“I will more than likely never be one of the boys and I’m completely OK with that. I’ve dealt with guys being threatened by me my whole life.   It takes a strong secure Man to be able to accept a woman doing the same job.” – Tara Thompson

Breaking Barriers

Tara Thompson is a maiden of the sea.  She holds her mariner captains license and three SCUBA instructor trainer certifications.  She is currently pursuing her passion as a deckhand on a recreational charter fishing vessel in Cairns Australia. In fact, she is the only female to ever complete 7 seasons of Giant Black Marlin fishing on the Great Barrier Reef.  Tara Thompson is truly swimming in the depths of a male dominated field.

Speaking of Fish:

989KANDAS:  Why do you do what you do??

TARA: I love the ocean and everything about it. Even at 3 yrs. old I knew I wanted to work on/in the water.

I’ve spent my whole life in, on, or under the ocean.

KANDAS:  Where do you find inspiration?

TARA: Always having men 2nd guessing my abilities and having them treat me as a novelty makes me strive harder.

KANDAS:  What makes you different?

TARA:  One of a handful of women who actually work alongside men in the fishing industry.

KANDAS:  For whom are you thankful?

TARA:  My father and grandfather both avid fishermen.

My grandfather was a commercial tuna/lobster fisherman out of Boston

KANDAS:  What are some of your favorite books?

TARA:  Tao of Pooh, Tales of Fishes by Zane Grey, Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (I know very cliché.)

IMG_2102

TARA:  Depends on what I’m doing season wise.

Light tackle days start around 5am and we fish for small stuff…. GT’s, little black marlin, reef fish

Long Lining is a whole completely different ball game.  It’s commercial fishing with little sleep.

Heavy tackle is full on. Your clients are usually living onboard, so you’re up till they go to sleep and your day starts before they wake up.

Fishing is a multi-facet job… the saying is “when it comes to fishing 10% is catching a fish the other 90% is about entertaining the clients.”

KANDAS:  What advise can you offer to women considering a sport fishing career?

TARA:  I would love to see more women actually out there working the decks. A lot of people (men) think what I do is about physical strength and yes that does play apart. But finesse and mental strength is involved as well.

Women within the “fishing Industry” are usually portrayed as Barbie dolls… Meaning they are there to wear bikinis, fetch beers, and make their rich boyfriends/husbands look good.

Only recently have I come across a few women who are chasing world records that are there solely to fish. More often than not it’s a lot of “look at me’s.”

If a female were to ask who to get into this business I would tell her to always be true to herself, if she wants to be taken seriously find a good Captain, learns as much as she can and quickly grow a thick skin.

KANDAS:  How have grown as a person since you started this journey?

TARA:  How I’ve grown in this business is I’ve finally (only recently) stopped 2nd guessing myself and my abilities. I no longer care what “the boy’s” think and I do realize that this is one of the last truly good ole boys clubs.

IMG_2129I will more than likely never be one of the boys and I’m completely OK with that. I’ve dealt with guys being threatened by me my whole life.   It takes a strong secure Man to be able to accept a woman doing the same job.

KANDAS:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

TARA:  Hopefully still doing what I do, although with a bit more time driving the boat.

KANDAS:  What else would you like to add?

YOU: Thank you and keep our oceans clean!!!!

Connect with Tara Thompson on Facebook.

Further Reading:

How to Make Money Doing What you Love by Tara Mullarkey

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