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Fishing club has first female member
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In its 20 year history, the metro Atlanta fishing club The HAWG Hunters have had one woman join, and her name is Michelle Quarles.

For five years, Quarles has been a member of the club, which has between 40 and 50 members at any given time, according to co-angler and Deputy Sheriff Darrell Anders of the Newton County Sheriff’s Department.

According to Anders, Quarles has placed in the top 10 each year that she has been a member of the HAWG Hunters, including in 2012 when she placed in the top six. That same year, she was named to the state team that participated in a two-day tournament where the top-six members from the bass fishing club fished against other top club members from the state of Georgia.

It was said that she was the first and only black woman to ever fish in the top six in the 40-year history of the tournament. She caught fish during both days of the tournament and was applauded by every woman in the audience, Anders said.

“After all, she did learn from the best,” said Anders, who has just completed his sixth consecutive time in a row as Angler of the Year in the club, from 2010-2015.

According to Anders, Quarles is always eager to help out when it comes to helping with the kids when the club holds its annual Fishing Derby for kids aged 7 to 14.

“We feed the kids after they fish for a few hours,” Anders said.

The club members hand out trophies, school supplies and fishing tackle to about 150 kids each year.

“I have to say Michelle is die hard,” Anders said. “Rain, shine or snow, she’s there.”

According to Anders, his favorite motto is “you can’t catch a fish if you don’t have your hook in the water.”