Hunter Johnson is the vice president of the fishing club at the University of South Florida and was selected as one of the top five Costa ambassadors for the 2018 fall semester. Hunter did an excellent job getting students involved on his campus, conducting a shark tagging event, and forming a Coastal Conservation Association chapter at USF. Thanks for all your hard work, Hunter!
What is your major? Environmental Science and Policy
Expected graduation date: May 2020
Plans for after graduation:
Being in Army ROTC, I have a 4-year commitment after college. I plan to going into the Army Corp of Engineers where I plan to work on water resources management, hydroengineering, engineer diving, and habitat restoration/regulation. On the long-term side, I hope to one day join the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation.
How long have you been fly fishing?
I have recently picked up fly fishing to expand my fishing skills. I have proficiently been fly fishing for less than a year.
Can you describe the fishing scene in your area?
Fishing in Florida is quite diverse. We have great freshwater, inshore, and offshore fishing. Tampa bay is known for its plentiful saltwater flats that hold everything from snook, redfish, tarpon, and permit. The flats are easily accessible from all areas of the bay and can be easily fished by wading or a small skiff.
Most memorable fish you’ve caught on a fly rod?
Because I only recently picking up fly fishing, I do not have any spectacular catches under my belt. However, my most memorable catch on the fly rod was a jack crevalle because that was the only fish to ever pull all my slack line and that I had to palm the drag.
When was your club started, and when did you assume a leadership role?
Our club was started way before I came to the University of South Florida. We have 50 to 70-year-old professors and alumni who said they were apart of the fishing club when they attended USF. I was in my sophomore year when I became Vice President.
How many members are in your club?
How often do you meet, and what does a typical meeting look like?
We try to meet every other week. I try not to put too much of a commitment on our members because school should be their first priority. We have 4 types of meetings. Seminars: where we have guest-speakers come to give tips about fishing. Community Involvement: where we reach out to our community and try to make a positive impact. Tournaments: where send our anglers to compete in club exclusive, local, and collegiate level tournaments. And lastly getaways: here the club will take school funded trips to fish all across the state of Florida.
What are some conservation projects that your club has gotten involved with?
We have tagged 7 sharks for research under the NOAA Cooperative Shark Tagging Program, established first ever Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Chapter at USF, and hosted multiple beach and reef cleanups.
Thanks for all your hard work to promote conservation in Florida, Hunter!