Get ready to get salty! The only Florida Keys spearfishing tournament is just around the summer bend with the 7th Annual That’s What She Shot Spearfishing (TWSS) Tournament, June 22-24, 2018. The event invites women, men, and juniors to participate and non-fishing friends to party along dockside to help raise funds for Womankind, a Key West nonprofit medical center that provides the community with affordable primary care and high-quality family planning, with special subsidized support programs for those that need it.
Founded in 2012 by Key West born and raised Lea Moeller after returned from her university studies and realized that the Keys were void of spearfishing tournaments, TWSS’s “humble” beginnings have since grown to become nationally-recognized in the industry.
Q: What makes TWSS stand out from other spearfishing tournaments?
LM: A few things. Fishing tournaments can be exclusionary by nature, either by the way they are structured or the culture they perpetuate. TWSS evens the playing field, welcoming women to enter, competing in their own division, and encouraging them to participate, no matter their experience. And to keep the categories simple and sustainable, we’ve created an aggregate scoring system that doesn't guarantee a win to the largest fish. We have had a different first place winner almost every year with some being first time participants! These intentions, paired with the goal to raise money for Womankind Inc., has brought in support from across the nation as well as local interest.
Q: Do you spearfish?
LM: I do but I'm pretty terrible, hence, why I host the event. We were really lucky growing up. My dad took us fishing whenever he had the chance, and a family friend (all hail Betty Shapiro) taught us how to spearfish in middle school. She is still my sister Jenna’s favorite diving buddy and one of the inspirations for this event.
Q: What’s the biggest fish ever caught?
LM: We have had some impressive fish brought in. Groupers, Cuberas and Amber Jacks tipping the scales, weighing over 60lbs. We have also removed over 700 lionfish from our waters with a bonus category just for the species. We have received grant funding from FWC for our effort.
Q: What motivated you to join Womankind’s board of directors?
LM: I have always had what you could call a "social justice streak" and believe in the Womankind mission. Every city needs a clinic like Womankind, a safe place providing affordable health care for women and families. I am honored to be on the board and hope to see Womankind continue to grow and support our island community.
Q: Anything else?
LM: I would like to mention that in 2017 we had the most female entries to date—over 25 individual ladies! That moved me and really made me feel like I had reached one of my goals with this event.
TWSS kicks off on Friday, June 22 at 7pm, with a mandatory captain’s meeting at the new weigh-in station at 6840 Front Street, Stock Island (the dock property between the old Fishbusterz and Hogfish Bar & Grille). The Sunday 2-5pm weigh-in welcomes the public to party right along with participants, with all proceeds to benefit Womankind. Live music, drinks by Florida Keys Brewery, food trucks, and a variety of vendors will be featured, as will a focus on sustainability and our environmental impact—BYO glass/mug/cup and skip single-use plastic for the day.
Registration forms can be found at thatswhatsheshot.com; the $75 registration fee can be paid prior to the captain’s meeting on June 22. There will be a $10 discount for students and military. Sponsored in part by Saltwater Angler, Fishbusterz, KAP Spearguns, Hatch Spearguns, Divers Direct, Koah, Neritic, FSF, Red Tide Spearfishing, Hypoxia, Seadek, Benthic, Salt Life, Florida Keys Brewery, the Womankind board of directors, and Keys Weekly.