Welcome to Insider Out Travel, a blog about LGBT travel written by LGBT tourism professionals. Travel the globe and gain insight into the tourism industry (with a gay twist), brought to you by the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Everglades Eco-Adventure, Girl Style

by Sheryl Kay

Ladies, grab your rods and tackle….its time to go fishing!

Yes, we did say ladies, and we did say fishing.

Island Girls Excursions is one of the Everglades best kept secrets. Started two years ago by partners Captain Mary and Captain Kim, the company specializes in back country fishing charters planned especially for women, in and around the 10,000 Islands (just outside of Naples in South Florida, off Highway 41). Half day and full day packages are available, and the company also offers special excursions including airboat tours, premium shelling, land tours, and sunset cruises, all of which can be combined with the fishing (http://www.islandgirlsexcursions.com/).

And don’t let pretty faces fool you. Both women have extensive boating and fishing backgrounds. Kim is licensed to pilot a boat up to 25 tons with no miles and/or passenger restrictions, while Mary is licensed to take 6 passengers up to 100 miles offshore.

We had a full day adventure with the duo, all along the way, Captain Kim describing the scenery with astounding detail. From egrets, to herons, to kingfishers, to terns, Kim truly knows it all.

As for the fishing, it could not have been easier, or more bountiful! The tackle was all set up for us, bait on hooks (all provided by Island Girls), and instruction was given at every turn. Their secret fishing spots yielded so many snapper that we truly lost count. We also pulled up jack crevalles, lady fish, and one super nice mackerel. At one spot there were so many bait fish, they literally jumped into the boat (God’s honest truth).

Lunch was at a “secret” beach hideaway, a beautiful strip of white sugar sand, quiet and secluded, where we enjoyed sandwiches, a salad, and fresh fruit, also all provided by Island Girls. Then more casting, jigging, and reeling them in.

Most spectacular catch of the day—a 25 inch sea trout, the largest of its kind the captains had ever seen (No fish story either! See the photos!).

So what makes Island Girls Excursions especially suited for women?

For starters the pair use light tackle making it easy to handle. They also target a wide variety of fish, and offer fishing lessons right on board for the novice and more advanced, and they do it in a very non-threatening way.

“Women find fishing with men to be a bit intimidating,” said Captain Mary. “For most women, fishing is more about the experience which may include enjoyment of outdoor serenity, wildlife viewing, catching a wide variety of fish and other more intrinsic rewards that come from a memorable experience on the water.”

After an incredible voyage that included seeing an American Bald Eagle, we crashed at the Port of the Islands Resort (right where the girls will pick you up). Nice comfortable accommodations with breakfast included (http://www.poiresort.com/). Don’t miss dinner at the Bambusa Bar and Grill (http://www.bambusaonline.com/). Enjoy the terrific LGBT atmosphere and have the Bambusa Salad. You’ll have plenty of fish to cook when you get home!

Sheryl Kay is a freelance print and photo journalist, and a contributing editor at CURVE Magazine.

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