Kim Bain-Moore has long excelled at the difficult. Now she's attempting the impossible: being interviewed by Katie Couric and still keeping a low profile.
Of the numerous media appearances the 28-year-old angler has enjoyed on the way to becoming the first woman to fish a Bassmaster Classic, the appearance on "The CBS Evening News" was a watershed, even for her.
That is, she explained, "purely because it was seen by so many people."
"It wasn't just the core market of fishermen," she said. "It was really reaching out to people around the country regardless of what their hobbies were. And hopefully there were some people sitting there and thinking, 'Oh yeah, I've been fishing. I wanna go again."
Bain-Moore has never been one to shrink from a stage. She has fished tournament circuits since the age of 16, winning her share along the way. But the spotlight on the Aussie has intensified since she won the 2008 Toyota Tundra Women's Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year, becoming the first woman to clinch a spot in the coveted Bassmaster Classic.
Since then, Bain-Moore has attracted the attention of mainstream media, which, while not always fascinated with professional fishing, can easily grasp a gender pioneering story. >The Los Angeles Times, for one, crowed that she "infiltrated what has always been a good-old-boy network" with her Classic berth.
"It's been overwhelming. But I've really enjoyed it," Bain-Moore said. "Phone interviews on the road, TV crews mingling in with the family. The car has become a sponsorship office and people are in queue on [her husband] Andre's cell phone because I'm busy on mine."
Since she moved to the United States in 2001, Bain-Moore's fishing success has been featured in numerous fishing publications. But coverage of her upcoming Classic berth is making national news and, with coverage in her native Australia, international news.
"All the breakfast radio stations I used to listen to while I was growing up, they all called me," she said. "I've been in some of the major newspapers around the country. I think the Aussies are proud of me and they're making a big deal of it."
It hasn't been just fishing fans catching the recognition, either.
"It's really nice to talk to the family that I have here from marrying Andre and seeing how excited they are at seeing me on CBS, I love that they're enthusiastic," Bain-Moore said.
Sponsors notice her energy and exposure. Even as the recession forces many companies to shed sponsorship deals, Bain-Moore in 2009 has signed with Navionics, Pflueger, Plano and Legend Boats, which is supplying the craft she'll fish from in the Classic. She also retained current sponsors AFW/HI-SEAS, Minn Kota, Humminbird and PowerPole.
"When you are getting the exposure from a lot of mainstream media, a lot of sponsors would certainly enjoy that," she said. "Their products are being mentioned to a bigger audience. If you are articulate and positive, then all these things work together."
Bain-Moore also has been articulate for a living. She has written for outdoor magazines around the world and has made numerous radio and TV appearances, including on ESPN's Emmy-winning Great Outdoor Games coverage. An interview on camera at the 2003 BASS Open Championship led to Bain-Moore working with ESPN as an on-the-water commentator at the 2005 Bassmaster Classic. She is currently chronicling her Classic experience with a blog on Bassmaster.com.
"I certainly don't do as much [writing] as I used to do since I'm on the road so much," she said. "I very much enjoy going fishing and telling a story, and if I can keep somewhere in the middle, I like doing that."
Keeping that balance is difficult while managing a career, two houses and a popular lure brand. But her down-to-earth attitude helps.
"I try to keep a pretty low profile," Bain-Moore said. "I just want to go and have a good time and hang out with people that have a similar passion for the sport that I do. I certainly enjoyed my time on the WBT through 2008. Regardless of the success that I had, I just had a great time and made lots of friends. And I look forward to 2009 and I hope I make even more friends."
That sort of levelheadedness is valuable in dealing with the mental game that comes with competing at the sport's highest level, and it is being noticed by experts. In fact, the betting Web site sportingbet.com has Bain-Moore at 28-to-1 odds to win the Classic outright. Those odds may not sound impressive, but she is 21st out of 51 anglers ahead of former Classic champs Mark Davis and Boyd Duckett.
Most observers of the sport wouldn't put her chances that high, but it's a sign of how quickly her name recognition has grown.
Bain-Moore isn't letting the hype get to her. But she understands the value of good press.
"Any opportunity where you can not only promote the sport you love, but promote yourself a little bit as well," she said, "that's a good thing."
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