Tracy Joseph, aka Old Lady Angler, jumped into kayak fishing with both feet after retirement. Her enthusiasm is inspiring many other anglers, especially beginners who’ve found her YouTube channel.
Tracy Joseph, aka Old Lady Angler, with a 3 lb 4 oz Peacock Bass
Tracy is a retired Aviation Maintenance Supervisor. She started out in the United States Air Force and retired not too long ago from the commercial aviation world.
We love what she says on her YouTube channel, called Old Lady Angler (She’s known as OLA there): “I don't know a lot about fishing, but I'm learning on the fly!! Join me in my fishing adventures mostly in East Central Florida.”
Several thousand subscribers have done just that, and joined her by watching her kayaking fishing videos, which she creates herself.
Tracy slowed down long enough to grant us an interview about her background, her love of kayak fishing, and her favorite fish:
BENDING BRANCHES: Tell us how you got into kayak fishing.
OLA: When I retired in 2016, I moved to Florida to help take care of my parents. As a hobby, I decided to do some fishing. I’d fished with my father and siblings back in my younger years, but really hadn't done any serious fishing since then.
So I began with dock fishing in the Mosquito Lagoon, catching mostly Sheepshead and Mangrove Snapper. I caught my first Redfish from the dock and that was it. I had to buy a cheap kayak so that I could access the flats and target those beautiful fish.
After a year of making the long drive back and forth to the coast, I decided to give freshwater a try. I'd never really caught any Bass. But then I saw how big some of the gators were! So I started bank fishing for Bass instead.
It took me a long time to get my first dock bass, but once I did it was like a light bulb went off. I started putting the puzzle together and catching lots of Bass—and a few good-sized ones. After a long while of bank fishing, I finally got brave and launched that cheap kayak into the freshwater.
OLA’s 9 lb 14 oz Bass, her personal best
From that moment, I knew I had found what I was looking for. I've always been an adventurous outdoor lover, and kayak fishing was another way to get me closer to nature.
But fishing gave me an entirely new challenge—not only the physical challenge (which I love) but the mental challenge of outsmarting the fish. There are so many variables to consider while fishing.
And I love the fact that, with fishing, tomorrow is a new day and can be totally different than the day before. It's so satisfying to catch a fish and return it to the lake. To watch it swim away.
My all-time favorite target species is the Largemouth Bass. A gorgeous and smart fish!
BENDING BRANCHES: What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about kayak fishing?
OLA: The most surprising thing I've learned about kayak fishing is how fantastic the community is.
Folks are ALWAYS willing to help out a fellow angler, whether it be a technical problem, a fishing question, or just moral support during difficult times. These folks are good and they're genuine.
A 5 lb 4 oz Clown Knife Fish
BENDING BRANCHES: What’s your favorite fishing spot near you in Central Florida?
OLA: My favorite fishing spots in Central Florida are in Ocala National Forest. There are literally hundreds of lakes, big and small. Some of them are hardly touched. Some have crystal clear water and some are tannic.
All of them are beautiful, peaceful and a joy to visit and enjoy Mother Nature.
BENDING BRANCHES: How are you connected to the kayak fishing community?
OLA: I'm a proud member of KBF (Kayak Bass Fishing) and also WFF (Women's Fishing Federation).
I've been participating in the monthly KBF Challenge Series events for the past three years or so. It's such a great way to stay motivated, push myself, and get to know other anglers in my area. It's also a great way to get started in the competitive side of kayak fishing on my own schedule and without a ton of pressure.
The Women's Fishing Federation is a relatively new organization. It's been another great way to network with other women anglers, and share knowledge at its annual 4-day event each year. It's a great way to give back by fostering women's involvement in the sport of fishing through education, camaraderie and support.
BENDING BRANCHES: What are your kayak fishing goals?
OLA: My #1 goal since I began Bass fishing is to catch a double digit Largemouth Bass. I came close a few months ago—VERY close. It was one of my very favorite days on the water EVER. Not only did I catch a giant, but I had a miracle save at the net (watch below)!
A goal for 2021 is to do a few live events (tournaments). I've done one, but didn’t have a good outcome. A tornado had gone through the area I was fishing just a few hours prior to the event. I'd like another shot at it!
A special thanks goes to Native Watercraft for having enough faith in me to make me part of their Pro Staff Team. It's always awesome to represent a brand that you already know and love. The Slayer Max 10 has changed my kayak fishing experience again!
BENDING BRANCHES: Tell us about your YouTube channel and other social media.
OLA: My YouTube channel came about kind of by accident. I was posting my fishing videos mainly for my younger sister to watch. She's a huge Bass angler up in Illinois. By chance, other folks started watching the videos and it grew from there. (NOTE: At the time of this writing, Tracy has 5.48K subscribers.)
I've always been a tech geek, so this fulfills another passion of mine—producing videos. I try to put out quality, family-friendly content that not only entertains but teaches a thing or two.
A lot of the time, I'm learning as I go and it's great that my experiences can help other beginning anglers. YouTube is, after all, the teacher I used when I was a beginner. I also really enjoy meeting and talking with subscribers, and sharing experiences.
I just recently started a Tiktok account. It's amazing—it went viral overnight with my very first post at 2.3 million views. I have a few other short clips on there that are fast approaching 1 million already. I just decided to try TikTok to reach another audience and KABOOM! It's exploding.
BENDING BRANCHES: Which Bending Branches paddle do you use?
OLA: I bought my first Bending Branches kayak fishing paddle this year, the Angler Pro Snap model. I have to say, I didn’t realize just how much of a difference a super lightweight paddle would make. I'm used to spending an entire day out on the water, and having this paddle has eliminated fatigue.
Although I'm in a peddle drive kayak, there are some lakes I fish that require up to 99% paddling due to the crazy Hydrilla (an invasive aquatic plant). This paddle is just what I needed. It's so lightweight that I was a bit hesitant with it at first. But I put this paddle through the ringer and it's going strong!
OLA’s longest bass ever, 26 inches, won her a 3rd place finish at KBF Big Bass 2021
(All photos courtesy of Old Lady Angler)
Have questions about our kayak fishing paddles? Get in touch with our friendly Customer Service team today: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]
More for you...