The fabulous Florida Keys have a well-deserved reputation as one of the world’s 'hot spots' when it comes to angling, with marlin, sailfish and all manner of supreme table fish hunted in the nutrient-rich waters by the Caribbean and South Atlantic.
One of the first stops when heading down to the keys from Miami Beach is Islamorada, one of the highly favoured ‘ports of call’ along the keys.
Islamorada actually comprises six islands, including Plantation Key, Windley Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, Lower Matecumbe Key and the offshore islands of Indian Key and Lignumvitae Key.
It’s right here at Islamorada where the action will be fast and furious over the weekend of November 11-13 when more than 6000 ladies will be on hand for the award-winning ‘Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing’ seminar.
The gala event is supported by Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, with a range of other sponsors helping out throughout the weekend.
An astonishing array of different classes have been established for the contestants with a line-up of highly experienced guest speakers, among them some of the Florida Keys best-known sport fishing skippers.
Why wouldn’t Lisa Karnes be smiling? If you have never dined on the fabulous Mahi Mahi (sometimes called Dolphin fish), then you have a treat in store. - ladies go fishing - Ladies Let's Go Fishing Click Here to view large photo
The ladies will learn ‘hands-on’ fishing skills in offshore, bottom, inshore and fly fishing techniques, no matter whether they are rank beginner, intermediate or advanced levels.
Additionally, student anglers will be taught proficiency in marine and habitat conservation and hone their skills at knot tying, bait rigging, spin and net casting, stand-up fish fighting techniques, such as reeling under pressure, use of the gaff and safe removal of hooks.
Even boat and trailer handling will be extensively covered.
The action is staged out of Islamorada’s Holiday Isle Beach Resorts and Marina, with classroom sessions followed by lunch and hands-on activities on the Saturday (November 11) through to late afternoon.
On Sunday morning, the ladies can test their newly-acquired skills in a variety of ways; they can take an optional offshore or inshore fishing adventure, fish the shallows from a drift boat or try their hand at inshore flats fishing.
So, what does a lady do when she lands a succulent catch?
Easy, this great event also hosts classes on filleting and preparing fine table fish.
Last year, the ladies turned out in force for the tournament, which is also known as 'the No-Yelling School of Fishing.'
In 2010 contestants came from as far away as New Mexico, Massachusetts and Missouri and organisers said they ranged in age from 21 to 80!
A common explanation for the attendance from several women was along the lines of 'I like to eat fish, so I should know how to catch them.'
Makes sense to me.
Obviously, the Florida Keys is the place to be in November – not only the Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing, but the world-famous World Offshore Powerboat Championships scheduled for Key West the previous weekend.
We can only hope the offshore racers don’t scare all the fish away.
Ladies Lets Go Fishing website
Lori Stampley (left) watches Arleen Damico 'taste' her catch. Could Arleen have been trained by Australia’s famous 'fish kisser' Rex Hunt? - ladies go fishing - Ladies Let's Go Fishing Click Here to view large photo