Catching fish and inspiring others to fish isn’t the only thing Kate Hough is good at. Kate-—mother, teacher and professional angler—is also good at catching her dreams and motivating others to do the same.
The support she lends to her first-grade students, her two kids Zoe and Ben, friends, family and especially women in the professional fishing world is tireless. From hosting fundraising fishing tournaments to helping P.E. classes obtain fishing equipment to giving casting classes to women who are interested in the sport of fishing, Kate does her best to make anything possible for anyone.
Kate recently, however, had to make what seemed like an impossible dream possible for herself.
Kate’s dream was to become the first-ever female co-angler of the year in the South Carolina division of the Bass Fishing League. She worked hard through the year to be in a good position at the final tournament at Lake Hartwell, but just 17 days before that final tournament, Kate became temporarily paralyzed from the waist down from a rare neurological disorder called transverse myelitis (TM).
“The entire time I was in the hospital, I thought about how will I finish the season, how will I try and make my goal. As the days got closer to the tournament, I never gave up hope,” Kate said.
Her hope paid off. With the help of medical professionals, friends, family and her biggest supporter of all, her fiancé Jeffrey, Kate was able to work through the temporary paralysis enough to be discharged in time to fish the Super Tournament, just in time to continue chasing her dream.
With her self-described stubbornness and dedication and motivated by reaching her goal, she worked through the pain, the heat and the mental challenges of fishing with a new medical condition. And, despite falling several times on the boat and not fishing her best, in the end, she caught enough fish to earn the points she needed to win co-angler of the year. She had caught her dream—literally by hook, line, and sinker.
“At weigh-in, when I found out that I had won, I was in disbelief. It didn’t hit me until I called to tell my mom,” Kate recalled.
Kate’s ability to turn her dream into reality all while dealing with a life-changing disorder has been inspirational to so many.
From her Instagram page, KateCanFish, follower stephanie_mez posted, “Congratulations!! I was at the [award ceremony] and saw you receive [the co-angler of the year award]. Awesome to see a woman receive this honor in a male-dominated sport.”
Kate hopes she can continue to be a role model.
But, in order to get back to full role-model capacity, Kate is in need of financial support. Since her diagnosis, she has been on unpaid medical leave from her job as a first-grade teacher; she will be out for at least another six months, as well. Daily necessities for herself and her two children and regular household bills are a challenge to cover, not to mention the medical bills that are rolling in.
Kate’s best friend Vikki Gaillard is helping to raise money for Kate. Vikki said, “Kate is a supportive friend when you need encouragement and an enthusiastic cheerleader during your successes. She embraces the personal challenges with class, positivity, and strength. She is a role model and a blessing to the many, many lives she has touched.”
They’ve managed to raise some money, and Kate is grateful to have gotten the support she has thus far. “It has brought me to tears, the generosity and support of my family and friends from near and far away,” she said. “My fiancé Jeffrey has been working very hard to try and provide, too.”
But, there’s much more to be done and more financial support is needed.
Donations will help Kate to the speediest recovery possible so she can get back to being a mother, teaching her students, catching fish, catching dreams and supporting others in the pursuit of their dreams.
Kate can be found on Instagram at KateCanFish or on Facebook at Kate G. Hough Catch, Kiss, and Release Fishing.