I’m not one to go out of the way to go fishing however, every gal/lady should learn what it’s all about. Biggest reason is guys LOVE fishing. Second reason is men complain we, gals, don’t like it. Third and most important reason – women get jealous if their man goes fishing and other women are on the boat paying attention to their man. Work around? Take a class with/through Ladies Let’s Go Fishing (LLGF)! It’s the best of both worlds. Most classes are ladies only; except one or two male instructors. There’s no yelling and no name calling. No one tells you you’re stupid. There is no stupid question. Just ask my friend Rebecca who took this class with me.
Captain George Mittler taught us about bait and trolling speeds. He commented that you want the bait to be constantly swimming with a natural presentation. Trolling speed is important when it comes to sea weather conditions. On a flat day you’ll troll about eight knots to keep that bait swimming or just skimming along on the surface. In a 2 – 3 foot sea you’ll possibly drop down to six knots. If you go any faster than that your bait is going to be flying. If it’s 4 – 6 foot seas, you’re going to be low and may be going only 3-4 knots. With that, Rebecca asked if that live bait is dead. Everybody erupted into laughter and she not only made our day but she helped soften the learning.
The week before class begins, Betty Baum (owner of LLGF) sends you a wealth of information for review. This includes: agenda, fishing terminology, knots, information regarding the Friday Party Master Chef Potluck Appetizer Contest, directions for the event and recommended lodging, silent auction, optional fishing for Sunday, and cancellation policy. Basically everything you’ll need to know before class starts.
The event kicked off on Thursday night with an appetizer contest and silent auction. Appetizers included: mini meatza pies, mock oyster dip, chicken, salsas, stuffed cucumber, and a watermelon boat with little gummy fishes; at the Stuart FL event. Buckets filled with fishing gear, fishing trips, clothing, rods, and jewelry were just a few items in the silent auction. It’s a great way to network with classmates.
Friday morning at 8:00am class begins with an introduction to fishing. Captain George clarifies a fishing pole is really called a fishing rod. Companies make fishing lures for fisherman. If they catch fish with them, that’s a bonus. The best place to buy your rod and bait is from a local tackle store. You get knowledge of what’s biting and the right type of bait to use. A great way to learn what works best with fish for bait is to open the guts of fish you catch and look into their stomach. For example, if you see squid or shrimp, then you know they’re going deep at night. Cobia loves crab and shrimp.
“You have to learn what to fish with as well as the how-to,” says Jodi Girourd. “There’s three different kinds of reels: bait caster, conventional and spinner. The waters are tantamount to the way you catch a fish because you need to know the waters and how to read them.”
A bait caster reel is a conventional type of reel for casting lures or bait in both salt and fresh water. On the conventional reel, the biggest mistake we make is to tighten the drag. To control the drag on a conventional reel use your thumb. For a spinner, use your hand. For example, if the fish wants to take off, release your thumb off the conventional reel or your hand off the bale on the spinner. According to Captain Melinda Buckley, the moment you drop your tip you’re dropping the tension on the line. That’s why you lose fish. Without tension the hook keeps rocking in the fish’s mouth and falls out. So keep your tip up and wind down.
Additionally you’ll learn how to: back up a trailer, gaff, and fish in-shore, conserve habitation, and de-hook fish. Plus, how-to put a line on a reel, put the reel on your rod, and how-to dress for fishing success.
On day two, you get to take what you learned and use your new skills on a boat. So if you’re still undecided if this class is right for you, Jodie would tell you to start small at the beginning and give it a chance. One bite at a time. LLGF takes the stress out offishing and puts the fun back into it. Plus, the girls are supportive of each other. They’re all trying to do the same thing.
At the Stuart class, everyone who went out on the party boat all caught a fish. They caught red snapper, king fish, mutton snappers and Toro (orange) snappers. Here’s what some of the ladies had to say. “Don’t get a bird’s nest,” says Denise. “All these years I’ve been fishing I thought you didn’t want the fish to see the hook so I’d been covering it over all these years. This trip I didn’t cover it and caught two snappers.” Dorothy learned how to throw a net, catch bait and met a lot of nice people. Gail said she loved the casting of the nets and fly fishing skills she learned in the class. Mary commented that though LLGF didn’t catch the kingfish or 18lb mutton snapper, everybody in the ladies group on the party boat did catch a fish. They used the top dorsal fin of a humbled 8 – 9 ft. squid sliced real thin and cut into strips as bait that was a new experience. Then they used the grunts they caught as live bait and started to really catch fish. All in all, everyone had a blast.