CELEBRATION, Fla. Rose Ellis of Birmingham, Ala. retired in July 2005 after serving 21 years in the Navy. While she loved fishing with her family in that time, retirement has afforded Ellis the additional free time and energy to extend her passion into a season-long commitment.
Ellis joins scores of other women fishing the 2006 Mercury Marine Women's Bassmaster Tour presented by Triton Boats. She also competes in BASS Federation Nation events.
"I love to fish and that's what I'm doing," said Ellis, 44.
Ellis joined the Navy in 1980 when she was 18 and served most of her career as a training officer, providing instruction on naval aviation and quality management. For the past three years, she instructed new recruits in boot camp training and helped prepare them for a life in the Navy.
Throughout that military career, fishing trips were important family outings for her, her husband Morris and their four children. Now they are her support system, along with sponsors Williams Boat Country in Dothan, Ala., Lowrance Electronics, Rogue Rods, SpotSticker Baits, Secret Weapon Lures and Spank-em Baits.
In 2004, WBT angler Mary DiVincenti of Clinton, La., encouraged Ellis to compete in women's fishing. She loved the sport and quickly signed up for the WBT after it was introduced. "I think the Women's Bassmaster Tour is wonderful. They have the resources and it is very professionally run."
Co-anglers who fish with Ellis don't have to worry about her drill sergeant background. Ellis finished 38th at the season-opening WBT event on Neely Henry in Alabama and 57th at Lewisville Lake in Texas. Both of her co-anglers finished in the top 20. "I'm more proud of that," said Ellis. "Co-anglers are the future and I try to help them and make sure they're catching fish. I explain how I'm fishing, what the structure is and what to throw."
Ellis will next compete when the women's tour visits Lake Norman on July 27-29 outside of Charlotte, N.C.