Student lands on cover of sport fishing magazine

By Jessica Sinn
University News Service
August 29, 2007

Frances Wittenburg, a sophomore studying dental hygiene at Texas State University-San Marcos, proudly held her freshly-caught redfish and smiled for the camera before releasing it back into the coastal waters of Matagorda Bay. 

Four months later, she received a surprising phone call from a friend who happened to come across that same picture on a glossy magazine cover at a local gas station.  Much to her surprise, Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine published the photo on the cover of its August edition. 

Kyle Tomek of Bay City said Wittenburg didn’t take him seriously when he told her about his plan to have the picture published in the popular sport fishing magazine. 

“I’m really big on taking pictures, especially when we catch and release our fish,” Tomek said.  “When she caught that fish, I started snapping some pictures and told her that I was going to submit it on the cover of a magazine and she just started to laugh, saying ‘yeah right.’” 

Tomek, a Texas State print journalism sophomore, said he watched her reel in the fish just shortly after her second cast.  After an exciting 10-minute struggle to land the fish, Tomek said Wittenburg was hooked--no pun intended--on saltwater fishing. 

Wittenburg, an Edna native, said the thrill of the catch and being outside on the water are two main reasons why she enjoys saltwater fishing.   She said she had a great time catching the cover fish because it put up a good fight. 

“It’s a lot of fun when they pull really hard and you have to fight for them,” Wittenburg said. “At first, I didn’t think it was a fish; I thought it was a stingray because it was pulling so hard.” 

Wittenburg said although she’s excited to be the magazine’s featured angler, she’s not accustomed to the sudden attention from friends, neighbors and classmates. 

“It’s weird,” Wittenburg said.  “People in my hometown just walk up to me and tell me that they saw me on the cover.  I don’t like getting that much attention, really.”

Tomek, a bay fishing guide, said he hopes the cover photo will inspire more women to pick up a rod and reel and experience saltwater fishing. 

“The coast is really trying to get more women involved in fishing and it’s really starting to catch on,” Tomek said. “There are more organizations that strive to get women into fishing.  So that may be a force that helped her get on the cover.”