Fishing for Kids hooks new fundraising high

A group of children hold fish during the annual Fishing for Kids tournament benefiting UF Health Shands Children's Hospital.

Seventy-three boats filled with friendly fishers waded through Sea Hag Marina in Steinhatchee, Fla., this past April to support UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital.

The 18th annual Fishing for Kids saltwater trout tournament brought supporters together for a Friday night low country boil to kick off the weekend. Saturday morning featured the annual fishing tournament complete with a fish fry and prizes for tournament winners. While the weather started out less than ideal, nothing stopped this year’s anglers from having fun while raising vital funds for UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. In the end, Fishing for Kids raised $28,876.67 – a new fundraising record for the event.

“It’s a way to give back to our patients in need,” said John Willingham, UF Health’s director of maintenance and a long-time Fishing for Kids volunteer. “I’m very proud to be a part of our team. When you see the smiles on the kids’ faces, that’s enough for us.”

Every dollar benefits UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital and its most critical program needs, including patient-centered care and innovative pediatric research.

“We know this event has a positive impact on our patients,” Willingham continued. “Because of the doctors and health care staff, we recognize miracles happen here every day.”   

Event results:


1st Place Trout Stringer – 10.84lbs, Andy Phillips & John Hinsen

2nd Place Trout Stringer – 10.55lbs, Robbie Emmons & Bradley Adams

3rd Place Trout Stringer – 10.16lbs, David Hedrick & Bradley Adams

4th Place Trout Stringer – 10.00lbs, Rance & Darrin Cowart

Largest Single Trout – 5.30lbs, Andy Phillips & John Hinsen


Largest Legal Redfish – 6.98lbs, Collin English & Clay Rowe

Most Spots on a Redfish – 8 spots, Mark Brady & Gary Miller Jr.

Kids Category:

1st Place Youth – 2.18lbs, Clay

2nd Place Youth – 1.99lbs, Rhett

3rd Place Youth – 1.94lbs, Connor

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the tournament and fish fry! We appreciate your support toward life-saving medical equipment, research and other services for our pediatric patients.