The Queen of Kings…..King Mackerel That Is
Today, more and more women are becoming a part of the competitive landscape. The world of fishing is no exception. That is unless it’s a 65-year-old grandmother and it’s in the rough and tumble world of King Mackerel fishing. It’s an environment where the fish are fierce and the seas can be intimidating, where every move matters, and what doesn’t cut you, bite you, bruise you or drown you is present.
That grandmother is Brenda Cooper of Topsail Island, NC. First, let me explain that “grandmother” or 65 years old in no way describes Brenda. This attractive, personable, and charming lady is anything but what you would expect. Having only been King Mackerel fishing for less than 10 months, she has already become one of the lady anglers on the Southern Kingfish Association Division 2 circuit by holding the 2nd place position, and 4th in the Senior division. As a member of the Back-Lash fishing team, she has been instrumental in the team’s success in 2021 with the team holding the Division 2, Small Boat Class 2nd place position.
Brenda’s rapid rise to the top began when she met former SKA Champion, Eris Jones the founder and owner of Team Back-Lash. Their relationship started when she sought boat driving lessons from Eris for her Carolina Skiff. Soon they began dating and the romance and fishing alliance continues today. An important milestone in that alliance was the day that Eris suggested that Brenda join the Back-Lash fishing team. She was filled with both apprehension and excitement. While Brenda was unsure, Eris was not. He assured her that she could fill the position. She did join them and has never looked back. She took on a number of tasks such as clearing the deck, clearing in the lines when a hook-up occurs, and the all-important job of maneuvering the boat while team members fight the fish and land it. It’s a job that takes finesse and focus during what many times is a period of adrenaline rush and chaos. Over the past few months, Brenda has earned the respect for her contribution to the team’s great year. Today she’s a full-fledged member of the team, not a rookie along for the ride. Her skill level has grown over time to equal that of many of the fishing competitors she and Team Back-Lash face each tournament. Most remarkable, she got there in just 9 short months. Brenda is quick to say that the support she had and still receives while achieving this level of excellence remains. She had the help of 3 seasoned fishing veterans having high expectations, but also encouraged and supported her and gladly made her part of a team that has a rich SKA history. This is a story of a person that paid no attention to the obstacles and made no excuses. She just push herself into a world that was many times intimidating and largely surrounded by men. And with gut determination and the support of her boyfriend and fellow team members, she did the near-impossible by moving to the top of her sport in a matter of months.
I’m anxious to see where this story goes next. I’m not sure where, but I do know I’ll have a smile on my face with amazement when I write it. I know Eris and Brenda personally and they both have a love of fishing and winning, but most of all a love for life. So the next time you’re fishing in a SKA event and you look over and see an attractive lady running the boat, you may want to watch out. That lady is probably Brenda Cooper and she’s likely on the way to catching another big King. That’s because she’s the “Queen of Kings.”