5 In The Box with "Smallie Queen", Callie Shumway

While Palaniuk and KVD are tearing up lakes and river systems at speeds in excess of 70 mph, there’s a woman in a kayak in Pennsylvania who may be short on velocity, but more than makes up for that in depth of character and intrigue. Here’s my attempt to show you why the future of fishing is (arguably) going to be greater than anyone could have ever imagined, as long as anglers like Callie Shumway are out on the water.

How long have people been calling you “Smallie Queen”?

It was a nickname given to me probably about 8 months ago. Eventually enough people started calling me it that I decided to just go with it.  I’m only 5 feet tall, so smallie queen works in that aspect as well lol.

Lots of pics of you in kayaks. Would you say that is your preferred vessel?

Since I’m mostly a river rat, the kayak is definitely my favorite vessel. The river can often be unpredictable and thus stressful when taking a large boat out. With my kayak I can paddle in extremely shallow water and if it’s too low, no need to worry about a broken prop, I can just hop out and walk it until it gets deep. I also like how quiet and peaceful kayaking can be. I’ve snuck up on wildlife, multiple reptiles, and of course bass as well.  It’s also easy to transport, launch, and is lightweight enough that I am able to go whenever i would like to by myself.

You can also get towed around if the fish you hook is big enough, no?

Of course! A 4 pound smallmouth can easily take me for a ride. On a lot of my videos you can see the strength of such an incredible species. It’s not rare for them to pull me up river or take me in a circle. The most incredible tow I’ve ever experienced was early this summer when a 30-40 lb carp decided to bite onto my wacky rigged trick stick. I was in the double digits minute wise before finally getting her to my kayak.

We both live in the northeast, does the winter keep you off the water?

It does to an extent. I will admit the winter usually sucks pretty bad here in PA, but this past winter we had seemed to be never-ending. I usually will go out ice fishing a few times throughout the winter and if there isn’t any ice on my favorite moving waters, I usually try to bank fish in my hunting clothing for a few smallmouth. This winter I am planning to get all the necessary gear to stay warm and dry, so that I can catch a few winter smallmouth on my kayak.

What do you do when you’re not fishing?

I just recently graduated college with my B.S. in Criminal Justice Administration, so I’m still looking for a career job and considering furthering my degree. On the Aside from fishing my hobbies consist of writing music, hiking, sewing, hunting, and cooking/baking.

Do you help other young women learn to fish or get reconnected with our sport?

I have helped teach boy scouts in the past and plan on starting a youth fishing group when I have the money and support to do so. I give fishing advice to anyone that wants it and often show children and other women what they should be using while I am out fishing.

We all learn from somebody, whether it’s online, in person, in books. Who do you learn from?

My dad has taken me fishing since I was a child, so I would say all of my basic knowledge came from there. I’ve also read a few books to gain knowledge on the species I fish for and the types of lures/scents that they are most responsive to. Other than books, I learned a lot from exchanging information with friends and just being out in general. When I was on Kayak Bassin’ on WFN last year, I was fishing a new area, so I had to learn and try a variety of types of lures. I definitely learn the most when fishing a new area because bass can be so unpredictable. I may have a general idea of where one is sitting based on experience, but if I choose the wrong weapon to throw at it, I risk spooking it. Therefore, I think that learning from mistakes and trying new techniques has taught me the most.

You’d fish every single day if you could, wouldn’t you…

No doubt in my mind. I try to get out as much as possible, even if it’s literally only for a few minutes. Any time I’m on vacation or have prolonged periods of time off, I am always found on or near the water. I keep my rods in my car at all times. Anytime I see a body of water that looks fish-able I stop by real quick and test it out.  If I had my way I would be kayaking 5 miles a day. I dream of owning a house on the river and having complete access to fishing 24/7!

Favorite lake or river? 

My favorite river is the Juniata River. I love the variety it offers because the depth and bottom varies depending on the part you are on. 
Least favorite? 

My least favorite lake is a nearby lake called Joseph Foster Sayers. It’s always infested with jet skiers, tubers, kneeboarders, and all sorts of excessive wake when trying to kayak or sneak into coves. It’s also hard to locate bass and when you do, you’ll catch a million little ones before one even being remotely decent sized. It is a good lake for carp, catfish, and crappie though. 

Favorite technique?

My favorite style of fishing is finesse fishing. I like being in control of my lures presentation and I’m often able to sneak lures into the sight of a bass without spooking it. Other than using soft plastics, I love throwing spinnerbaits in weedy areas and drifting and dragging them on slate bottom with my kayak. 

