(Mar. 14, 2013 - FORT LAUDERDALE, FL)...
Eighty-two women from ages 16 to 84 joined together to learn fishing skills at the "Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing!" Ft. Myers/Matlacha University March 9-10.
Held in conjunction with support from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) through the Sport Fish Restoration Program, the university offered education, hands-on fishing activities,habitat conservation, networking and an optional fishing trip on Sunday. The Ft. Myers/Matlacha venue was a mini university, held during one afternoon versus the typical full weekend programs offered in other cities.
"I’m never too old to learn something new!" quipped 84 year old Ellen Williams, Ft. Myers, FL. Cindy Williams, also from Ft. Myers, FL had fishing on her bucket list. For Angela Teleweck, Cape Coral, FL, the class was a Valentine’s Day gift from her husband and son who wanted her to join them for fishing. "My husband and I have a new kayak and I need to learn to fish!" said Kim Hudak, Ft. Myers, FL. Jodi Propp came to learn skills to help with her job at the Ft. Myers Bass Pro Shops.
The event began on Saturday, March 9 with classroom presentations by Heather Sneed/FWC/Conservation, Betsy Clayton/Great Calusa Blueway, plus Captains Craig Timbes "Snook Cowboy"/Inshore, Rick Karnes/Artificial Lures and Scott Swartz/Fly Fishing. The curriculum included marine conservation, hook removal/release techniques and hands-on skills such as knot tying, kayak fishing, spin and net casting, casting with Wave Spin Reels/Sewell Rods/Microwave Guides by American Tackle, artificial lure selection/usage, hooking live shrimp, boat to dock tying, backing with Magic Tilt Trailers/Ranger Boat and more. A mid-day break hosted by Harbor Financial featured Cabot Cheese. The event concluded with a silent auction followed by a networking party at Barnhill’s Seafood Spot.
On Sunday, March 10 participants embarked on their chosen fishing adventure from boats or kayaks, followed by fish filleting. Women had a chance to catch or release redfish, snapper, ladyfish, jacks and more. One boat caught 45 fish in a half day and several women released their first-ever fish. Paula Russell, Cape Coral, FL caught a 24-inch redfish, her first fish ever caught in saltwater.
"Now, my husband does not have to set up all the lines and tie all the knots!" commented Cindy Brown, St. Louis, MO. Diane Fuller, Cape, Coral, FL added, "I like to fish but my husband and brother didn’t have time to teach me. Now I can do it!"
Featured on national network television and more, the University series is also supported by major partners Mercury Outboards, Ranger Boats, Fishhound.com, Minn Kota, Humminbird and Magic Tilt Trailers. Those and other supporters are recognized on the ladiesletsgofishing website.
Upcoming 2013 LLGF universities include South Florida/April 12-14, Treasure Coast/May 10-12 and Keys/Islamorada/Tavernier Nov. 15-17. Contact: (954) 475-9068; firstname.lastname@example.org; the ladiesletsgofishing website, facebook/ladiesletsgofishing.
Ft. Myers/Matlacha University Fishing Report - Half Day, Sunday, March 10, 2013
The fishing conditions were tough due to extremely low tides, a recent cold snap and wind changing from East/Northeast to Southeast. Even with the circumstances, ladies caught fish. One boat released 45 fish in only a half day. Ladies chose from guided kayak fishing, pontoon/deck boat or inshore/flats boat fishing.
Captain Jack’s Fishing Tours/Capt. Frank: Forty-five fish in total were released by six ladies, including 17 ladyfish, seven redfish and 17 spotted sea trout. There were multiple hookups of ladyfish. Mickey Maxam-Moore released a pompano. "We learned strategy - to move and try different setups of fishing," said Val Maxam-Moore, St. Petersburg, FL.
Captain Jack’s Fishing Tours/Capt. Ray: The ladies released 12 spotted sea trout up to 12 inches, four snapper, two stingrays, eight catfish and two small redfish. "I learned how to hook live bait for the first time!" said Diane Fuller, Cape Coral, FL.
Captain Jack’s Fishing Tours: The ladies hooked into two spotted sea trout and a shark.
Capt. Brian David: All three ladies released a total of 23 spotted sea trout. Though many were keepers, they were all released. They also released 15 ladyfish. Paula Russell, Cape Coral, FL caught a 24-inch redfish. They learned fishing with live shrimp, casting in the wind and using poppers. The captain showed them how to use the lures in their goody bags provided by The Bait Box, Sanibel Island, FL. They were surrounded by dolphin and enjoyed seeing bald eagles, white pelicans and other beautiful birds.
Capt. Peggy Riley/Seafari: Using live shrimp and artificial lures, three of the ladies caught a total of seven spotted sea trout. They saw eagles, white pelicans, a manatee and a dolphin.
Capt. Ed Schanen, Nitro: The ladies got in a lot of casting practice, releasing a jack crevalle, puffer fish and multiple crabs.
Capt. Chris Stanford: The ladies released four sea trout up to 16 inches, five ladyfish and a jack crevalle. They learned how to retrieve tackle out of the mangroves and cast under windy conditions.
Josh Harvel Kayak Fishing: Despite the wind, Debbie Jaeger, Sanibel, FL released a spotted sea trout using a bobber with artifical DOA shrimp. The ladies enjoyed watching bird activity during the bite window as explained by Capt. Craig Timbes on Saturday during the class.
Gulf Coast Kayaks: Ten ladies went kayak fishing with Capt. Craig Timbes and Capt. Devin Parris, learning how to maneuver kayaks in windy conditions.