Turn off the weather channels for a minute. The National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA) has been in close contact with sources in Fort Meyers, Florida, and want to share some good news. The 2023 Annual Conference is a go – take that Hurricane Ian – and NPAA is joining the cause to rebuild the fishing industry in Southwest Florida.
“Our entire organization knows how catastrophic this storm has been to the fishing community,” said NPAA President Pat Neu. “Especially the guides, charter captains, and fishing businesses like marinas and tackle shops.”
To that point, the NPAA has created a fundraising campaign to support local relief efforts in Southwest Florida. NPAA will be lobbying its membership to contribute to the relief fund and to support fellow angling professionals. After all, the fishing community is tightknit. We’re all in this together.
If you’re concerned about the recreation opportunities following the hurricane, Neu says the fishing after 2017’s Hurricane Irma recovered quickly. In fact, if there’s any sliver-lining, the aftermath created new habitat that the fish quickly occupied.
“Don’t immediately cancel your fishing plans,” Neu says. “Now more than ever, Florida’s coastal communities need the tourism revenue. There will be plenty of places to stay very soon – coastal Florida is resilient. Guides and charter captains are incredibly resourceful. Trust that they’re already taking steps to assure they will be back on the water in the very near future.”
Fortunately, NPAA conference headquarters – Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport /Town Center – did not sustain any major structural damage and expects to reopen in the next few days once water and power are restored. However, many throughout Florida will be facing a long road to recovery.
The 2023 NPAA Conference will be held January 6 through 8, 2023. Member’s Only Registration begins at 7 a.m. (CST) on October 5 and continues through October 6. Open registration begins at 7 a.m (CST) on October 7.
Footnote: NPAA President Pat Neu owns a condominium in Everglades City, Florida. At the time of this writing, his homestead was under 3-feet of water.