Interview with Kylie Cornish (Story by Vicki Lear, Photos by Kylie Cornish)

Super stardom run’s in the Cornish family with the likes of movie star Abbie Cornish.  So it was no surprise to me that Kylie Cornish’s introduction to the ABT Bass Circuit was quite grand.  I have never seen a woman so loud and proud.  It remains cemented in my memory forever.

For those that missed it, it was Kylie’s first ever ABT Bass Tournament in 2006, she was leading after two sessions on day one and led the pack out Day 2.  She didn’t hold the lead but certainly cemented her skills and passion for bass fishing and women boating.

She has grown ever since with numerous top 10’s and qualifying this year in the Grandfinal as a Boater and finishing up ranked 22nd out of Australia’s best fishing men and woman.

Not all of you would know that Kylie is also a mother.  I had a chance to ask Kylie a few personal questions, to get to know her better.

1.  Being a mum of a young daughter, how do you find the time to go fishing?

I’m lucky to have a really supportive family and I could not do it without them.  Jade, my husband and I take it in turns when it comes to tournaments, if for some reason we have no one to look after Tegan.   It is really hard as I have to put her needs first which means I don’t get to spend anywhere near the amount of time on the water as I would like.  It is getting easier though with each year that she gets older.

2.  Do you think your daughter will take after you and get into fishing, what do you do to encourage it?

Only time will tell with that one.  I really don’t know if she has the patience for it.  I know kids will be kids and concentrating on one thing for longer than 5 minutes is just too hard as is the case for Tegan.  Although she did get the competitive gene from both her dad and myself so I would look out if she does.  When it comes to fishing, Tegan sometimes shows me up with her casting skills but is much happier to use less of her effort and just bait fish for flathead or troll lures for a major reward.  So when Tegan is with us you often see us trolling down the river.  When fishing with kids you have to keep it fun with no pressure.

3.  Who is your greatest fishing mentor and why?

She is an amazing angler that I met many years ago and that I now have the privilege to call my friend, her name is Vicki Lear.  I believe she is without a doubt one of the most well respected and talented anglers in the country and has certainly been at the forefront of breaking new ground for female anglers in Australia.  I have learnt so much off her from just sitting having a chat about fishing over a cold beer to heading out on the water.  Whether it’s from the humble Bass to Big Game, I have been lucky enough to learn so much from her wealth of knowledge.  Vicki and I also try to fish Mega bucks when we can as a team and always give the guys a run for their money.

4.  What is your proudest achievement in fishing?

I really think that for me, it would have to be getting out on the water as a Boater in such a male dominated sport.  It was really overwhelming to start with and having so many eyes on you and thinking they all wanted you to fail.  This was really daunting, yet I pushed through it.  Now, knowing every time I get out on the water I have the respect of the guys and I am every bit as competitive as them.  It is only recently, I now call myself an angler and that makes me proud.

5.  We all know you tournament fish for Bass but do you enjoy other forms of fishing, if so what?

I love my bass fishing but I really don’t care what type of fishing it is, I’m in!  If I had a choice though it would be chasing Big Barramundi in the run off.  Casting lures in some of the little feeder creeks in the Northern Territory with no room for error and waiting for the hit.  Once you are hooked it is blood pumping and not much can compare to the double thumb action of a locked drag as the big girl is heading to the mangroves.  The shear exhaustion at the end of the day is worth it.

6.  What is your most memorable catch?

This might sound strange but it is not even my catch.  A few years ago my mum and I headed to Darwin for a Female Barramundi Competition.  It was the first time either of us had been to the top end and we had both never fished for Barramundi.  So when my Mum took out Champion Female Angler with a 90cm Threadfin Salmon, 90cm Barramundi and to top it off, a big girl of 101cm Barramundi that was the certainly my most memorable catch to able to be with my mum when she made the Metre Club.   Not much could top that apart from maybe being able to say the next year I beat her with an 118cm Barramundi.

7.  What would be your dream fishing experience?

Would have to be Black Bass Fishing in the remote areas of Papa New Guinea.  Hooking up on a monster of a fish that is pulling like a steam train and knowing you would be lucky to land it.  Now that would be exciting and something I want to do before it is too late.  I love the fact that some areas are just so untouched and you could be fishing virgin water that has never seen a lure.

8.  Who or what got you started into fishing?

We had a caravan at Windang on the South Coast of NSW and would go there every weekend when I was a kid. I was the grubby little girl that always had a bucket of worms in her hand or sitting on the back of dads boat with a line in the water.  So that’s where it all started.  As I got older, I would go fishing with Mum and Dad and Eucumbene was our favourite destination. I still really love trout fishing.  When I met my husband Jade, it all snow balled.  We would go bass fishing every day at the Local River and beach fishing on the weekend.  Thankfully he would invite me because I could tie my own knots and gang hook my own pilchard (some thing all girls should learn) even if it is just to impress the hot guys.

9.  In Bass Tournaments you fish in the boater division.  You are normally the only female in this division do you find this intimidating?  What advice would you give to other woman who wanted to make a start in this division?

It was very intimidating to start with and it took me a really long time to get past the nerves and to stop second-guessing myself.  With time on the water I am now so much more confident.  In the beginning my confident nature was all show and the nerves would just eat away at me. I am more relaxed now and really enjoy it.  I truly believe it would be so much easier for any female to go out as a Boater now just due to the hard yards that all of us females have been putting in over the years.  We are all well respected as anglers by our peers and not just looked at as chicks that fish. We moor side by side on the water each week and some of them even look to us for advice.

So due to the effort we have all put in to it, we have started to break down the walls of fishing being the man’s domain.  Females are slowly becoming a more populated presence in all aspects of fishing.  We are all certainly breaking new ground for the next generation of Female Angler.

Vicki Lear is a self confessed fish-a-holic and works as a real estate agent to support her habit. Far from being a “one trick pony” she excels at many diverse styles of fishing from land based game fishing to offshore gamefishing. As well, she kicks most guys butts at Bream and Bass fishing

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