News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters woman is ‘Tough As Nails’

Callie Cattell is a 28-year-old Central Oregon-raised woman whose passion in life is fishing and being out on the water. That passion has been recognized by CBS reality show “Tough As Nails,” which Cattell is featured on this season.

Cattell, originally from Bend and now living in Sisters, has been fishing commercially since she was 15 years old. Her first paying job was working on her father’s commercial fishing boat in Bristol Bay, Alaska.

“Fishing has been a part of my family for generations and it became a quick passion of mine. The risk for reward is huge,” said Cattell.

During her free time while in Central Oregon, Cattell often enjoys catch-and-release fly-fishing.

“I kill enough fish as it is, so I catch-and-release recreationally,” she said.

Cattell is also a professional commercial diver. She attended dive school at the Diver’s Institute in Seattle in 2013 after seeing a brochure for it and pursuing education in the field. She then worked off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico for NASA training astronauts underwater to prepare for their space walks.

“Since I spent so much time on boats, I was always curious what was underneath and further the knowledge base. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into,” she said.

She worked in commercial diving from 2013-2019, as well as her work with NASA. In 2019, she wanted to focus on fishing and getting her own commercial boat up and running.

Cattell’s work as a fisherman comes from a passion she’s had her whole life.

“I love the type of people fishing brings, and love the day-in-and-day-out grind,” she said.

Being out on the ocean and in the elements is another reason she loves fishing.

“You do your best to not be affected by your surroundings. Its eight weeks on a boat with no shower or bathroom with an entire crew and that is part of the challenge of it all,” she said.

Cattell was approached by a casting recruiter for “Tough As Nails” via Instagram.

“At first I thought it was a joke, but they were persistent and I realized how big of a deal this was, and it turned into being an incredible experience,” said Cattell.

One thing she looks forward to most about people seeing the show, is the world seeing a female commercial fisherman competing against a number of various people in different professions. “It’s incredible to be successful as a female in a man’s industry and becoming a boss and proving yourself and taking a leadership role is huge,” she said.

“Because of what I do for a living as a female in risky situations as well, I keep both safety and the paycheck within reach, and I look forward to people seeing what I do,” she said.

The show has already been filmed, finishing in February.

Cattell says she owes all of her success and passion for fishing to her Dad.

“He’s my biggest supporter,” she said.

“In the Pacific Northwest, people love their seafood and we work hard to deliver the highest quality and it has always been in my family to work hard,” she said.

As stated by CBS, “Tough as Nails is a competition series that celebrates everyday Americans who roll up their sleeves and don’t think twice about working long hard hours and getting their hands dirty, in order to keep their country running… Competitors will be challenged at real-world job sites competing in teams and against each other to win...”

The series is from Emmy Award-winning producer Phil Keoghan (“The Amazing Race”) and his producing partner, Louise Keoghan.

Tough As Nails premieres on CBS Wednesday, July 8, at 8/7c. More information on the series and on Cattell and the rest of the cast can be found at


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