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Free family event: Family Fishing Days return Aug. 21

  • Family Fishing Days are free, monthly events for families to fish together in a fun, safe environment.
  • The 2021 (abbreviated) season has events on Aug. 21, Sept. 18, Oct. 16 and Nov. 13.
  • The catch-and-release events last from 8 a.m. until noon.
  • Volunteers needed! Email c.hartman@ufl.edu to help.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Anglers of all ages and experience levels can attend an upcoming Family Fishing Day event, held each month through November at the University of Florida’s catch-and-release fishing ponds, located at 7922 NW 71st St.

The events, part of the Fishing For Success educational program within the UF/IFAS School of Forest, Fisheries, and Geomatics Sciences, have historically been hosted from March through November. The 2020 season was planned and ready to begin when the pandemic postponed it.

“We’re excited for the return of this educational, family-friendly event,” said Crystal Hartman, a UF biologist who coordinates the Fishing For Success program. “The Family Fishing Days have been active for over 20 years and have taught many in our community how to fish. We have parents who came as youth, who are now bringing their children.”

Each event starts at 8 a.m. and wraps up by noon. Anglers are welcome to bring their own equipment or borrow from the available rods and bait. Accessible ramps allow everyone to join in the fun.

The freshwater ponds contain largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish and channel catfish. As an outdoor event, social distancing is easy on the 6 acres of ponds.

The monthly events are themed to make each experience unique. There are often giveaways for participants, as well, and raffle prizes have included items like fishing poles.

  • Aug. 21: Back to School Bonanza
  • Sept. 18: Aquatic Education Day
  • Oct. 16: Spooky Candy Day
  • Nov. 13: Veteran’s Day BBQ and Sharon Fitz-Coy Memorial

You can volunteer at the Family Fishing Days. A wide range of opportunities are offered based on experience and interest, including day-of event support, fishing pole care and maintenance, aquatic weed control, preparing print materials and more.

What’s in it for you? Access to aquatic experts to answer any questions about the field and the opportunity to earn volunteer hours towards scholarships, for schools and organizations. For more information, contact Crystal Hartman or visit the Fishing For Success website.

Another way to support Fishing For Success, which is a nonprofit organization, is through donations. Monetary gifts ensure the program’s Family Fishing Days and year-round educational outreach efforts remain equipped and successful. Consider giving at uff.ufl.edu/give-now/?fund_id=022281.

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The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents.
ifas.ufl.edu  @UF_IFAS