Fishing Opportunities for Ladies in the Northeast Region With Capt. Tommy Derringer

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Captain Tommy DerringerOne of the most popular fishing clubs in my region is the Ancient City Game Fish Association out of St. Augustine. It’s a very family oriented club and they hold their ladies tournament throughout the entire month of April. It’s a way to inspire the female members of the club to get out an fish, and not have to feel they’re in competition with their husbands or boyfriends—you know, so they don’t show the guys up and make them feel bad. 

If you’re a woman just getting into fishing, you can stop by The Bait Shack right next to the Vilano Boat Ramp in St. Augustine and talk to Elaine Mussallem who works there. She can introduce you to some of the local female anglers that fish together, some of which are pretty hardcore. They’re all really friendly and easy to get along with and very helpful. 

Just about every fishing tournament in northeast Florida has a ladies division, and they don’t get a ton of entries so they’re really good to enter because you have a good chance of winning something. You’re not just competing against everyone, you’re also competing against other female anglers, but if you catch the biggest fish, you can win the entire event AND the ladies division. 

Because some women are hesitant to learn to fish with male anglers, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission holds Women’s Fishing Clinics (WFC’s) as part of their outreach and education program. These clinics are a one-day, shore based event designed to introduce women to saltwater fishing and educate participants on how to be responsible, ethical stewards of Florida's marine resources. Programs are free to the public 18 years or older, and require a fishing license to attend. They hold the clinic in a bunch of areas, with Jacksonville being one of them. You can learn more about WFCs, please contact the Division of Marine Fisheries Management Outreach and Education at (850) 487-0554. 

There’s also the Ladies Let’s Go Fishing Program, which has been around for 18 years and had about 5,000 female anglers go through the program. They do two-day seminars where you learn the practical techniques and skills for the sport the first day, and then go fishing with a charter captain on the second day. It’s a really great program and you can find out more about it at 

The northeast region has a ton of great fishing opportunities for everyone, so if you know a woman who has an interest in fishing, offer to take them along and show them the ropes. Whether you’re surf fishing, inshore, offshore or bass fishing, you can expose someone to the outdoors and make them a lady angler for life. Be sure to be patient and make it fun, because no one want to someone yelling at them when they’re trying to relax and have a good time.

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