Katy Cartier - The Reel Momma
My name is Katy Cartier and I am 28 years old from Martintown Ontario. I have two children, a 4 year old boy named Chase and a 2 year old girl named Alivia. I’ve been raising them on my own pretty much since day 1. Right before my son’s 3rd birthday he was officially diagnosed with Non-verbal Autism. At this point I was working 3 jobs, Chase had all kinds of appointments and therapies, and I had a newborn on my hip. I was beginning to lose myself. I was falling into a rut. I took a step back and told myself that I need to do something about it. Something that makes me happy. Something that I am passionate about. Ever since I was little I have been into fishing. I used to go out with my family at my cottage and cast a line all day long. I remember one time on a camping trip, I caught over 100 perch that day and just kept running over and showing my mom every fish and then throwing them back in the water with the biggest smile on my face. But as time went on, I went to college and university, I got busy with friends and I forgot about my love for fishing. I got so busy with life that I really didn’t have a passion or talent. I played sports but nothing I was deeply in love with. So in the summer of 2018, a friend asked me to go fishing with him and I said yes. I’ll never forget that day because little did I know, it was the beginning of finding myself again. We caught some perch and sunfish that morning and it was awesome. We went out again a few hours later and caught some bass and that’s when it was game over! I was asking him to go fishing all summer long. Looking back now, I laugh at myself. I owned a $15 rod from Wal-mart and I only knew how to fish with a hook, sinker, and worm. After only a year and a half of being passionate about fishing, I now own over a dozen rods, a room full of tackle and more knowledge then I ever thought I’d know about fish haha. I can now tell you that my favourite way to fish for largemouth bass is with a senko. My favourite way to fish for smallmouth is with tubes or trolling with a bottom bouncer and a worm harness. My favourite way to fish for walleye is with a husky jerk. My favourite way to fish for pike is a red devil or a spinner bait. And I mean, I could keep going all day, but I don’t want to give away all of my secrets!
Fishing has literally saved me. As silly as people think that is, it’s true. It’s something that I can be proud of. It’s something that makes me more than just a mom. It’s something that I will never stop learning about, and it’s something that I could do all day every day without ever getting sick of it.
Just when I thought I couldn’t love it any more than I do, I took my son out. He is completely non-verbal and doesn’t really understand much so I was taking a chance. I expected him to throw the rod in the water and laugh because he loves to watch things splash in the water including my cell phone one time
while we were on the boat but that’s a whole other story haha. But the second I put that rod into my son’s hands, it changed both of our lives. I helped him cast and seconds later he had a bite and he reeled it in like he knew exactly what he was doing. He pulled out this nice perch and he flapped his arms up and down with joy and his dimples were huge as he gave me the biggest smile! I took the fish off and he grabbed it and threw it right back in like a pro!
After a few times of taking him out and feeling so much pride and joy, I had this idea; “Fishing For Autism.” A fishing derby to raise awareness for Autism. I wanted other children and parents to feel what I felt when I took Chase out fishing. So after 8 months of planning, raising money, and building a team of volunteers, my vision became reality. On July 7th 2019, I had over 300 people show up to a local park/pond for a day of fishing, entertainment, prizes, food, and awareness, all free of charge! I had over 200 medals given out, over 100 fish caught, over 100 prizes given out, Fed 300 people, had 2 bands, a reptile show, a magic show, a firetruck station, a bouncy house, and Chase from Paw Patrol came to hang out all day for the kids! Every person on the spectrum also received a free fishing rod and a full tackle box! It was by far the most amazing and proud moment of my life (other than when I had my kids of course). Thanks to all of the support and participation, I am now officially an annual event.
Coming into 2020, I can say that my life is pretty amazing. I have 2 healthy children, I have an amazing
boyfriend who owns a hunting business which makes us a pretty good match, I get to fish a few times a week, I have my “Fishing for Autism” that I can be proud of, and I am part of an amazing team that took
me on as their very first sponsor; Redneck Royalty! I cannot thank you enough Alex and Joel for seeing potential in me and for making me Redneck Royalty proud!!!
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