82 Women Learn Hands-on Fishing Skills at “Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing!” Ft. Myers/Matlacha University March 9-10

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 casting, net casting by The Bait Box with Betts Cast nets and Moonlight Cast nets, 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 www.ladiesletsgofishing.com.

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; info@ladiesletsgofishing.com; www.ladiesletsgofishing.com, www.facebook.com/ladiesletsgofishing.

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