The 7th annual Reel in the Sunshine Fishing Expo raised $2,504 to support Captains for Clean Water (CFCW) and its mission to restore and protect aquatic ecosystems for the use and enjoyment of all.

The event came just one day after Sunshine Ace Hardware President Michael Wynn presented Captains for Clean Water with a $25,000 corporate donation to help the nonprofit continue fulfilling its mission.

Held Feb. 4 at Sunshine Ace Hardware in Bonita Springs, Reel in the Sunshine was geared toward recreational and novice anglers, and featured vendor-led product demonstrations, hot-off-the-grill BBQ samples prepared by Sunshine Ace’s grill masters, numerous giveaways and exclusive discounts on fishing gear and apparel. The event also featured keynote discussions led by inshore/nearshore fishing expert Capt. Chris Argiro, owner of Sea Reaper Fishing Charter, and show-pitch jigging expert Benny Ortiz, who is sponsored by Shimano and AFTCO.

Reel in the Sunshine included a charity lunch fundraiser, raffle and hat sales to support Captains for Clean Water.

“As a seventh-generation Floridian, my family is not a stranger to hurricanes and the devastating impact they can have,” Wynn said. “After Hurricane Ian, we saw how so many of the captains we serve as customers had their livelihood impacted as they tried to recover. We are proud to have dedicated a percent of the sales from our fishing and tackle business from the last quarter of 2022 to support CFCW’s Relief fund to help struggling captains get back on their feet.”

CFCW, a Fort Myers-based nonprofit that advocates to restore Florida’s water resources, launched an Emergency Disaster Relief Fund after Ian by employing impacted fishing guides for services that benefit the community’s recovery, including waterway cleanups, fishing charters for Hurricane Ian first responders and research trips with science partners.

“Hurricane relief isn’t what our organization was created to do, but since this directly impacts the people that fight with us for clean water, it’s our turn to fight for them,” said Capt. Daniel Andrews, executive director of Captains for Clean Water. “This relief fund allows us to help impacted fishing guides help our communities heal. We’ve had an outpouring of donations from brands nationwide and local businesses like Sunshine Ace Hardware that have been able to plug into this program and directly support local jobs, relief and clean-up in the ongoing wake of this disaster.”