MATLACHA, Fla. – Dozens of women flooded the waters off the coast of Southwest Florida, some for the very first time. It was all to learn the ins and outs of fishing through a program that travels around the state to get more women introduced to the sport.
To some it comes natural.
“I grew up fishing in Alaska,” said Kathy Vascik. “But, I have not fished in Florida.”
To others, it’s somewhat new.
“We just relocated here,” said Dawn Otani. “So this is a perfect opportunity for me to learn the area, how to fish here.
Fishing is a sport that many Floridians have tried at least once or twice, but Betty Bauman hopes to get more women hooked to what she calls a predominantly male sport.
“Thirty-three percent of the anglers are women, but there’s plenty of room for women to go out there and go fishing,” said Bauman.
She travels across the state, teaching women about the sport and the responsibilities that come with it. Her program is called, “Ladies, let’s go fishing.”
“We bring the message that fishing is a finite resource, and there’s a lot we can do as anglers to preserve the fisheries the future.”
These women love it.
“It’s been a lot of fun, and I’ve met some really, really nice ladies here,” said Vascik.
Waking up early Sunday morning, ready to cast their lines, and reel in a winner! Otani adds, “Each of us have showed up our husbands on at least one occasion, and caught the bigger fish.”
Whether new to the sport or not, they’re glad to find a group that introduces them to other women who share the same love of taking to the water. At the end of the day, that’s what Bauman says makes it worth it. “Give women the confidence to go out there and fish.”
Bauman has been doing this for 20 years. She says more than 8,000 women have participated in the program.