Demetria and her husband Joe began tournament fishing on the local level
before expanding to national trails like the KingKat trail. (Submitted Photo)
Work Hard for the Reward
by Demetria Westbrook
Putting in the work to catch a fish or harvest a buck makes the whole endeavor more worthwhile for Demetria Westbrook.
I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors—whether it’s gardening, elk hunting, deer hunting, turkey hunting, or fishing. It is especially true when food is the reward. My fishing started on local lakes and ponds in Central Illinois and the Illinois River for “eaters.” There’s nothing like being able to harvest your own food.
Let’s be honest, you tend to appreciate things more when you work hard to get them. Combine the beauty of God’s creation, with the excitement of a bugling elk, rutting buck, or a huge fish ripping drag, and you’ve got the perfect combination. So it was no surprise that I took an interest in catfish tournaments several years ago. We fished local tournaments at first before expanding nationally.
My husband, Joe, first started bass fishing tournaments about 15 years ago. He did well and I quickly became interested in the strategizing involved with competitive fishing. Perhaps the strategizing and analyzing part could be my favorite aspect. Where to fish, why, how, current situations, rigging, bait, etc., etc. Figuring out all those variables is a challenge that keeps me interested.
Catfishing was also more exciting to me because a catfish had the potential to be a really big fish. However, I definitely need to give credit where credit is due. I have an awesome boat captain! My husband Joe fixes everything I break (which is too much to list), and he has taught me most of what I know about fishing today.
I live “a rock throw away” from about 15,000 acres of public land in Central Illinois. I am a huge fan of public land hunting and fishing and the conservation efforts made by hard-working people and the benefits given to everyone through public land. It is so important to take care of our natural resources and pass our passion for hunting and fishing down to the next generation to continue.
I am blessed to have nieces and nephews that I can take hunting and fishing. It is my way of passing it on. There is nothing more rewarding than to see a child catch a fish or harvest an animal. Although I have to admit, I’m not sure who gets more excited, them or “Aunt Meta.” Hopefully, they will be fishing tournaments with me soon.
The bible says in Genesis 1:26-28, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
This verse reminds us that It is our responsibility to take care of the earth, the animals, and the fish as part of our earthly activities.
We’ve truly met some amazing people through tournament fishing over the years. There are too many to list. They have become our dear friends and we look forward to seeing them every opportunity we get. They are a big part of why we catfish.
Catfishing is an activity that anyone can enjoy be it man, woman, or child regardless of age or physical ability. I am very thankful for the freedom and opportunity we have to fish with family and friends while making memories that will last a lifetime.