All I can think about is fishing after speaking with Betty Bauman, the Founder and CEO of Ladies Let’s Go Fishing/Executive Director of the LLGF Foundation, Founder and CEO of MetroMedia, and Program Manager for Save-Fish.com. Betty started her career as a PR Manager for Wellcraft, Donzi, and Aquasport before starting her own agency. Along the way she has supported the Fort Lauderdale Billfish Tournament and Treasure Cay Billfish Tournament.
Betty is a frequent radio guest on Fish Talk Radio with John Henigin and Mike Ritz broadcast to millions of listeners including iHeart Radio, and on Bill Kelly's fishing radio show in Islamorada, FL SUN FM 103.1 and iHeart Radio.
As Program Manager of Save-Fish.com, Betty created and launched a go-to informative website on how and why to release fish, partnering with the Save Our Seas Foundation, an internationally-based nonprofit with the mission of preserving oceanic habitat.
Finally, Betty has helped over 8,000 women graduate from Ladies Let’s Go Fishing! The seminar series — often dubbed “The No-Yelling School of Fishing” — is renowned nationally. Bauman established a partnership with the State Department in 1997 when she offered the state a solution to the lack of opportunity for women to learn fishing and conservation skills. “Ladies, Let's Go Fishing!®” is a national organization dedicated to attracting more women to sportfishing and to promoting conservation and responsible angling. LLGF promotes networking among women anglers and emphasizes mentorship between novice and experienced members. The organization has earned rave reviews from national media including “Inside Edition,” CBS’ “The Early Show,” NBC's “Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “Good Morning America,” “Outdoor Life Network,” USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, Southern Living and more. The weekend seminar series offers a complete fishing experience presented in a non-intimidating environment. Leading sportfishing and marine industry professionals teach classes and provide hands-on training in inshore, offshore, bottom and fly fishing techniques. And it’s not just for ladies, women are now encouraged to register male and teen guests to join them!
The Foundation is a 501C3 whose mission is to provide educational opportunities for women and families to learn fishing and conservation.
It's a wonder Betty had time to join me but I am sure glad she did. Enjoy!
On getting started in boating…..I always loved boating. We always had a small boat when I was growing up. And back in the 70’s I got a job with Wellcraft Marine doing their marketing. At that point I got my own boat and I didn’t even think twice about how to drive it. I had a whole company of people I could go to for reference. I loved the water and I loved the outdoors! I had some exposure with boating through work and I just really enjoyed boats. Now I have a Ranger boat which is fantastic.
On getting into fishing…..With my job at the boat company I did learn fishing. They would bring me to fishing tournaments and put me on boats to fish with, say the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Arthur Smith Tournament. It was there I realized I need to know a little more about fishing. I was fishing on my own boat and I just kind of winged it and I realized if I had some training I would be a little more productive and catch more fish.
On challenging parts of learning…..The trickiest part was docking and trailering, how to get the boat in the water. And also things like how the pumps and batteries work. For fishing it was what kind of lures you use for what kind of fish and what do you do with the lures. Those are all things you can learn but as a beginner we’re not born with that knowledge.
On equipment for beginners…..It’s the rod and reel. And learning what’s conventional, what’s spinning, what kind of reel you need for the fishing you want to do. For boating it’s what kind of boat do you want, what kind of boat suits you.
On inspiration for LLGF…..I like to fish, and married a guy who is a tournament champion. We would go fishing and he would bark out orders. And by the time I asked the question it was already too late to perform the task. Because of that I could never learn in the actual situation. I realized if I had a place I could go without him where I could learn the theory, and use the equipment, tie the knots, have a chance to practice, and then go out on the water and practice my skills on the environment then I would be a better part of the fishing team.
On feedback from graduates…..I get the feedback that we changed their lives. They were wanting to be fishing and once they took this they had the courage to go out and challenge the sport and find ways to go fishing. A lot of them ended up buying boats, getting the tackle and now they’re sending me pictures of them fishing in other countries. It gave them something really fun to do, something to look forward to, and ways to make memories with friends and family.
On boating as a family activity…..Boating and fishing are so unique and so important. A family can get together in one place, without the electronic distractions, and they’re actually talking, sharing, doing things together. It’s a very special sport.
On favorites place to fish…..My favorite places are the Florida Keys, Chokoloskee, which I call the Jurassic Park of fishing, and the Bahamas. For me it’s the kind of fish you can catch, the scenery, and the destination. It all kind of works together.
On conservation…..The things that we instill at LLGF and through save-fish are how to release fish that you’re not intending to keep or you accidently catch, how to use the dehookers, how to use fish grips. If you must take a photo, try to leave the fish in the water. Don’t keep it out of the water longer than you can hold your breath. Hold it sideways. Use wet hands, not gloves. That is their home. You have to really think about the impact of what you’re doing on the water.
On favorite fish to catch….. Sailfish of course! They really give you an exciting show. You go from boredom to sheer excitement in one second. Sometimes you have 3 or 4 sailfish on at the same time. I like to kitefish for them and we use goggle-eyes for that. So we are drifting with kites.
On fish for beginners…..What’s nice about Mahi-Mahi is that there’s a lot of them sometimes and they can be caught using simple strategies such as trolling. Sometimes there’s so many of them that you can make mistakes and lose a few until you get the rhythm of bringing them to the boat and positioning them. And they grow very fast, they’re good to eat, and they’re beautiful. They glow green and blue underneath the water and when you have a school there it is just sheer excitement!
On continuing to learn fishing skills…..Come to another LLGF in a different city! They can join a forum, that’s a good place to look up information. Read Magazines, there are a lot of great ones, for instance Florida Sportsman. Also, we teach them how to go into a tackle shop and what questions to ask. A lot of tackle shops have friendly people there that you can walk in and say ‘Hey, I wanna catch a redfish or a snook can you show me what lures they’re biting on?’ Go to shows where they have seminars. And then wear fish jewelry and wear fish clothes. You’re going to run into people that will comment on them and you will make some friends and those are other people that are sources!
On great fishing advice received…..One of the best is don’t be afraid of your fishing mistakes. Use them as a way to learn. Practice is king. The more you practice, the more you go fishing, the better you’re going to be.
On the importance of sponsors…..The registrations only pay a percentage of this year round operation. Without the sponsors, there would not be a LLGF. All of our sponsors can be found on our website and they are all so important and appreciated!
On advice to anyone thinking about boating…..Do it! You’re gonna learn by experience. Try to build a network around you of people who fish and boat. Fishing and boating is something really fun to do. Especially if you’re already boating, fishing is a way to interact with what’s on the other side of the ocean, what kind of world is down there. With fishing, you can reveal what is down there and interact with it and have fishing stories to tell for the rest of your life.