Ladies, take note: It’s just about time to put on your flashiest pink attire, give the guys the remote control and free reign of the couch, and to grab your fishing lines and tackle box – because the annual Fish Like A Girl tournament is just around the corner!
Celebrating its fourth year in 2018, this fabulously popular fishing tournament that launches from the Avon Fishing Pier is quickly becoming one of the most popular tournaments on the island – and it’s all for an exceptionally worthy cause.
“We had been doing our ‘Paint the Village Pink’ campaign for about two years before Fish Like a Girl began,” says Ellisa Thompson, the Brand Manager for Koru Village and Spa, which orchestrates the event. “When we acquired the pier in 2014 as part of the resort, that’s when we decided we could make this campaign even more powerful by adding an all-women’s fishing tournament at the pier.”
“That first year, we weren’t sure what would happen, but we had incredible community support and about 60 participants,” she says. “The next year we had 120 participants, and the year after that we had 175. We’re definitely hopeful we will reach over 200 this year.”
The tournament is popular among island ladies for two reasons. First and foremost, all net proceeds from the tournament go to benefit the Hatters Island Cancer Foundation (HICF), which is a beloved local organization that has been helping residents who are undergoing treatment for nearly 20 years.
“They are an incredible organization,” says Thompson, “and they do so much to help residents on the island. They are an incredible resource to the folks in our community.”
But the tournament is also a highly-anticipated event because it’s a blast, and because it’s one of the few pier fishing tournaments where it’s the ladies’ time to shine.
“[We’ve already received] two messages from ladies who are suffering from breast cancer right now and who are going through treatment – from Virginia and from Western N.C. – who want to travel down and be part of this event,” says Thompson. “This is the only event that I know of that’s an all-women pier fishing tournament of this magnitude.”
Prizes are given in a number of categories, such as biggest fish, most fish, and pinkest lady angler. Local businesses pitch in to lend a hand and to provide some enticing prizes, and so far, two title sponsors have already stepped up to the plate to make the tournament happen.
“Carolina Brewery, who has a ‘Drink Sky Pink’ campaign, has been really supportive since day one, and has helped make this event a possibility,” says Thompson. “Also, Janet Dawson with CapeAttitude is allowing us to push the event even further this year, through her very generous donation.”
Businesses are continually welcome to pitch in and lend a hand through prize or monetary donations, and all visiting and local ladies are welcome to join in the fun – no experience required!
“You don’t have to be a professional by any means to join the tournament,” says Thompson. “It’s for all ages, so it’s open to everyone – from little girls who just want to come out for ice cream, to grown women who love fishing on the pier… We even have volunteers who are judges, and who can also help you hook shrimp, or learn how to cast.”
Talent, experience, and skill are certainly not requirements to participate – however, having an appropriately pink aesthetic will go a long way in fitting into the rosy-hued atmosphere.
“My slogan when people are showing up for Fish Like a Girl is ‘the pinker, the better,’” says Thompson. “Wear pink clothing and accessories, and any type of costumes and fun-wear is definitely encouraged.”
If you go, expect a lively, laughing, and boisterous scene where the fishing remains the heart of the event, but having fun is the real allure.
With women participating from all across Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, as well as from all across the country, the Fish Like a Girl tournament is always a rowdy mix of mingling, fishing, and having a ball all morning long. (And yes, the men can tag along too.)
“It’s very empowering to see ladies who have survived cancer or who are undergoing treatment being raised up, and having a really good time out there. There’s plenty of positive vibes, and lots of laughing, and just the energy all around makes it a very positive experience,” says Thompson. “And knowing that we’re raising funds for an organization that loves and helps our residents so much, that’s what Fish Like a Girl is all about. It’s empowering.”