Mote Marine Laboratory scientists invited kids to discover the fun of sustainable fishing and learn how anglers can make a “reel” difference for marine environments at this year’s Snook Shindig Teach-A-Kid Fishing Clinic Saturday, Nov. 7.

During the Fishing Clinic, 130 kids ages 5 to 16 learned from Mote scientists, professional guides, experienced anglers and 55 Mote Volunteers at Mote Aquaculture Park (MAP) — Mote’s sustainable fish farm in eastern Sarasota County. Each registered child received a goody bag, a rod and reel and a tackle kit.

The event focused on catch-and-release practices, which helps preserve the species for future generations to enjoy. In some species, such as snook, populations are low because of overfishing, habitat loss and sporadic red tide events. Releasing the fish helps conserve the population of that species.

“The purpose of the Clinic was to get kids outside in nature and have fun, but to also teach them how to be ethical anglers,” said Dr. Nathan Brennan, Mote Staff Scientist. “Kids learned the importance of catch-and-release and how to hook and dehook a fish while posing the least amount of harm to the fish. This is important, because these kids represent the next generation of anglers and it will soon be up to them to keep Florida’s aquatic ecosystem strong.”

The event included educational stations focused on spin and fly rod casting; bait and tackle; ethical angling; environmental stewardship; sun and water safety; kayak fishing; fly tying; catch-and-release tactics; Gyotaku (Japanese art of fish printing); and on-the-dock fishing.

The Clinic also included a tour of MAP, where guests learned first-hand about sustainable fish farming for ocean conservation and innovative aquaculture systems for marine and freshwater fish, production of sea vegetables together with fish for local food markets (marine aquaponics), and much more. After a fun day of fishing and learning, guests enjoyed lunch sponsored by the Sarasota Sportsmen’s Association.

The Clinic is followed by the William R. Mote Memorial Snook Shindig Honoring Captain Scotty Moore, a research-based catch, sample and release tournament from Nov. 13 – Nov. 15 in the waters of Sarasota Bay.

Mote and FWC scientists have partnered on research studies designed to evaluate if stocking hatchery-reared snook can be an effective fishery management tool for replenishing snook stocks. Mote researchers document snook caught during the tournament to identify individual hatchery-reared fish they previously tagged and released, recovering vital data that can be used to adjust release protocols.

The tournament provides an opportunity for anglers of all ages and abilities to be “citizen scientists” and to help provide valuable information on tagged hatchery-reared snook released into Sarasota Bay.

“It was rewarding to see families come out and have a great time at the Fishing Clinic, while learning how Mote is developing innovative technologies to produce fish to restock depleted recreational stocks for a wide range of species including snook,” said Carole Neidig, Mote Staff Scientist. “I look forward to next weekend when the community will be working with researchers to provide hands-on real-time data to help us to learn more about our local snook populations.”

The 2015 Shindig Teach-A-Kid Fishing Clinic was made possible by Sarasota philanthropists Carol and Barney Barnett; Fish Florida; Sarasota Sportsmen’s Association; Mote Scientific Foundation; Mangrove Coast Flyfishers; Bark & Company Realty; Fish Brain; Economy Tackle & Dolphin Dive Paddlesports; and many other local and national business and individuals.

Carol and Barney have generously donated to Mote to help the independent, non-profit “home grown” marine research institution implement its Fisheries Conservation & Enhancement Initiative to protect and restore fisheries in Sarasota Bay. The Barnett’s have challenged the community to raise $3 million more for Mote’s Oceans of Opportunity Campaign (

Kids lean on a table covered with gear related to ethical angling, including a mounted Snook and life jackets. An older man in sun glasses and a baseball cap talks to the kids about the items while other people look on. They are outside, under a large oak tree draped with Spanish Moss. Mote staff member Sandra uses a model fish to demonstrate how a fish hook catches fish to a group of boys. In the background a man and boy fish in a pond.

Several boys and a Dad stand at a table containing information cards talking with several old men in baseball caps seated on the other side. They are outside in the grass next to a sign proclaiming the table the "Bait and Tackle" station.A young girl and and boy hold rubbery shrimp shaped fishing lures, examining them closely. An older man in a baseball cap and sunglasses assists them while another man assists another child out of frame. The booth is outside, surrounded by palmettos. Station '5A' - the Dock Fishing station - is crowded with men, women and children fishing off the sides of a wooden pier leading out to an observation platform on a large pond. The few people not fishing are sitting on benches.

Ronan, a young boy visits the Bait & Tackle station. He smiles as the booth staff member holds up a large hook and line.




Luke, a little boy with curly blond hair holds a paintbrush as he concentrates on painting a fish. Gyotaku, the traditional Japanese method of printing fish is a practice that dates back to the mid-1800s.

A young boy in a fishing hat intently threads a fishing line on a reel. He is helped by a Mote staff member and as more boys wait in line.

A little boy with curly blond hair watches intently as a Mote volunteer demonstrates how to tie a fly. The booth is strewn with fly parts and tools.





A girl has caught a small catfish. She stands on the wooden fishing platform holding the fishing pole. The catfish is still hanging from the line. A Mote volunteer stands behind her, helping with the pole.

A boy stands cross-legged at the edge of the fishing platform. A small catfish dangles from his reel.

A small boy in a T-rex t-shirt proudly holds up the small catfish he caught, still hanging from the line.

A young boy in a fishing hat proudly holds a line from which dangles a small catfish. A Mote volunteer stands close behind.

A kayak sits on the table at the Kayak Demonstration station. A boy sits in the kayak, holding the paddle strait across at chest level while a fishing pole sticks up out of the back. The Mote volunteer in a baseball cap, gestures as he stands by the kayak, addressing an unseen crowd. Behind them stretches the pond and fishing dock full of people. The pond is ringed by tall trees.