Fishing club President Abbie Israel holds a net full of fish he is about to release in Valencia Lakes.

The Valencia Lakes Little Manatee Fishing Club, based out of the Valencia Lakes home community, will hold the Third Annual Valencia Lakes Little Manatee Home and Outdoor Exposition on Saturday, January 21, 2012. The proceeds of the expo will go towards various environmental efforts, charitable causes, children’s fishing clubs and more.

“The fishing club is made up of people 55 and older from around the community,” said club president Abbie Israel. “We decided to do something like this so we could help environmentally and in other ways.”

Last year, the expo had more than 50 vendors represented. The Valencia Lakes social hall turns into an area for all types of vendors to display products and services. Visitors will see vendors from almost every area of life. Everything from home improvement, golf, fishing, food services, and more will be represented by vendors at the expo. This year, some of the biggest corporate sponsors will be Walmart, Walgreens, Costco, Sam’s Club and many more. This year there are plans for up to 68 vendors running the whole gambit of services.

At last year’s expo, about $10,000 was raised for projects the club had planned. The main project from last year’s proceeds went to a fish stocking effort in local lakes and ponds. The club contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and arranged for 30,000 bluegills and sunfish to be released in various water sources in the area. This stocking was done to promote the future of fishing and to help build a stronger habitat for fish in these water sources.

“These smaller fish will be released now and when they have settle in we will then try to add some largemouth bass to the water,” said Israel.

These efforts show the environmental mind of the club and how they are determined to make the area a better place for anglers.

“We are a club to serve anglers needs and the community’s needs,” said Israel.

Nearly 3,000 people attended last year’s expo and this year the club is expecting more. There will 40 free raffles prizes, $2,000 in cash prizes, and a plasma television given away to some lucky attendees of the expo.

The Valencia Lakes Little Manatee Fishing Club has been around for four years, and in that time they have given back to the community and the environment. The club continues to grow and continues have fun.

The expo will be held at the Valencia Lakes Clubhouse on Saturday, January 21, 2012. It will be opened to the public. Valencia Lakes is located off U.S. Hwy. 301, just north of S.R. 674.

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