Bass pro shares knowledge, skills
May 11, 2001
Some half a dozen years ago, I met a person whom I consider to be the quintessential bass angler. Her name is Penny Berryman. She was contending for the Bassin' Gals World title at the time. In the years since, I have discovered the wide range of talents and personal traits that place Penny squarely in the forefront of today's professional bass anglers.
To understand the unique combination of personal qualities that make this lady a leader in her profession, one must first look past her stunning physical beauty. This former competitive water skier, ranked 3rd in the nation when she retired to competitive bass fishing, is a striking blond with a disarming smile. Her soft voice makes listening to her accounts of a day on the water or a discussion of the intricacies of crankbait fishing pleasing to the ear.
Penny's dedication to her profession is a major factor in her successes in the bass fishing industry. She works at bass fishing full time, which many competitive lady bass anglers cannot do because of primary jobs, family concerns or other considerations. Combine dedication with enthusiasm, persistence and determination and you have a profile of this intelligent angler.
Her pursuits have brought her numerous rewards, some of which are: three women's national championships, one World Classic Championship and an Angler of the Year title. She is listed in Bass Pro Shop's Living Legends of Fishing and is a sure bet for the Professional Bass Fishing Hall of Fame.
Penny and husband, Dick, live near Dardanelle Lake in northwest Arkansas. Dick has said of his wife, "She is the best angler I have ever seen." Others are of like mind.
During my coverage of many tournaments for the Women's Bass Fishing Association, it was the usual thing to see Penny out in the launch area during practice fishing days well before the other anglers were trailering in with their boats. Once on Percy Priest Lake near Nashville I arrived at the launch site long before daylight, intending to be there when the first boat arrived for practice in case someone needed help or had an accident.
I saw a flashlight in the blackness and found Penny busy unloading her rod box to get at a spare trolling motor stored beneath her casting rods. I held a light for her while she removed over 20 fully rigged rods and reels (I think there were 26) from the box. I wondered how long it took her just to rig that many rods with various actions, lengths and line sizes. She finished the chore and was on the lake before anyone.
Battling the Cold
Another time I saw her come off Toledo Bend in waves so high some of the anglers were forced to beach in remote areas and ride out a cold front. Her gloved hands were nearly frozen but she still flashed that Cover Girl smile and quietly asked for a cup of coffee. Everyone knew the cold front would pass quickly and the following day would mean a different bass bite. But she still was out on the lake anyway, looking for fish.
Penny has just released a video tape entitled "Learn to Fish – the Easy Way!"The video shows how to choose the right equipment and use it, tie the best knots, and how to find, catch and handle fish. From packing a tackle box with lures that will produce under a variety of conditions, to backing a boat trailer and having it go exactly where you want it to go, the video will help anglers of all skill levels gain the confidence they need to go fishing and catch fish. Filled with time-saving and money-saving tips, this video shows the viewer the fun of catching fish and how easy fishing can be.