Date Night Catfishing
by Ron Presley
At 35-years-young Amy Starnes has become a serious catwoman. She lives in Falls Branch, Tennessee where Cherokee Lake is her home water. That’s where it all began for Amy.
“My catfishing began about 5 years ago and I have been addicted ever since,” recounted Amy. “I started fishing on Cherokee Lake in Rogersville, TN. Since then I have fished my way along the Tennessee River System to Decatur, AL.”
Amy caught her first catfish when she went on a date with Eric Williams on Cherokee Lake. That experience not only resulted in a husband but a genuine love for catfishing.
“Yes, I went fishing on a date,” confirmed Amy. “I caught my first catfish that night and I plan on catching them until I can’t physically go anymore. I must have impressed my date because he has been my partner ever since. If it wasn’t for my husband, Eric Williams, I might never have known the joy that catfishing brings.”
Amy describes her passion for catfishing as “intense,” while identifying her favorite catfish to catch as the flathead. According to Amy, no other fish compares to the fight that the flathead gives. She also admits that part of the joy she finds in catfishing is in tournament fishing.
“I fish tournaments because I like to meet new people and travel to new places,” explained Amy. “The family atmosphere and getting to see new places to fish makes it fun. I have gained some great supporters over the years, James Arwood, owner of Hookers Terminal Tackle, and Matt Knight, owner of MadKatz rods to name just two.”
“I am a competitive person and love the friendly competition,” continued Amy. “We always give everyone a hard time but at the end of the day, we are all still friends. I’ve met some people that have become like family, and that’s the best part.”
Amy is willing to pitch in anywhere the catfishing community is involved. Most recently she added her passion to the Catapalooza event in Pigeon Forge, TN.
“I had such a great time at Catapalooza this year,” Amy said. “Being able to meet people I’ve only seen online, seeing people I consider friends, and meeting new faces was a blast. I had the privilege to help Frank Key find speakers for the kids’ seminar. All the wonderful things he did for the future catfishers were just amazing. And I’m so glad I got to help James Arwood at this event. I am already looking forward to next year.”
“Amy Starnes is as hardcore of a fisherman as any MAN I’ve met,” said James Arwood. “She’s a lady that doesn’t mind getting down and dirty to chase the slimy monsters we love. Watching her best some of the finest anglers around always makes me smile just like she smiles in every pic you ever see her in.”
Amy’s personality is not a pushy one. Her friends recognize her as someone willing to work and ready to fish.
“Most people may not know me because I don’t put myself out there as some do,” admitted Amy. “But If you take the time to talk to me I bet you won’t forget me any time soon. I enjoy fishing and everything related to it. Most people who know me would say I’m outgoing and very talkative.”
“My friends would say that I’m a slime queen,” joked Amy. “I’m not afraid to get dirty and given the opportunity, I will go fishing anywhere, anytime. They would also say that I am kind and love to cut up. If you hang out with me long enough you may get mooned!”
Her enthusiasm for catfishing reaches beyond her own enjoyment. Her goals include teaching the next generation about catfishing and conservation. Whether it be related to tournament fishing or recreational fishing, Amy believes in taking care of the resource through good conservation practices and personal responsibility.
She believes that anglers should clean up after themselves and she picks up trash that others have left behind. She doesn’t want our waters to become so polluted that the fish can’t survive.
“I practice CPR strictly,” she said. “I believe in leaving something for the future catfishing men and women. I always pass along my knowledge on conservation to others. If everyone would be conservative-minded there will be plenty of fish for everyone for many years to come. Respect for the environment and others goes a long way and need not be forgotten.”
“My passion comes from seeing that rod bend over and not knowing if my next personal best is on the other end,” explained Amy. “That mystery is what I love about catfishing. It doesn’t matter what your personal best is there will always be a bigger one waiting to be caught.”
Amy wants people to remember her for her kindness, passion for fishing, and not being afraid to get slimy as she continues to chase her next personal best.
“It’s true, I have a passion for catfishing,” concluded Amy. “I am enjoying life and fishing every chance I get. If I’m not fishing I’m talking about fishing at East Tennessee Catfishing on Facebook.”