Saltwater fishing clinics are for everyone

“Gone Coastal” column by Heather Sneed and Amanda Nalley

Photo courtesy of Bob and Shelly Stowe of Jupiter, Florida.

Bob and Shelly Stowe of Jupiter, knew plenty about freshwater fishing from their years living in Michigan, but when it came to saltwater fishing, they weren’t quite sure where to start.

That’s when they found out about a local Family Saltwater Fishing Clinic being hosted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

“We had no experience with saltwater fishing,” said Shelly Stowe. “That class was so complete. It was A++. I learned how to set up a pole, how to unhook a fish from the line, how to cast correctly and how to bait a hook. Every single person involved in teaching that class was so friendly, helpful and knowledgeable that if they had it again, we’d take it again.”

The FWC hosts fishing clinics for everybody. For years we’ve hosted kids’ and women’s fishing clinics across the state, and in 2017, we added adult saltwater fishing clinics.

These free, one-day educational events are for anyone 18 and older, male or female. After all, who doesn’t want to learn how to saltwater fish?

Participants learn everything they need to know to fish on their own while conserving Florida’s marine resources, from knot tying and fishing tackle to conservation efforts and marine habitats.

Need one-on-one attention? Clinic class sizes are kept small in an effort to implement a structured hands-on approach. Local professionals also participate, providing local knowledge — a resource every angler needs.

At the end of the day, you’ll also get to try catch-and-release fishing firsthand. Bring your own gear or FWC will provide some for the day. And don’t forget your recreational saltwater fishing license (unless you are exempt that is).

“We absolutely loved it,” said Bob Stowe, who went out fishing with his wife the very next day after the clinic. “I’d recommend it to anybody who wants to learn. They did a top-notch job.” So far, the pair have caught and released quite a few catfish and snapper, and even some pompano.

Want to find a fishing clinic near you? Visit our Calendar for upcoming dates and locations. You can also learn more at by clicking on “Outdoor Skills.”

For women and adult saltwater fishing clinics, you’ll need to register in advance, either on the calendar, or by calling the Division of Marine Fisheries Management Outreach and Education subsection at 850-487-0554 or emailing

Already know how to saltwater fish? Help contribute by purchasing fishing equipment, boats, motorboat and small-engine fuel. Funds from these purchases go to the national Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, which in turn, helps fund these and other Florida fishing education programs.

Have a burning question about marine fisheries regulations or fish handling? Send your questions, photos and fishing tales to Make sure your photo meets our photo requirements by visiting and clicking on “Saltwater Fishing” and “Submit a Photograph” under “Get Involved.” Don’t forget to record all of your catches on the iAngler phone app. Get rewarded by submitting your catches to our Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs at