We Will Not Be Tamed ambassador and fishing fanatic Jaz Robinson feels lucky to have visited Palo Pinto Mountains State Park before it is open. The newest state park in North Texas in more than 25 years is coming to life and should be open to the public in 2024.
“I caught a fish in Palo Pinto’s Tucker Lake on the first cast while we were shooting the photos for this year’s We Will Not Be Tamed campaign,” she said. “The photographer had some other locations in mind, but I didn’t want to leave. I caught two more fish before we moved along.”
Jaz was thrilled to be asked to be a We Will Not be Tamed ambassador for Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) in 2022. We Will Not Be Tamed calls us to appreciate the wildness of Texas, the vastness of our Texas spirit, and why we should be inspired to conserve it. When she was asked to be a featured ambassador again in 2023, she jumped at the chance to continue spreading the message.
Photos by Jeff Wilson
Jaz loves to fish, and she shares her fishing journey with several thousand followers on Instagram. As her Instagram bio proclaims, Jaz is “Just a sista who loves to fish. Embracing the passion. Stick around and witness the journey!”
She hopes to spread the word about the joy of fishing far and wide, especially in communities who may not have any fishing exposure or experience.
“There’s not a lot of representation in the outdoors for people who look like me. When I first started fishing, children would always approach me, especially young girls, and they would be so interested and engaged in what I was doing. That lit a fire in me and made me want to kick it up a notch and be that resource for women, or really anyone who wants to get out there and give fishing a try.”
She’s learned everything she knows about fishing through trial and error and watching a lot of YouTube videos. Earlier this year she bought her first boat. She didn’t know much about boats beforehand and turned to YouTube and Google to get up to speed.
“I had to figure out what’s feasible for me financially. Did I want an older boat or a newer boat? I had to do a lot of research about the boat itself and whether my SUV could pull it. I ended up with a Stinger 175, an aluminum boat that is in great condition, but I misjudged what my vehicle can tow,” she said with a laugh.
As a result, she is spending a lot of time with her dad, who owns a truck.
“The really good thing about this is that my dad and I have gotten a lot closer. We already had a good relationship, but we have really bonded over this whole boat situation. He’s never been a big angler, and he’s never gone fishing on his own. But this is my passion, so it’s an opportunity for me to get him out there and teach him more of what I know.”
The two are spending a lot of time together at Cedar Hill State Park and Joe Pool Lake, which are close to her home. She’s now learning the ins and outs of fishing from a boat instead of the bank.
“I’ve been watching a lot of YouTubers who purchased their first boats, and I am learning the mechanics of the trolling motors and the regular motors. Fishing from a boat is a whole different ballgame, and fishing in different depths is also challenging. They say learn your boat first, and that’s been my main concern–just learning my boat and how to operate it on the water.”
She’s planning on taking a boater education course offered by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and she will be competing in a Jack and Jill Crappie Tournament on Lake Fork this summer. She and her dad are also learning that a fishing habit can become an obsession.
“I think my dad is hooked. He’s buying his own fishing equipment now, something he’s never done before. And now I’m in the market for a new truck. It never ends!”
Jaz is hoping she’ll be driving a new truck to visit Palo Pinto Mountains State Park when it opens in 2024. Motorized boats won’t be allowed in Tucker Lake, but that’s fine with Jaz, who still enjoys bank fishing as much as she ever did.
“The park rangers told me there is an abundance of fish in that little lake, including crappie and catfish. I’m ready for that lake to open up because those fish are hungry and just waiting to be caught!”