Do you think people know how friendly/genuine you are?  I ask that because I don’t believe they do.  It’s been my experience that people like you are often a pleasant surprise to the few who have an opportunity to get to know you.

I’m not sure honestly. I will take anyone fishing who wants to go and I have no problem sharing my knowledge with anyone. I have a supporters and friends who have been there since the start of my fishing career, so I know they truly know me for who I am. However, being a fisherwoman in general, it’s not rare to get messages or comments from men who think that I don’t know how to catch fish, or they think that someone does for me. One of the reasons I started filming myself while fishing was so I had video proof for my photos.

I was going to ask if you ever feel like men don’t take you seriously. I know I recently had this discussion  with Claire Ansley, and she told me men try to tell her how to fish all the time.

Yeah it happens a lot. I worked at Dick’s in the lodge for a few months and men couldn’t take me working that gun counter. Had a lot of sexist comments and had a few males tell me to “Get a man behind the counter” even though I was certified to sell weapons.

But being a Criminal Justice graduate, I took a lot of courses on psychology, so depending on what the person says to me, I can tell if the comment is coming out of jealousy, or sexism.

Where do you want your career (fishing) to go?

Ultimately, I would love to take the documenting route focusing mostly on videos and articles. I would love to have the funding to travel and fish new areas while documenting all of my catches, my lifestyle, and my personality. I feel that fishing should be relaxing and enjoyable and I think that if my life is filled with kayaking and fishing new areas I will die a happy woman.  I also want to compete in a few tournaments, but like I said, ultimately I would rather take the filming and photography route.

On that note, let’s get to it!

1.  What’s it like on the weekend when you and your boyfriend aren’t fishing?

When we aren’t fishing, we both write music and play with other musicians. Spencer plays the guitar and I play the keyboard, cello, and we both sing. We also really enjoy cooking, especially outdoor cooking. We usually spend Sundays catching catfish and crappie and then we come home, cook it up, and have a beer out by the fire. We also keep targets in the yard and are sometimes just found lounging outside shooting bows and BB guns.

2.  Do you have any rituals or superstitions? Do you have a lucky hat or something?

I have a couple rituals that may sound somewhat strange. I wear bright colored socks when I fish and I always either have a bag of Lays Baked Chips or Smartfood Popcorn aboard my kayak. I also kiss or blow a kiss at every fish I catch. I believe giving love to the little ones makes it so I catch a big one shortly after. 

3.  What’s the best day you had this year?

I had two trips this year that were awesome. I’d say one of the best days was when I beat my personal best freshwater record and my personal best freshwater kayak record when I landed a 30 inch 30-40lb carp. Then after catching it the fish and boat commission officer gave me his contact information, so he could put it on the fish and boat commission website which was pretty cool. The best bass fishing day I’ve had this year occurred earlier this July when I caught multiple trophy smallmouth within a few hours. I was able to get some awesome footage of them with my GoPro camera and the one 20 incher gave me one of the most exciting kayak rides I’ve ever had before getting her in. For me any day is a great day fishing if I can reflect on an awesome fight and get some footage and photos so that I will never forget. 

4.  What’s one place you’d fish if you had your choice?

I’ve always wanted to fish some of the well-known largemouth lakes for huge largemouth. We don’t have too many lakes nearby that I could say contain nice, photo worthy largemouth, so it would be a blast going somewhere where I could use larger lures and catch largemouth that are over 5 pounds easily. I would love to fish in Japan especially. I have a lot of friends and pen pals I’ve met through social networking that live there and it would be an awesome experience if I was ever to go.

5.  What’s one thing nobody knows about you?

I’d say the one thing people don’t really know about me is how self sufficient I am/can be. I was taught to plant, grow, and preserve food by multiple means including canning, freezing, and pressure cooking. I never really told many people because in high school it was one of those things that made you “strange” or “old fashioned” but I honestly think it’s great because if something was to ever happen I know I could take care of myself and others. We have a bunch of farm/hunting land upwards towards New York and my dad and I have been working on turning it into an orchard and we obtained a permit for a multiple acre pond, which will be built in the future. It’s also my favorite land to hunt because it’s abundant with deer.

I’d like to say that talking to Callie has been one of the more memorable experiences I’ve had this year, and I hope you’ve had as much fun reading this and getting to know her as I did.

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