GARLAND, Texas – Sandi Karnes never has tossed a lure on Lake Tawakoni but all that will change next week in the PAA Bass Pro Shops Tournament Series presented by Carrot Stix.

The 10-year pro from Livingston, Texas, will become the first woman to compete in the PAA Tournament Series when the three-day event begins next Thursday. Karnes lives on Lake Livingston north of Houston and has fished tournaments for years, but is stoked about her first PAA

“I joined the PAA at the first of this year and seriously considered fishing the Tournament Series this season,” Karnes said. “When the Bassmaster Women’s Tour shut down I was hoping the women would go with the PAA, but they decided to form another circuit. That wasn’t the direction I wanted to go.

“I started fishing the Bassmaster Open tournaments and thoroughly loved it. The men have treated me with a ton of respect and encouragement, and it’s been great. I met (PAA Board member) Dave Mansue and he encouraged me to join the PAA and fish, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

The tournament begins next Thursday at West Tawakoni City Park, where the daily launches and first two weigh-ins will be held at 3 p.m. The final weigh-in featuring the Top 30 pros will be held at Bass Pro Shops in Garland beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Karnes is a certified Realtor and owner of Hands On Realty in Livingston. She and her husband, Sam, also own a boat dealership through They live on Lake Livingston and fish regularly on it and other area lakes.

“I told him I was considering retiring this year, but as things went on I decided to stick around for another year,” Karnes said. “I’ve been fishing professionally for more than 10 years, but I’ve fished my whole life. It’s the typical story everyone says … I started fishing with my parents and grandparents. Those were our weekend adventures, at the lake, and when we had the opportunity to buy property we wanted to be on the water.”

Karnes enjoys the Texas lakes, but also likes visiting new lakes. During the WBT seasons she fell in love with Guntersville Lake in northeast Alabama, which offers anglers a diversity of tactics and strategies. She finished 10th in the WBT tournament at Guntersville in 2007.

“I told my husband I was ready to pack up and move there because it’s such a beautiful area and great lake,” she said. “But we’d be too far away from our grandchildren.”

Karnes has been spending time studying maps of Tawakoni and Google Earth images of the lake. Although a shallow bite is expected, there are some deep-water possibilities as well. She’s going in with an open mind for the three-day practice period that begins Sunday.

“I’ve never been there before so I don’t know what to expect, but I have a few places I’ll take a look at when I get there,” she said. “I take my fishing very seriously but also enjoy it very much. I have so much support from all kinds of people … here in our community, our local bank sponsors me, people call and email to ask how tournament fishing is going. It’s just been really great and I’m looking forward to next week.”

Tournament facts: The tournament is the third of four in the 2010 PAA Bass Pro Shops Tournament Series presented by Carrot Stix. The winner will earn a prize package worth $45,000 including cash and a new Phoenix 719 Pro XP boat powered by a Mercury Optimax 225hp engine and outfitted with a T-H Marine Atlas Jackplate. Eligible anglers also may benefit from the Bass Pro Shops Tournament Rewards and Phoenix Boats First Flight bonus payout programs.

Daily launches and the first two days’ weigh-ins will be at West Tawakoni City Park. Saturday’s final weigh-in featuring the top 30 pros will be held at the Bass Pro Shops in Garland. All launches and weigh-ins are free and open to the public. Free seminars will be held at Bass Pro Shops beginning at 12:30 p.m. prior to the Saturday weigh-in.

Free seminars featuring Bradley Hallman, Pete Ponds, Edwin Evers and Jason Quinn will be held at Bass Pro Shops on Sept. 8. The seminars begin at 5:30 p.m.

About the PAA – The Professional Anglers Association is a non-profit organization that gives professional anglers a unified voice in order to aid in the growth of the sport of professional bass fishing. The PAA also aims to administer educational programs to the average angler, to increase enjoyment of the sport, and to embrace sound conservation practices to further the future of the sport. Web:

PAA Associate Sponsors: The PAA Tournament Series is sponsored by Bass Pro Shops, E21 Carrot Stix, Lazer Trokar, Markel Insurance, Phoenix Boats, Nitro Boats, T-H Marine, Fishouflage, SolarBat, U.S. Reel, Sign Designs, BoatU.S. Foundation, Mercury Marine and Jasper Engines and Transmissions.

PAA Hosts: The City of Garland, Texas