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11-year-old master angler breaks barriers with prized catches: "Girls can fish"

Cecil County angler breaking barriers with prized catches
Cecil County angler breaking barriers with prized catches 02:19

BALTIMORE - Lucy Perez, an 11-year-old from Cecil County, is forging her own path and breaking barriers along the way when it comes to reeling in fish.

Perez achieved a major accomplishment by earning the Master Angler Milestone Award, which is the highest honor under the state's Department of Natural Resources Fish Maryland Program, presented only to those who catch 10 different trophy-sized eligible species of fish. 

"All you people who still think girls can't fish, here's your proof that girls can fish," said Lucy Perez. "I know some people will still think that and it's just not true." 

They don't call Lucy Perez the queen for nothing. She became the 10th master angler since the program began in 2019, the first female angler, and the youngest by a decade.

"I forget how I got my nickname but it's because I caught millions of bluegill," Lucy Perez said. "The Bluegill Queen." 

Perez, who has been fishing alongside her dad for as long as she can remember, is setting the standard and showing that girls can hang with the big fish.

"As she got older, it just evolved into, 'Let's do this, let's try to catch this and, Oh, I want to try fly fishing, and then it just evolved into what it is now," said Nick Perez, Lucy's father. "And then we said you know what this year let's try to aim for the masters"

Lucy made her qualifying catch, an American Shad, in May. 

"I was like I'm so close when I got to No. 9, then I caught No. 10, and I was like, 'yes,'" Lucy Perez said.

"And to think that a kid could accomplish that only nine guys before her have ever done it," Nick Perez said.

Catching fish is a feat a lot of people have dreamed about, from exotic clown knifefish to wrangling the muskellunge. 

"If I were to say my favorite one, it would honestly be the pumpkin seed, just because of the colors," Lucy Perez said. "You saw the one I caught down there, This one was 10 times bigger, just this beautiful bright fish." 

Fishing is more than a hobby to Lucy Perez. It's a passion. 

"I hope that she wants to do this forever," Nick Perez said. 

Lucy Perez already has her sights set on a future in marine biology. 

"When I become a marine biologist, I want to go to the Loch Ness Lake, go down in a submarine, search the whole lake and find where that Loch Ness monster is," Lucy Perez said. "I think that would be cool."

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