EARLY YEARS Roanoke County 10-year-old girl enjoys competitive fishing

When it comes to activities, a lot of girls favor things like dance, gymnastics or softball and basketball. But 10-year-old Sammara Weaver of Roanoke County prefers to spend her free time holding a fishing rod.

One Roanoke County girl hopes to encourage other girls her age to take up fishing.

"All of my family eats fish, and it's gross," says Weaver.

Weaver doesn't like eating fish, but she's sure good at catching them.

"I like the thrill and excitement of catching a fish and also the beautiful scenery that you get to see when you're out there."

Weaver say she's been fishing since she was in a stroller.

"It just started with spending some days at the lake, you know, going out there and enjoying it," says April Goodman-Penton, Weaver's mom.

Weaver and her dad have competed in several fishing tournaments, including Bait Snatchers at Smith Mountain Lake and the Claytor Lake Catfish Tournament.

"It's just a fun thing that she really enjoyed, and it's a little rare for girls to enjoy getting in that icky stuff," says Goodman-Penton.

Weaver says she practices the CPR of fishing: "Catch, photograph, release."

"Some of my friends don't believe me. My best friend believes me, and she always says she hopes I catch a big fish."

The biggest fish she ever caught, she says, weighed 23 pounds.
Weaver says she likes having a hobby that some might consider a bit unusual for a girl.

"Yeah, because I don't like doing girly stuff, like painting my nails. I don't like painting my nails."

No nail painting, but Weaver says she does love playing outside with her younger sisters.

Her advice for other girls who might want to try casting a rod and reel?

"I would say, just take it slow and don't try to do it too fast or stuff bad might happen, like break your line; baby steps at at time."

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