By Heather Sneed and Amanda Nalley
Bob and Shelly Stowe of Jupiter, knew plenty about freshwater fishing from their years living in Michigan, but when it came to saltwater fishing, they weren’t quite sure where to start.
That’s when they found out about a local Family Saltwater Fishing Clinic being hosted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
“We had no experience with saltwater fishing,” said Shelly Stowe. “That class was so complete. It was A++. I learned how to set up a pole, how to unhook a fish from the line, how to cast correctly and how to bait a hook. Every single person involved in teaching that class was so friendly, helpful and knowledgeable that if they had it again, we’d take it again.”
Bob and Shelly Stowe.
The FWC hosts fishing clinics for everybody. For years we’ve hosted kids’ and women’s fishing clinics across the state, and in 2017, we added adult saltwater fishing clinics.
These free, one-day educational events are for anyone 18 and older, male or female. After all, who doesn’t want to learn how to saltwater fish?
Participants learn everything they need to know to fish on their own while conserving Florida’s marine resources, from knot tying and fishing tackle to conservation efforts and marine habitats.
Need one-on-one attention? Clinic class sizes are kept small in an effort to implement a structured hands-on approach. Local professionals also participate, providing local knowledge — a resource every angler needs.
At the end of the day, you’ll also get to try catch-and-release fishing firsthand. Bring your own gear or FWC will provide some for the day. And don’t forget your recreational saltwater fishing license (unless you are exempt that is).
“We absolutely loved it,” said Bob Stowe, who went out fishing with his wife the very next day after the clinic. “I’d recommend it to anybody who wants to learn. They did a top-notch job.” So far, the pair have caught and released quite a few catfish and snapper, and even some pompano.
For women and adult saltwater fishing clinics, you’ll need to register in advance, either on the calendar, or by calling the Division of Marine Fisheries Management Outreach and Education subsection at 850-487-0554 or emailing Heather.Sneed@MyFWC.com.
Already know how to saltwater fish? Help contribute by purchasing fishing equipment, boats, motorboat and small-engine fuel. Funds from these purchases go to the national Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, which in turn, helps fund these and other Florida fishing education programs.
Have a burning question about marine fisheries regulations or fish handling? Send your questions, photos and fishing tales to Saltwater@MyFWC.com. Make sure your photo meets our photo requirements by visiting MyFWC.com/Fishing and clicking on “Saltwater Fishing” and “Submit a Photograph” under “Get Involved.” Don’t forget to record all of your catches on the iAngler phone app or at SnookFoundation.org. Get rewarded by submitting your catches to our Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs at CatchaFloridaMemory.com.
The quarterly Gone Coastal column is one of many ways the FWC Division of Marine Fisheries Management is helping recreational anglers understand complex saltwater regulations and learn more about saltwater fishing opportunities and issues in Florida. We are also available to answer questions by phone or email anytime, and we would love the opportunity to share information through in-person presentations with recreational or commercial fishing organizations. To contact the FWC’s Regulatory Outreach subsection, call 850-487-0554 or email Saltwater@MyFWC.com.0