THEIR STORY: Kathy Fennel's inspiring journey started with a tournament roster and spirit of 'always aspiring to do more' - Major League Fishing

THEIR STORY: Kathy Fennel’s inspiring journey started with a tournament roster and spirit of ‘always aspiring to do more’

From a humble beginning transcribing bass-club angler lists for Operation Bass, she turned opportunities into a 'blessed' four-decade career as a respected leader
July 3, 2024 • Bass Pro Tour

EDITOR’S NOTE: THEIR STORY: Kathy Fennel Presented by Toyota is part two of a four-part series on women who have forged inspiring paths through the world of bass fishing.

Everybody’s fishing story has a beginning. For Bass Fishing Hall of Famer, Freshwater Fishing Hall of Famer and Sports Business Journal “Game Changer” Kathy Fennel, that beginning was in 1982 at a small table in the office of Operation Bass in Gilbertsville, Kentucky.

Fennel’s first task at her new employer the Kentucky-based tournament organization that was the forerunner of FLW – was to transcribe the hand-written names of local bass club rosters into a database of anglers for a new grassroots fishing league. That first list would eventually blossom into a worldwide roster of more than 30,000 tournament anglers in 17 countries, which fish under the umbrella of Major League Fishing (the organization that Fennel now guides as the Executive Vice President and General Manager).

Fennel’s story is one of opportunity and of following a desire to be a leader and difference maker. All of those have led to her position as one of the most respected and beloved members of the worldwide bass fishing community.

“I count my blessings every day,” Fennel says. “I would never have imagined that I’d have the opportunities that I’ve had growing up in small-town Kentucky. Never, ever.”