Fort Lauderdale, Florida

“To many women, learning fishing is like learning to speak Chinese – but this course made it easy,” said Cat Ghiotto, a rehab services manager from Key West, FL. “I wanted to learn how to do things on my own, versus relying on others to tie my knots and set up the rods.” Ghiotto joined more than 40 ladies to learn fishing secrets from the pros at the “Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing!” South Florida seminar, April 15-17 at I.T. Parker Community Center, Dania Beach, FL. Not only did the women learn in classrooms, they had a chance to practice fishing skills, network and go fishing offshore to test their new fishing knowledge on the water.

Known as the “No-Yelling School of Fishing,” this award-winning series for women, held in conjunction with Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), kicked off with a networking reception on Friday evening. City of Dania Beach Mayor Pat Flury greeted the group. On Saturday morning, presentations were made by Capt. Lee Lavery/Fishing Basics, Capt. Jim Anson/Fly Fishing, Capt. Tony Digiulian/Offshore and Bottom Fishing, Capt. Lou Volpe/Inshore Fishing and Kelly Campbell/Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission/Conservation, with topics taught at separate beginner and intermediate/advanced levels.

Local captains and LLGF South Florida chapter members worked one-on-one with participants to practice conservation techniques and dehooking, spin casting, net casting, releasing, knot tying, gaffing grapefruits, trailer backing with a Magic Tilt trailer, lure rigging, shrimp hooking and reeling against pressure. “I love boating so this is a start to a new hobby!” exclaimed Denise Carlo, Jupiter, FL. Sandra Reynolds, Miami, FL, said, “I was able to ask questions and not feel dumb!”  To complete the experience, a fishing trip on Sunday gave the women a chance to practice their newly-learned skills on the water. The charter boats used for the Fishing Adventure on Sunday came back with exciting fishing reports of many ladies catching or releasing large amberjack, tuna, snapper and other species.

Featured on national network television and more, the series is held in conjunction with the FWC through the Sport Fish Restoration Program, with major partners including Mercury Outboards, Ranger, Gulfstream Int’l Airlines, Minn Kota, Humminbird and Magic Tilt Trailers. Annual sponsors were West Marine, Boat U.S., Harbor Financial Services, Bob’s Machine Shop, Power-Pole, Hook & Tackle, Eagle Claw, Tigress Outriggers and Treasure Cay Hotel Resort & Marina. Class sponsors included Boero Yacht Paint, Permagard, Pollo Tropical, Bruce Rossmeyer’s Harley Davidson, Costco, Bottoms Up Beverage, Duffy’s Sports Bar, Grampas Bakery, Serenigy Global Gourmet Coffee and Star Brite. A portion of the fundraiser proceeds were donated to the Florida Breast Cancer Foundation.

The LLGF 2011 schedule also includes additional seminars in Stuart May 20-22, and Islamorada Nov. 11-13. Registration of $99/early entry / $135 regular entry includes instruction, use of equipment, hands-on training, networking reception and silent auction, meals, goody bags and more. Sunday Fishing Adventure, with tackle and bait provided, is additional.  Contact: phone (954) 475-9068; email; website which also links to the Facebook page.

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South Florida LLGF seminar fishing report, April 17, 2011 half day:

Seas were calm, with winds out of the west at only 3-5 knots, then turning out of the southeast. Ft. Lauderdale is an amazing place to fish, as in only 4 hours you can get to deep water, troll for mackerel, go deeper for tuna, plus do some bottom fishing.

Lady Pamela II – Heather Duncan, Miami Beach, FL caught a 17 inch blackfin tuna.  Beth Pfent, Bonita Springs, FL caught a bonita (no pun intended), Cat Ghiotto, Key West, FL and Patti Stanford, Ft. Lauderdale, FL caught 23-24″ kingfish. Mary Ann Kreiger, Bonita Springs, FL and Diane Boland, Davie, FL caught bonita. They also hooked the mate, whom was later released. Everyone caught fish.

Hattatude – The ladies worked together to catch a 40 lb. amberjack, so heavy it took two ladies to carry it to the fillet table. Karen Hoehman, Ft. Lauderdale, FL caught a 3 lb. blackfin tuna, after which everyone caught a total of 8 small blackfins about the same size. All caught fish.

Out of the Blue – Fishing started off hot with 2 nice bonita caught by Betty Moore and Delores Davis, Plantation, FL before 9 am just out front of Port Everglades. The boat trolled planers for mackerel with no bites, then went out for tuna, no response. The ladies released two amberjack just under keeper size. After catching two small button snapper, Davis caught three keeper vermillion snapper on a chicken rig and two more snappers. All the ladies caught fish.

Catch My Drift – The ladies had fun but the fish won, even though they continually chanted, ‘Come eat the ballyhooooo!’. They had some bites and learned fishing is not always catching. They enjoyed seeing flying fish, birds fighting over the chum and making some new friends.

Captain Brian – Fishing inshore from Biscayne Bay on their own, the ladies from Bass Pro Shops released 19 sea trout and kept five, plus released three yellow tail snapper, two grouper, a barracuda and a stingray.


Comments from participants:
“I learned that conservation helps not only the habitat but the sport.” – Z Marti, Margate, FL.
“Had so much fun!” – J Creagar, Boynton Beach, FL
“Now I can fish off my own boat and know what I am doing!” – S. Lurie, Bay Harbor, FL
“I love freshwater fishing, but came to learn about saltwater!” K. Hoehman, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
“I have spent many years looking for a situation to learn with just women!” – D. Carlo, Jupiter, FL

For photos and captions

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