Captains needed to take kids, mentors fishing

Wanted: boat captains and their craft who can spare an upcoming Saturday to take a group of excited kids and their adult mentors fishing.

All boats, from a 19-foot flat boat to a 40-foot yacht, are welcome to participate in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County’s 38th Annual Fishing Tournament, Saturday June 3 at Bahia Mar Yachting Center. Currently about 25 captains, who supply water, soda, bait, rods and reels, have volunteered for the event.

“If I have to say one thing about our tournament, it is that I think the captains are the key to the tournament’s success, and we are very fortunate that we can rely on them every year to come out and fish with our kids,” said Laura Pujols, marketing director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County.

“Some of them have shown great commitment to us by participating over the last 37 years,” she said.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward is the local chapter of the national, volunteer-based child mentorship program, which matches kids, often from single parent families and ranging in age from 6 to 18, with adult volunteer mentors. Together the “big” and “little” as they are called in the program, spend time together creating a bond. About 100 children in the local agency will participate in the tournament.

Trophies will be awarded to those who catch the biggest, smallest and the most fish.

“It’s really cool because many of the kids in our program have never been fishing or even on a boat, so the tournament is a great opportunity for them to create a memorable experience with their big brother or their big sister,” Pujols said. “It is our agency longest running event.”

Yacht broker John Weller, who’s worked in the industry 41 years, started the tournament 38 years ago.

“‘I wanted to do something for the kids but I didn’t want to be a big brother because my time is not my own,” he said. “I don’t want to make appointments with kids to do something and then have to cancel because I have to show boats. That’s why I started the fishing tournament because I figure I could do something for the kids and Big Brothers,” Weller said.

“It’s always fun for the kids. It’s fun to see a smile on the kids’ faces,” he said.

Up close What: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County 38th Annual Fishing Tournament. When and where: Saturday, June 3, at Bahia Mar Yachting Center, 801 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Registration begins at 8 a.m. with fishing taking place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., including a 1 p.m. pizza party and awards ceremony. For more information on the event and to register to be a captain, contact Ofelia DeLuca before May 30 at or call 954-870-6390. There is no registration fee.