Thursday, February 11, 2016
Fly Fishing Florida - IFFF Florida Council - Education

The Programs:

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
Jim Teeny
Renzetti Corp.

Many 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, Tom Gadacz.



October 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.

John 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 building.

The 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.



Florida Council IFFF Establishes Youth Award

At 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 and applications are obtained through Frank Johnson at Application deadline is usually March 31.

Youth Adventure has been cancelled for 2015.

E. G. Simmons Fishing Camp
Ruskin, Florida

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.

Dave 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.

This 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.

Tom Gadacz
Member, Suncoast Fly Fishers
President, Florida Council IFFF


Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) 2014 at Bradenton Yacht Club

May 2014
The 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 redfish.

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.

Tom Gadacz and Larry Lurie 


Photos From Other Projects
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