” be. Now with my electronics I combine that knowledge with where I know the bass actually are located.
What would be one piece of advice that you would give to someone considering entering the sport?
You don’t get better as fishing unless you spend lots of time on the water and challenge yourself. Kentucky Lake Hobie Open winner and SJKBFC club member Tom Michael taught me that.