Competitive fishing may be historically a white, male space, but the Ebony Anglers are changing that. The all-Black female competitive fishing team from North Carolina is causing a stir in the sports world — and doing it while raising kids and working.
Founder Gia Peebles formed the team in June 2020, after she attended the annual Big Rock Fishing Tournament in Beaufort, North Carolina.
“When I saw women of all ages coming from their fishing boats with fish and winning prizes, I noticed that there were no women of color competing,” Peebles told MarthaStewart.com. “I said to myself, ‘We can do this. I already know accomplished women who are leaders and know how to win in other aspects of their lives — we can do this.'”
She decided to approach friends Lesleigh Mausi, Glenda Turner, Bobbiette Palmer and Tiana Davis with the idea of creating a team.
She first contacted Mausi, whose father was a professional angler, but not everyone on the team was an experienced fisher. In fact, some of them were novices.
“We instantly developed a bond,” Palmer told the New York Times. “We’re all organized in our own ways, and we fill each other’s gaps. Our strengths and weaknesses, they complement each other.”
The Ebony Anglers Facebook page keeps fans up to date with their ocean adventures and achievements.
The team competed in the Atlantic Beach King Mackerel Fishing Tournament in October 2020 and reeled in seven king mackerel within four hours of the last day of the tournament. In June, they’ll compete in the Big Rock Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament — the one Peebles attended that sparked the idea for the team.
The women are working moms, and the team’s vision goes beyond promoting the idea of inclusion of female anglers of color. According to their website, one of the team’s missions is “to establish a legacy of leadership, sportsmanship and excellence for youth through education and mentoring.”
To that end, they’ve launched mentoring and leadership programs to help educate and empower youth through the sport. Through Black Girls Fish and Black Boys Boat – both 501c3 nonprofit and tax-exempt programs – they work with local youths to encourage an interest in fishing.