Up Front with Sara Parker Pauley

By Sara Parker Pauley | September 1, 2023
From Missouri Conservationist: September 2023

Identity is a powerful thing. Even before my husband retired after more than 30 years in law enforcement, when asked what he did for a living, more often than not he would say he was a tournament bass fisherman. I found that humorous as tournament winnings certainly didn’t pay the bills, but I appreciate that he sees himself as a fisherman — that’s who he is. (Learn more about bass fishing on Page 17.)

According to a 2023 Special Report on Fishing, he’s not alone in his interest. The U.S. saw a 4 percent increase in 2022 over 2021 in numbers of people fishing, including 19.8 million women, which was a 40 percent increase over the past decade.

Rest assured, MDC is working to create the best environments for fish and anglers to flourish. One example is a partnership between MDC, the National Fish Habitat Partnership, and Bass Pro Shops to improve habitat in many Missouri lakes, including Table Rock, Bull Shoals, Smithville, Mark Twain, and Norfolk lakes. Over the last 15 years, more than 2,200 habitat structures have been installed and another 700 structures are soon to be replaced.

“And don’t forget MDC’s MO Fishing app,” says MDC Fisheries Chief Bruce Drecktrah. “Through the app, anglers can navigate to all of these installed habitat structures.” 

On occasion I ask my husband when he’ll be ready to hang up the bass tournaments. Silly question really, as I already know the answer. He’ll keep fishing tournaments until he physically can’t anymore because that’s what tournament fishermen do.

Sara Parker Pauley, Director


This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Larry Archer
Photography Editor - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Staff Writer – Dianne Van Dien
Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner