Enough is enough.
The weather this year has been insane, and the more time goes on, the more it seems like we should learn to adjust to the tumultuous conditions. Since Mother Nature isn’t being particularly kind to the Great Lakes this season, we’re voting to escape to Florida until after Memorial Day. And if the weather wasn’t reason enough… there’s this:
The popular Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing! University held its first class of the season on Feb. 10 at Bass Pro Shops, Fort Myers, FL. Hosted by the nonprofit Ladies, Let's Go Fishing Foundation, the educational events offer classroom instruction, conservation, hands-on fishing activities, networking, a fishing experience from land and gifts. And they’ve got events planned through mid-June!
Participants came from as far away as the Great Lakes to learn fishing skills to apply at home for this coming season. Perfect for women, men and teens who want to learn freshwater fishing, the program offers rod and reel basics, lure usage, casting techniques, fish retrieval, fish release, strategy and conservation, followed by hands-on fishing skill practice.
Known as the “No-Yelling School of Fishing,” the event offered a networking party on Friday, classes and hands-on skills Saturday and optional charter fishing on Sunday. One-on-one stations allowed participants to practice dehooking, spin casting, net casting, releasing, knot tying, reel maintenance, gaffing grapefruits, ballyhoo rigging and Magic Tilt trailer backing.
From charter boats on Sunday and with enviable sunny skies, 3-5 ft. seas and 15 mph winds the participants had some notable catches, including a 40 lb. grouper, a 300 lb. hammerhead shark release, two mahi mahi and some nice king mackerel. Two boats even witnessed loggerhead turtles mating! Spring is clearly in the air down there…
Capt. Rod Roydhouse reported: “Ladies, Let's Go Fishing kicked off the first day of grouper season with an impressive 40 lb. black grouper caught by Sienna Megna of Margate, FL. The grouper was caught one mile off Dania in 120 ft.of water with a live bullet-size bonito. Lisa Ciampa, Boca Raton, FL released a 300 lb. hammerhead shark which came up when they were kite fishing with goggle eyes. It was her first ever shark release. Andrea Beuter, Estero, FL caught an 8 lb. mahi mahi on her first-time offshore fishing trip for her first mahi mahi ever. Gail Lax caught a small bonito later used for bait.”
While Capt. Dave Ide told us: “the ladies caught five kingfish from 10-16 lbs. Fishing in green/blue water trolling seven lines with planers and ballyhoo and mullet strips around the freighters, the ladies got into the king mackerel. The MyFWC app was on target for the bite time, which was on from 7 to 9:30 am with 5 fish hooked up and three brought aboard, plus a wahoo break-off and a small kingfish release. All caught kings. Diane McMahon caught her first kingfish ever weighing 16 lbs. Vivian Villanueva caught a 14 lb. king. Mary Metcalf caught a small blackfin tuna. Tara Sprawka caught an 11 lb. kingfish. The ladies took their kingfish to a local smoke house afterwards.
So, I’m nearly packed and going to donate my winter coat to someone at the airline gate, headed back North! If you’re coming with, here’s what you need to know: registration includes instruction, use of equipment, hands-on training, networking reception, gifts worth $50, Bass Pro Shops discount and door prizes. Sunday offshore fishing for the South Florida event is additional, $55 drift boat, $145 offshore fishing yacht. No equipment or experience is necessary. Participants must register in advance. Online registration and information is on www.ladiesletsgofishing.com
Upcoming LLGF Events
April 27-29 South Florida Saltwater Weekend Seminar
May 12 Palm Beach Surf Fishing Seminar
June 22-23 Keys Fishing Learning on the Water
Oct.19-21 Keys Saltwater Weekend Seminar