Mt. Juliet's Lauren Prosser-Crecelius has been fishing since she was a little girl, and recently landed her biggest catch -- first place in a Ladies Bass Anglers Association tournament.
"It was exciting," says Lauren, who capitalized on a "home lake" advantage on Old Hickory Lake to boat a two-day catch weighing 21 pounds, eight ounces. "It's something I hope to build on."
Lauren, a graduate of Mt. Juliet High and Cumberland University, is a manager with an accounting firm and the mother of a six-months-old son. Fitting fishing into her schedule is a challenge, especially when it comes to time-consuming tournaments and the related travel.
"I hope to get to fish at least one more (LBAA tournament), next month on Kentucky Lake," she says. "That's fairly close, so hopefully I can fit it in."
The LBAA schedule consists of five tournaments. Prize money is based on the number of entries.
"The LBAA is still in its early stages, but it has a lot of potential," Lauren says. "It offers opportunities to women fishermen that we otherwise wouldn't have. I enjoy tournament fishing because it's competitive and gives me a chance to make new acquaintances who share my interest in fishing."
Lauren began fishing almost as soon as she could carry a fishing pole.
"My dad used to pick me up after school and we'd to straight to Old Hickory Lake," she says. "We fished mostly for crappie and catfish, and I loved it. I've been fishing ever since."
Lauren's mother and sister also fish, and angling is an interest she shares with her husband Kyle.
"He and I started fishing some local tournaments a few years ago and did well," she says. "That's what inspired me to enter some LBAA tournaments."
Her first professional tournament was in 2012, her second last year. How determined was Lauren to fish the 2013 tournament?
"I was three months pregnant at the time," she says.
Today son Gatlin is six months old and accompanies his mother on some of her fishing ventures.
"I'm sure he'll be a fisherman when he gets big enough," Lauren says. "He certainly got an early start."
Lauren would like to make a career of tournament fishing, but admits it is difficult. The women's tournaments don't have the six-figure payouts that many of the big men's tournaments have. (She collected $2,000 for her recent LBAA tournament victory.)
"To be able to do it professionally, you need a major sponsor," she says. "I've been fortunate to have the backing of Nashville Marine, which supplies me with a great Phoenix boat, and hopefully I'll be able to attract more sponsors as I go along."
Tournament sponsors look for bright, personable spokespersons who will represent their company and their products well -- and who can also catch fish. Lauren fits the bill on all accounts.
Who knows -- a nibble from a sponsor could lead to a big catch on down the road.