ARMYBASSANGLERS & COALITION PARTICIPATE IN FISHING FOR FREEDOM – HOOAH!
October 14-15. Over 289 teams took to the low waters of Lake Belton making it the largest tournament of its kind—specifically Soldier, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. Boaters from all over the country volunteered their time, boats, and fishing equipment to take Service Members from the Ft Hood area fishing in a no entrance fee tournament. The ArmyBassAnglers prostaff and Coalition members were there in force to do their part and certainly lived up to the SUPPORT.DEFEND.FISH. mission statement they have become famous for.
The weekend began with registration and a banquet on Friday night. Skeeter Elite Pro, Alton Jones, was the key note speaker and motivated everyone with his discussion about “preparation, fishing where the fish are, and fishing for the next fish.” He also wowed the crowd with some pitching and casting demonstrations that illustrated making every cast count.
Several Prostaff & Coalition members took Soldiers fishing with varied success. The bottom line was that it was tough for the entire field as demonstrated by the fact that it only took five pounds to win a check. Chuck Guthrie and his partner, Staff Sergeant (Retired) Eric Jackson, Carolina rigged Lake Fork Trophy Lures Lizards for 5.10 pounds and a 21st place finish and received a check for their efforts. Rodney Thompson fished with Larry Clark and caught several fish, but was only able to make one stretch to the legal 14 inches. Rodney spent the day teaching Larry new fishing techniques, to include the one that Rodney is so well known for, the Shaky Head. The final fish of the day had them both extremely excited as Larry fought what was proving to be the potential big bass winner. However, when they finally netted it, they laughed as they unhooked a five pound carp. “It still got the adrenaline pumping for me and my partner,” Rodney commented. Dale Hughes and his partner spent the day flipping Lake Fork “flippers” around trees in 10 foot of water and successfully weighed in two fish for almost four pounds, just a few places out of the money. Chad nelson and Staff Sergeant Kenny Smith also had a blast even though they didn’t bring any Belton bullets to the scales. Kenny also learned several new techniques that included drop shotting, which is often a great way to catch stingy fish. His excitement came when he landed a four pound “Gasper Goo.” Kenny said shortly after he boated the fish, “Dang, if that would have been a bass, we would have won the big fish for sure on this lake.” Jarod Shelton was paired with Staff Sergeant Luke Borchers, who like Jarod is originally from Missouri. They had a great time on the lake despite not catching any keepers. “The fish kept short striking, so I guess we needed to use more Fisherman’s Soap,” Jarod joked at the end of the day. Cody Roberson was teamed up with Christopher West and they spent their day throwing Talapi colored Fury Lures crankbaits. They had one that was a potential candidate for the smallest legal fish and a $500 prize, but they chose not to take the chance of it not measuring 14 inches. All in all, they too had a great day on the water.
It is really not the fish catching and being competitive that makes this event so special. Over 289 teams of Service Members from the Ft Hood area came to realize that the community truly appreciates the sacrifices they make in carrying out their military duties. Cliff Brown, Texas Boat World, and Rick Smith, Marine Outlet, as well as everyone from the Central Texas Marine Association and dozens of volunteers dedicated many weeks to make this event a show of support to the Soldiers and their families. ArmyBassAnglers and it’s sponsors (Lake Fork, Fisherman’s Soap, Bass Pooke, Agg Haulers, Oakley, Tuff Skinz, Save Phace, Dobyns Rods, Fury Lures, Crankbait Cover-ups, Realty Executives, Zero Tolerance, Air Sports Watch, Biobor EB, JaRod Jigs, Victory Tackle, Tightlines, Dermatone and many more) donated thousands of dollars of product specifically to be given away. Cody Roberson, president and founder of the ArmyBassAnglers, said this is one of the most important events the team supports throughout the year. As a matter of fact, the Soldiers who were lucky enough to fish with the prostaff received an arm load of products from the ArmyBassAnglers’ sponsors and the team would like to convey a huge amount of appreciation to their sponsors for making those Soldiers feel extra special.
For more information on this and other events, go to www.ArmyBasAnglers.com.