When the five women making up the Ebony Anglers appear at a competitive fishing event wielding their rods and reels, there’s cause for conversation. Not just because the team—including founder Gia Peebles, Lesleigh Mausi, Glenda Turner, Bobbiette Palmer, and Tiana Davis—are competing in a sport populated primarily by white men in boats. But because they're dominating it.
Peebles organized the team over the summer of 2020 after visiting a local fishing tournament and realizing no women of color were participating. Peebles, a lifetime competitive athlete with a background in softball, knew her friend Mausi’s father was a professional angler and invited her to join. Turner, Palmer, and Davis followed. At their very first tournament in July 2020, the Carteret Community College Foundation’s Spanish Mackerel and Dolphin Tournament, the Ebony Anglers took first place with a 48-pound king mackerel.
“It just catches some off guard that here we are,” Peebles told The New York Times. “We’re not only female, but we’re Black. We’re competing and we’re doing it well. We’re actually winning.”
The Anglers are often competing against teams with more experience in the competitive fishing landscape, but Peebles and her teammates are confident they can make impressive showings in 2021, including making a qualifying run for the Big Rock Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament in June. The team also advocates for more Black participants in the sport via their website.