Texan proves competitive bass fishing not just for men
Article and photos by Brent Callicott. Published in the Union City Messenger on October 17, 2014
Who said competitive bass fishing is only for men? Certainly not a south Texan lady named Debra Hengst.
Debra is from San Antonio and the first ever professional woman bass fisher lady I had ever met. I first met her and got to know her back in 2007 at a Strike King Outdoors Writers Conference that was held at Reelfoot Lake. I was paired with Debra in a small fishing tournament just prior to the conference getting under way the following day (a Monday).
Since then and prior to, Debra has been fishing part-time as a touring professional women’s bass angler aside from her full-time job as a independent property and casualty insurance agent for 30 years. She provides quotes and service for homes, autos and boats in the south Texas area.
I was able to catch up with Debra at the recent Strike King Writers Conference, which is now held on Kentucky Lake out of the Paris Landing State Park Marina area. We got in a boat and did a little fishing but, more importantly, I asked lots of questions of what sent her in he direction of fishing for bass — both for fun and on the competitive side.
Debra Hengst faces the odds and wins Texas pro’s cancer in remission after tough battle
By Craig Lamb Feb 6, 2014 Article provided from B.A.S.S.
DEL RIO, Texas — The only way a stranger can recognize Debra Hengst as a cancer survivor is by inquiring about her wrapped tournament boat and truck. Only then will you hear the full story.
Hengst glows with an ever-present smile. She speaks with childlike enthusiasm. It’s not always been that way.
A pink ribbon runs across the white background of the hull from bow to stern of her Skeeter boat. There are cat paw prints on each side. The words “The Surviving Duo” stand out.
“The ‘Surviving Duo’ is my brand but it stands for much more,” she said.
Shops Bassmaster Central Open on Lake Lewisville, Texas. She made a bold decision to move ahead regardless of the outcome.
“I decided then and there that I would not let cancer control my life.”
Living up to that focus required courage. Hengst underwent two surgeries within a week in January. She postponed much needed clinical treatments against the advice of her doctors. A few short weeks later she was on the road with boat in tow to Lake Lewisville for the second Open of the season.