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By: Jacob Tumminello
The 2017 summer season has been extremely successful for Venture Outdoors thanks to the help of hard working staff members, volunteers, and college interns. One of those interns who is also responsible for taking pictures and capturing memorable moments during outings is LeeAnne Conway.
LeeAnne is currently studying Environmental Science and Photography at Robert Morris University and decided to take advantage of the various internship opportunities provided by Venture Outdoors. LeeAnne works double time as a photography and fishing intern for various outings. Although she enjoys taking pictures of many different types of outings, her passion undoubtedly lies in the underwater world of fishing and taking pictures of the catches at Venture Outdoors’ free fishing program, TriAnglers.
“My first memorable fishing experience is my grandfather helping me catch my first fish when I was six or seven. After that, I didn’t fish again until I was 18 or so. My boyfriend reintroduced me to catching fish and I became instantly ‘hooked’,” said LeeAnne.
LeeAnne Started fishing rivers in 2014 and recalls that the experience was unlike anything she had ever experienced.
“I caught many species including walleye, sauger, smallmouth buffalo, sheepshead, and white bass! Fishing in the river was something I had never done before! The stunning views and constant crashing of white water from the dam was a soothing stress release!”
LeeAnne decided to experiment with saltwater fishing in 2015 and recorded her first ocean catch.
“I was aboard a beautiful sea fishing boat in the Florida Keys for a week! We caught so many fish my arms felt like they were going to fall off! I experienced some of the most beautiful and extremely strong fish I had ever seen! Some species included grouper, snapper, sharks, mahi-mahi, amberjacks, king fish, African pompanos, stone crab, blue crab, redfish, snook, wahoo, and lots more!”
LeeAnne recently took a trip to visit family at her parent’s cottage in Maine, but couldn’t pass up on the fishing opportunities! She detailed her experience and her strategies.
“I think it’s safe to say I spent way more time with the fish! I fished every morning, night, and anytime it was raining or had just stopped. I focused on areas of major elevation change, areas where creeks feed into sandbars and lake drop-offs contained many schools of fish. In these conditions, I cast deep diving hard crank baits across the drop-offs and tried jigging a swimbait with a curly tail to bring in bass.”
“I also focused on the major rock structure in the center of the lake, which has many surfacing rocks that create an island in three spots. In between these surfacing rocks were weed beds and deep holes where I had luck jigging a weedless daredevil as well as drifting night crawlers and maneuvering small spinner baits through the major thickets.”
In the mornings I’d use all top water baits until the wind picked up. My favorites include jitterbugs, torpedoes, and frogs! There really is nothing like a top water strike from a five-pound bass early in the morning to wake you up! On one of my mornings when I didn’t have much luck on the lake I hiked a few miles down a local stream and came across some beautiful sights! I saw beaver-made lakes and lots of bear tracks, as well as more than 30 native Brook trout! In my 10 days of visiting, I tallied 145 fish species including largemouth, smallmouth, pumpkinseed sunfish, chain pickerel, eel, white perch, yellow perch, and brook trout!”
LeeAnne is extremely passionate about all aspects of fishing and hopes to find herself with a career that allows her to spend as much time on the water as possible.
“I would love to someday find a job that includes both fishing and photography. As an Environmental Science and Photography major, I am working on meeting as many people as I can in both industries! A dream job would be fishing and capturing the moments in photo and video, or perhaps working behind the lens capturing the moments of others!”
You can see all LeeAnne’s pictures from TriAnglers and lots of other outings by visiting the Venture Outdoors Flickr. LeeAnne’s adventures can also be seen on her Instagram @Lcc4Fishing.