of our clubs work with organizations within their communities
to provide an educational experience for others.
The following articles were written by our Council President,
VETERANS TO SHOOT LINE.
29, 2014 was a sunny and pleasant day and to be with 14 veterans
was a special day not only for them but for those of us who helped.
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) is a national program
between veterans and local fly fishing clubs to introduce veterans
to fly fishing.
Craig, Tom Gadacz, Ken Hofmeister, Terry Kirkpatrick, Richard
Oldenski, Ted Rich, and Alan Sewell of Suncoast Fly Fishers, a
Charter club of the International Federation of Fly Fishers, assisted
veterans at Bay Pines Veterans Administration Heath Care System
at an outing at Ft. DeSoto, a Pinellas County Park. These and
many other veterans have spent many hours with fly tying and rod
trip to St. DeSoto gave the veterans on the water experience with
fly fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. There was plenty of fly fishing,
kayaking, and fly casting along with a great lunch. VA staff member
and Recreation Specialist, Peter Jonsson arranged for these veterans
and members of their family to have a great time in the sun and
waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Council IFFF Establishes Youth Award
the March 8, 2014 FL Council IFFF Board meeting, the Council established
the Florida Council IFFF "Skip Mackey" Youth Award for
a Florida youth interested in fly fishing. Mackey, who passed
away in November 2013, was "The Voice of NASA". He was an avid
fisherman and championed teaching kids to fish. The youth must
be accepted into the Bighorn Youth Fly Fishing Camp in Fort Smith,
Montana. Youths 14 to 18 years of age are eligible. Twelve youths
are selected to attend. The Florida Council Award will help fund
transportation costs to the Camp. The Bighorn River Alliance provides
funding for the camp experience. Information is available at www.bighornriveralliance.org
and applications are obtained through Frank Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Application deadline is usually March 31. Funding is available
for the 2015 camp session.
G. Simmons Fishing Camp
June 23, July 1, July 18, and August 4, 2014
Suncoast Fly Fishers members: Rick Warfel, Ken
Hofmeister, Don Manning, Bob Morrison, Tom Trukenbrod, Tom Gadacz,
and Alan Sewell
Camp Attendees: 36 youths 9-11 years old first session, 40 youths
12-15 year old second session,
40 youths 9-11 years old the third session, and 36 older youths
the fourth session. Total of 152 youths.
Ramirez, Camp Director and his staff organized the kids and helped
with managing the group. The kids had plenty of energy and several
had some experience with fly casting. We had many more girls this
year than we had last year. We demonstrated casting but most of
the time they were casting. The workouts with the PCV pipe and
paint brush drills stressed casting form. It was a good transition
from the pipes and paint brushes to the short Form rods. The 8'6"
rods were good size for even the shortest kid. Even though we
shortened the leader to 4' there were many "wind knots"
even in the fly line. Most of them could hit the targets and modified
their cast to increase the chances of hitting the target. The
older group showed a greater interest in fly casting and several
remained after the session for additional casting. Many had questions
about fly fishing and sources for fly fishing equipment. We had
great fun and a very rewarding experience sharing our fly fishing
enthusiasm so much so that we hardly felt the 90 degree sun. Splashing
each other during the water and paint brush drill also helped.
The last session had several of the older youths who had been
to last year's sessions or the one we had earlier this year and
they showed remarkable casting skills. Each youth received a SFF
Junior Training Clinic for Fly Casting Certificate.
activity was support by a grant from Fish Florida and thanks to
Russ Miller and Far Banks Enterprises for helping with the acquisition
of casting equipment. Thanks to Dayle Mazzarella for helping develop
the casting curriculum and the SFF members who volunteered to
help with these sessions.
Member, Suncoast Fly Fishers
President, Florida Council IFFF
Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) 2014 at Bradenton Yacht Club
Annual Crosthwait Memorial Fishing Tournament and the Bradenton
Yacht Club hosted the third annual PHWFF event on May 17, 2014
which provided some 30 veterans a day of fly fishing on the
water. Hell's Bay Boatworks and other Florida captains and guides
provided the transportation for the veterans and local PWHFF
at regional Veterans Administration facilities provided volunteers.
Larry Lurie, regional PHWFF director, organized the day's event
from the 14 programs in the region. Members of the Mangrove
Coast Fly Fishers, the Mid Coast Fly fishers, the Suncoast Fly
Fishers, and the Tampa Bay Fly Fishing Club supported the event
with many volunteers and boats.
After a brief orientation the captains,volunteers and veterans
headed out to fish the Manatee River and Terra Ceia Bay for
4 to 5 hours. Despite the brisk wind, many veterans had that
fly line out 30 and 40 feet. A few of the veterans are also
in the process of building their own fly rod in several of the
VA programs. Several large snook and trout were caught and released.
Other species included flounder, mackerel, sheep heads, and
The veterans returned to have lunch and exchanged their experiences.
It was amazing on how the size of the fish grew with each iteration
of the telling. The veterans were honored with a presentation
of arms, a few speeches celebrating Armed Services Day, and
a silent auction. Bay News 9 and Manatee Educational Television
covered the event.
We appreciate all who volunteered their time and boats to honor
our veterans and especially grateful to all the veterans who
have served our country. A salute on this Armed Services Day
to all veterans all over the world! You are the individuals
who we honor.
and Larry Lurie