Registration open for Reel Florida Fishing Camp Winter Session
For the first time, Reel Florida Fishing Camp, Inc. will offer a three day Winter Session the first week of January, providing daily guided fishing trips departing from Pink Shell Resort & Marina, followed by a teaching component in a classroom.
Lisa Hutto, and her husband Captain Randy Hutto, began the Reel Florida Fishing Camp four years ago.
“We just kind of recognized a need a long time ago,” Lisa said of why they began offering the fishing camp off of Fort Myers Beach. “My husband has a huge passion for fishing. He used to always say he wished he had something like this when he was a kid.”
Reel Florida Fishing Camp recently became a nonprofit organization, so the couple could further educate and fuel the passion of fishing for the kids alongside a local professional guide.
“They go out on fishing charters,” Lisa said of youth 8 years and older. “It’s not cheap, but we wanted it to be high quality.”
With that said, they knew there would be lots of kids who could not afford the camp, which prompted the change to Reel Florida Fishing Camp, Inc.
“We knew eventually we wanted to do something to raise scholarship money and raise funds for it. That’s why we converted it into a nonprofit. Eventually we will do some bigger fundraisers to start a scholarship fund for kids,” she said.
After hearing feedback from the community, the Hutto’s decided to offer a three day Winter Session for the first time.
“Parents asked us to do stuff over the different breaks,” she said, which prompted “let’s give it a shot and see who is interested.”
The Winter Session will be held from Wednesday, Jan. 2, through Friday, Jan. 4. The schedule includes checking in at 8:15 a.m., followed by guided fishing from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Lunch will be held from 1 to 1:30 p.m., followed by review and next day planning from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Dismissal each day will be held at 2:45 p.m.
Registration is $650 per child and can be done by visiting www.reelfloridafishingcamp.com.
Lisa said they are hoping to raise enough money to allow one, or two kids with the opportunity to attend the camp for free.
“We have partnered up with Beach Elementary. They helped do the selection of kids,” she said.
Those interested in making a donation to the cause, can do so by visiting www.reelfloridafishingcamp.com, or by calling Lisa at (941) 586-1609.
The Winter Session will allow four kids to a boat. Lisa said they have six already signed up for the session, with the space of welcoming another six youth.
“We would like to get at least eight kids to make the session, to meet the minimum,” Lisa said. “The captains are so good at tweaking and really meeting the kids where they are, which is great.”
The classroom portion, Lisa said includes the campers looking at maps, so they can learn charting to see where they had been fishing; review what they used to catch a fish, as well as what they caught and planning what will take place the following day.
She said her husband’s dream when they first started the camp was not only to help kids learn how to fish, but add a classroom piece as well. During the summer session, the campers have heard someone speak from FWC, as well as visit the Coast Guard.
This past summer Reel Florida Fishing Camp began a partnership with Bone Fish Tarpon Trust, which afforded the kids with an opportunity to learn from one of their scientist about different species and tagging.
“They do a lot with conservation and being an ethical angler as well,” Lisa said. “Given all the recent water issues it is really important to pass on to the next generation of fishermen.”
During the summer, a week long camp is held Monday through Friday with the option of taking a beginner and advanced session. She said they have had a great deal of success with the summer sessions, which is why the added an advanced session for the returning youth.
The Summer Session dates are anticipated to be released at the beginning of February.