The waters of Martin County are rich with numerous opportunities to enjoy world-class fishing. However, in a sport dominated by men, it should come as no surprise that some of the people who were most influential on promoting fishing in Martin County were lady anglers.
These lady anglers were not content with fishing in the background of their husbands or boyfriends. Rather, these women – and tens of thousands just like them – are the kind who enjoy rising before dawn. They love the smell of the salt air as their boat heads towards the Atlantic Ocean. They can’t wait to feel that tug on their end of the line and the excitement of seeing what their skill brings from the water.
Through their fishing feats, these women have helped to put Martin County on the map as a top fishing destination.
Frances Langford. Frances Langford was a Florida girl born in Lakeland, but who was best known as a singer and actress. She settled down in Martin County in the 1940s and became one of the area’s biggest benefactors before her death in 2005 at age 92. Langford loved fishing and boating, and was married for 31 years to Ralph Evinrude whose family is credited with inventing the outboard motor. Langford enjoyed catching many fish and had many of her most memorable mounted, including a blue marlin and giant bluefin tuna. Her collection of fish she caught is on display at the Florida Oceanographic Society Coastal Center in Stuart. She also entertained many of her famous friends at her restaurant, Frances Langford’s Outrigger, located in Jensen Beach.
Jan Fogt. For four decades, Jan Fogt, under her signature “Cap’n Jan,” entertained and informed outdoors readers with her award-winning fishing columns in The Stuart News daily newspaper. She also is well-known through her voluminous work appearing in nationally-circulated magazines such as Sport Fishing, Saltwater Sportsman and Marlin. Fogt is a gifted storyteller and an expert angler who has landed scores of species of remarkable catches from all over Florida, the United States and beyond.
Captain Marcia Foosaner. One of Martin County’s most respected and skilled inshore fishing guides for the past 30 years has been Marcia Foosaner. The Miami transplant was best known for her patient ways with anglers and her ability to guide trophy seekers to sight-fished catches of 30-pound class snook, 20-pound redfish, 10-pound spotted seatrout and pompano for dinner. Foosaner is highly skilled with fly rod and conventional tackle. She has been featured in several books about fishing the Indian River Lagoon as well as a book about Florida’s 50 most remarkable lady anglers.
Suzan Sellian. One of the most accomplished offshore anglers who has called Martin County home for 30 years is Suzan Sellian. For many years, Sellian and husband, Ed, fished the Stuart Sailfish Club’s Light Tackle Sailfish Tournament, one of the longest-running sporting events on the Treasure Coast, and won it more than once. In 1997, during one of the most incredible weeks of Florida sailfish tournament history, the Sellians caught 33 to win the tournament. The Sellians also targeted giant wahoo in the Bahamas in the 1990s. Sellian set several International Game Fish Association (IGFA) line class records at the time for wahoo, most of which have been beaten over the years. She still holds the 130-pound test line class record wahoo set in 1996 and weighing 113 pounds. Another fishing feat Sellian was part of occurred in the late 1990s when the Sellians caught and released 1,000 billfish in 30 days from their boat NuCO2.
Lorraine Francis. Plenty of anglers receive their first fishing memories by being taught by their father or grandfather. Lorraine Francis is fortunate enough to be able to share her fishing expertise with her great-granddaughter. Francis is a competitive member of one of the world’s oldest fishing organizations designed for women – the International Women’s Fishing Association. Francis loves fishing for sailfish, kingfish, pompano, bonefish and tarpon, and is showing her family’s youngest generation how it’s done on a weekly basis.
If you’re a man who thinks himself a pretty good angler, just know, in these parts, you’ve got some good competition from excellent lady anglers.