Fly Fishing Florida - IFFF Florida Council - Education
The Florida Council of the International
Federation of Fly Fishers is dedicated to conservation, education
and restoration of the environment for all fish in all waters.
Special events such as casting clinics and fly tying workshops are
held for the education and enjoyment of fly fishers. Local club meetings
often offer access to great speakers and programs.
Many thanks to Temple Fork Outfitters for providing rods and reels
for the casting clinics, the Renzetti Corp. for providing all the
vices and tools for fly tying sessions and Jim Teeny for providing
his excellent fly lines.
These are sponsors who have committed
to supplying equipment for council programs.
Temple Fork Outfitters
of our clubs work with organizations within their communities
to provide an educational experience for others.
The following article was written by our Council President, Tom
Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) at Bradenton Yacht Club
2013 - Veterans, captains, guides, and volunteers had a
great time on the waters in Palmetto, Florida. Larry Lurie,
our regional coordinator, organized 17 boats with captains/guides
and 20 volunteers who took veterans fly fishing. May 18th commemorated
the second PHWFF event at the Bradenton Yacht Club, who hosted
the event. PHWFF is a national non-profit (501c3) program that
teaches veterans fly fishing, fly casting, fly tying, and fly
rod building. It is helping heal the physical and emotional
wounds of our veterans. Fly fishers all over the country organize
fly fishing activities in conjunction with the Department of
Veterans Affairs Medical Centers and Clinics. This program is
promoted by the International Federation of Fly Fishers and
its charter and affiliated clubs. Members of Backcountry Fly
Fishing Association of Orlando, Gulf Shore Fly Fishing Club,
Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers, Mid Coast Fly Fishers, Suncoast
Fly Fishers, and Tampa Bay Fly Fishing Club donated their boats
and guides to make this event very successful and honor our
veterans. Blenker boat works and the Croswait Memorial Tournament
provided funds to support his event. These events get the veterans
out on the water to catch fish with a fly rod. Many of the vets
have spent time at VA facilities tying flies and learning how
to fly cast. Several programs also include fly rod building
programs. The veteran can build his/her own rod, tie their own
flies and then get out on the water to use the fly fishing equipment
that they made. All services are provided at no cost to our
So how did our day go? We started with a hot breakfast and assigned
each of the 18 veterans to a boat with its captain/guide and
a volunteer. Four members from Suncoast Fly Fishers attended
the event. Bob Schum is a veteran and now member of Suncoast.
The other three are 3 Toms - Tom Jones, Tom Tolrud and Tom Gadacz.
Veteran Bud Dickens from Pensacola and former U.S. Air Force
fleet fighter, was assigned to Tom Jones and me. Bob Schum was
assigned to Captain Rachel Nobbe-Cato. By 10:00 all were out
on the water fishing. Most of the bait fish were in the grassy
areas in 5 to7 feet of water. Mackerel, sea trout, flounder,
and lady fish were the recorded catches. After 3 to 4 hours
of fishing we were treated to a great lunch complements of the
Yacht Club and exchanged fish stories. Naturally, the sizes
and numbers of fish increased with each reiteration.
This event would not have been possible without the contributions
of the captains and volunteers and the members of the Bradenton
Yacht Club. We wish to thank all those involved in this event
and to the many veterans who served to preserve the freedoms
of our country. To them we owe our greatest THANKS!
President, Suncoast Fly Fishers
President, Florida Council of the International Federation of
Tolrud and coordinator Larry Lurie scheduling
coordinator Larry Lurie orienting the teams
Shawn Raulerson, Frank Rhodes and John Hand
Gadacz, veteran Bud Dickens, and Tom Jones
Bob Schum and his wife Carolyn; Tom Gadacz, Tom Jones, and Tom Tolrud
Bob Schum aboard Captain Rachel Nobbe-Cato's boat
Lurie, Regional Coordinator, PHWFF recieved a letter from the wife
of one of the participants and would like to share with those who
volunteered to experience what your participation accomplished.
"Dear Mr. Lurie,
I would like to take this time to tell you Thank You for making my
husband happy again. My husband is a Navy Veteran, and attends Bay
Pines VA in St. Petersburg, Fl. He is not only a liver transplant
patient, and a recent BKA (below the knee amputee). He has been in
the wheelchair since October of last year and only uses the walker
to go to bed or the bathroom. Since then he has not wanted to do too
much other than sit in front of the TV or sleep.
The first time we heard of PROJECT HEALING WATERS was at the Amputee
Support Group at the hospital. All the amputees were invited to go
to the Community Living Center to learn how to tie fly's and make
a rod if they liked. Bob was not really interested, but I took him
over and we met with the guys from SUNCOAST FLY FISHERS. These guys
took Bob under their wings and got him tying flies right away. On
the way home I asked him if he wanted to go back and he said yes.
So our anniversary was in a few days so I purchased a kit for him.
Then we made a trip to Bill Jackson's, and started him out with a
few things. Now he was excited to go back and show the guys what he
had and get started. The guys told him where to go and what to get
that wouldn't cost a lot. During the time that he is tying flies he
is talking and learning and he is also sharing with other vets. We
have since joined SUNCOAST FLY FISHERS, and they have made him feel
like one of them even though he can't get around as well.
The last support group meeting they were told that PROJECT HEALING
WATERS was having an outing on the 18th of May. Bob got really excited
and the guys told him that he would have a great time, but take lots
of sunscreen and that was all he would need. He counted the days until
today arrived. He was like a little kid, up early and we had to be
on the road by a certain time. When we arrived at the Bradenton Yacht
Club we were early so we were unsure where we were to go. That was
when we met Mike, and he took us over to the tent where we were greeted
and made at home.
After having a great breakfast, the boats were assigned and that's
when Bob was ready. He really hadn't been fishing since 2009, so this
was a twofold treat. It made me feel really happy to see the care
and help he received not only from Capt. Rachael and Chad the volunteer
to help assist the Captain and the Veteran. I was shocked to see Bob
get into the boat not only with his walker but to have his wheelchair
there for him. He had the biggest SMILE on his face when they pulled
away from the dock. I have to admit I had a tear in my eye to see
him do it. This is a man, who was happy just to sit at home and do
nothing. Now he is out and talking with people and doing things that
he never would have done on his own. Thanks to PROJECT HEALING WATERS
and SUNCOAST FLY FISHERS he is active again and enjoying life.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I know that you have given
new life to a Vet in more ways than one.
Thank you again."
Sincerely Bob and Carolyn Schum
From Other Projects
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