Sanibel FlyFishers to host Annual Fly Fishing Film Tour
An island event centered around fishing will help support college scholarships and water quality.
The Sanibel FlyFishers will host its 2nd Annual Fly Fishing Film Tour on Feb. 25 at The Community House on Sanibel, with the doors opening at 5:30 p.m. It will feature the premiere of a collection of short films about fly fishing around the world, along with a meal, silent auction and raffles, and more.
Proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward the Sanibel FlyFishers/Florida Gulf Coast University’s Water School Scholarship Fund – a new initiative for the club – and Captains for Clean Water.
Treasurer Thomas Cunningham explained that the Sanibel FlyFishers was founded in 2001 and in recent years the club has been looking to increase its engagement and conservation activities locally. He noted that the recent red tide event was a “huge wake-up call” for the club and the community.
“It’s going to a long concerted engagement to solve the problem, understand it and prevent an event like that again,” he said, adding that it affected not just the fishing industry but tourism and more.
When the club learned about the creation of the Water School, it wanted to get involved.
“We’ve launched a scholarship fund from the Sanibel FlyFishers, together with the Water School, to give tuition to an upperclassman or graduate at the school,” Cunningham said.
He added that a major contributor recently came forward and offered to help the club fund an endowment for scholarships, with some other entities and FGCU, which will be announced soon.
“It’ll fund as many scholarships as it grows,” Cunningham said.
As for the Fly Fishing Film Tour, the approximately two-hour film will play at about 7 p.m.
“It’s a collection of nine short films, put together by an organization,” he said. “They solicit high-quality nature films, primarily about fly fishing destinations – from all over the world.”
The film comes in two parts with an intermission.
“It’s shown all over the country,” Cunningham said, adding that there are four or five locations in Florida that host showings of the annual film tour. “This is the only one in Southwest Florida.”
Prior to the film, attendees can take part in a silent auction and raffles for prizes.
“We have over $10,000 worth of prizes available,” he said.
The silent auction will feature some original artwork, including a piece by Andre Nieuwenhuizen, bonefish wood carving by John Van Duyne and framed ghost orchid print by Clyde Butcher, along with guided fishing trips with local guides, Winston fly rod and an educational boat tour for six people.
Cunningham noted that there were about 18 items in total as of Jan. 13.
“There may be a few more coming,” he said.
Bidding will close at the end of intermission.
As for the raffles, people will have a shot at a couple dozen goodies to take home.
“We have fishing gear, fly rods and reels. We have a boat rental from Jensen’s Marina. We have a crystal mug from Lily & Co. We have fly casting lessons,” Cunningham said. “We have a tour from the Tarpon Bay Explorers and a gift certificate. We have gift certificates from most island restaurants.”
“We have a sunset dolphin cruise for two,” he added.
Raffle tickets will be available for $5 each or 21 tickets for $20.
“We’ll draw those at the end of the evening,” Cunningham said.
Dr. Bruce Neill, co-founder of the Sanibel Sea School, will serve as the master of ceremonies. In addition, representatives from FGCU will be present and the club will award its first-ever scholarship.
Event tickets are $30 and include a meal selection, catered by Bailey’s, and soft drink.
“There’ll be a selection of sandwiches, including a vegetarian choice, with sides,” he said.
Beer and wine will be available for purchase for $5.
People are encouraged to get their tickets.
“It’s a new cause and it’s so important to the long-term health of Sanibel and the water of Southwest Florida,” Cunningham said. “And, it’s a whole new set of films (in the Fly Fishing Film Tour).”
To purchase tickets, visit online at flyfilmtour.com. Tickets are also available on Sanibel at: Norm Zeigler’s Fly Shop, at 2242 Periwinkle Way, Unit 1; Whitney’s Bait & Tackle, at 1554 Periwinkle Way; Bailey’s General Store, at 2477 Periwinkle Way; or Adventures in Paradise, at 2019 Periwinkle Way.
For more information about the event, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Community House is at 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.