It’s affectionately dubbed the “No Yelling School of Fishing” and it’s marking its twenty-third year of teaching more than 9,000 graduates. It’s singular focus: introducing more women to fishing.
Officially named the “Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing” program, LLGF founder Betty Bauman recently wrapped the latest Gulf Coast University session held at Bass Pro Shops in Ft. Myers. The event was rescheduled from March to the end of June due to the coronavirus, and the class was limited in size to accomplish required social distancing.
Enrollees from all around Florida signed on to take in the series of educational classroom presentations, participate in hands-on skill practice sessions and fishing trips with expert captains.
More specifically, this LLGF program included classroom presentations by Capt. Debbie Hanson (The Basics of Fishing); Capt. Jon Fetter (Inshore Fishing Skills & Techniques); Capt. Rob Fussnecker (Timing for Fishing Success); and Betty Bauman (Anglers Are the Original Conservationists).
The afternoon, hands-on skill sessions ranged from basics like knot tying and proper baiting to learning skills including fly and spin casting — even bait net casting was covered, conducted by the speakers as well as Steve Johnson from Bait Box Sanibel.
On Sunday, participants embarked on their chosen fishing adventures from boats where they caught and released snook, snapper, redfish and sea trout, among other species. During the half-day expedition, Capt. Rob Fussnecker’s Aqua Breeze Charters reported: “The ladies released 14 fish in total. Lisa Birns caught her first fish ever, a 26-inch redfish. In total they released five redfish from 24 to 26 inches, eight sea trout up to 20 inches and one 19-inch snook. They learned fishing for redfish near mangroves and fishing for trout on the flats.”
Another example from Capt. Keith Kersey, 5/0 Charters: “Mother Robin Krueger, teen daughter Amy Krueger and friend Erin Pyper all from Parkland, FL caught and released 20 fish, including two 23-inch redfish, four mangrove snapper, six sea trout, two 23-inch blacktip sharks and six catfish. They learned about tides, winds and casting,” he added.
The balance of this year’s LLGF schedule include:
August 8: Scalloping in Homosassa
August 14-16: Florida Keys Fishing at Screamin’ Reels in Islamorada
Aug. 21-23: South Florida Offshore Saltwater Weekend Seminar at IGFA Dania Beach
Sept. 12-13: Tampa Inshore Seminar at the Progressive Insurance Tampa Boat Show
Oct. 23-25: Keys Saltwater Weekend Seminar in Islamorada.
LLGF is supported by major partners that deserve recognition, including: Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation; Mercury Marine; Magic Tilt trailers; Penn Reels; Scout Boats; Seven Seas Yacht Sales; Power-Pole; and Fish Florida. Also, major sponsors include: Freedom Boat Club; Sunrise Resort & Marina; Future Angler Foundation; CCA Florida STAR; TACO Marine and Seaguar, among some others listed on their website.
Teaching more women how to successfully enjoy fishing is an important objective for our industry. Studies by RBFF, for example, have shown that if a woman fishes, she’ll lead her children and family to it, too.
While Betty Bauman’s LLGF program is only in Florida, the concept of having a special day at the dealership for only ladies to learn about fishing — taught by personable locals — could be a concept that promotionally minded marine dealers in other parts of the country that focus on fishing boat sales might successfully imitate.