Bait Box holds annual Esperanza Woodring Memorial Cast Net Rodeo
A well-known island tradition, the Esperanza Woodring Memorial Cast Net Rodeo, will return for its 24th year this weekend.
The cast net rodeo will take place in the Bait Box’s parking lot, 1041 Periwinkle Way, Saturday Nov. 4 at 9:30 a.m. Free lessons and demonstrations will be given at 8:30 a.m. The event is free and open to kids under the age of 16. The event will be split into three age divisions: ages 6 and under, 7-10 and 11-15. All participants will receive a free goodie bag.
Prizes for each division include professional cast nets and rod and reel combos. A raffle will also be held.
Ron Taverna, manager of the Bait Box has been a part of the event for a number of years.
“I just love teaching kids to throw cast nets. The general imagination behind the whole program with rolling tennis balls down a cardboard chute and having them throw cast nets over them as if they were a school of fish is just ingenious. I wish I thought of it,” Taverna said.
The cast net rodeo is named after Esperanza Woodring, who was the island’s first commercial fisher woman.
“It’s to celebrate the heritage of Ralph Woodring’s mother,” Taverna said. “Cast netting was a huge part of life at that point, especially with the Woodring family.”
Food and drinks will be provided during the event.
“We’ll have hot dogs, soda, things like that,” Taverna said.
All proceeds from the event will go towards Coastal Keepers, formerly the Sanibel Captiva Chapter of START. Coastal Keeper’s mission is to promote and improve the future of marine resources and coastal heritage.
To register for the event, go to thebaitbox.com.