“Incredible challenge:” Wisconsin women representing U.S. in Women’s Match Fishing World Championship

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MILWAUKEE -- For the first time, a group of Wisconsin women is representing the United States in a unique fishing competition.

It's not unusual to find Kristen Monroe by the water.

"These are like, some really, really nice gills," Monroe said.

Kristen Monroe

Already an experienced angler, Monroe is turning her focus to something new -- match fishing.

"We'll be going after bleak, bream and that's something very new to me and very foreign," Monroe said.

Most popular in Europe, this type of fishing works to put the angler against the clock -- working to catch as many fish as possible in a confined area.

Kristen Monroe

"It's the challenge of it, and it's really making me become a better angler over here, because the gear is so different. We use floats, not bobbers -- being able to locate the fish," Monroe said.

From the poles to the hooks, a few changes make the difference.

Match fishing

"Actually (the pole) is its own tube. It's a very tiny, delicate hook, so see that little slit? That's what you put on your line and then you squeeze it and you make it the same, a little less weight than your float. I was actually fishing against my neighbor, with my match fishing setup, and he had the kind of equipment I usually use. I was catching fish way faster than he was," Monroe said.

Now, with a new knowledge of match fishing, Monroe, along with three other women will help put the United States on the women's match fishing map.

Match fishing

"Well it's very exciting because we've never had a team come from USA and participate. It's the 24th annual Women's Match Fishing World Championship over in Hungary. We will be competing against 17 different countries. These anglers have been fishing this type -- match fishing -- their whole lives. We're pretty new at it, but we're very ambitious," Monroe said.

They're looking forward to the challenge while helping spread the word.

"It's always been really important to me. Over here in the U.S., it's just teaching new people in general, and women fall into that category. Match fishing to me is the incredible challenge to learn something completely new. I have two children, so it's good they can see their mom exploring something new and walking into unknown territory to see how well we do," Monroe said.

Match fishing

Match fishing

Match fishing

There's no denying the tough competition they'll face, but the experience alone has Monroe hooked.

"I love what I use already. I like to catch muskie and bass, so I would never give it up, but it is a nice thing to add to your book of experience and knowledge to be able to apply it in different situations," Monroe said.

All the travel and equipment needed for the competition is done through fundraising.

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