Seventy-four soldiers packed their tackle boxes Saturday afternoon for a full day of fishing out of Fort McAllister Marina at the third annual Wounded Warrior Fishing Rodeo.
Though a few of the wounded veterans and active-duty soldiers had plenty of experience on the water, most were casting their lines for the first time.
“If a soldier has never offshore fished, we try to help them along. We like to accommodate each soldier with at least one experienced crew member,” said Rhonda Gordon, chairperson and third-year president of the Fort McAllister Sport Fishing Association that sponsors the event. “Some have fished but some haven’t, so if they do have an injury we don’t want overcrowd the boat.”
The soldiers and boat captains left the marina at about 6 a.m. that morning in the hopes of bringing home the biggest catch in one of seven categories: trout, sheepshead, redfish, flounder, whiting, offshore and shark. Rough seas prevented many soldiers from reeling in the big catches in the offshore division, but the trying conditions weren’t enough to prevent them from having a good time.
Lee Flowers, a newly retired sergeant, was competing for the third time. He said he loves to fish, but the camaraderie is what keeps him coming back for more.
“It’s fun to get out with someone who, even though we come from two walks of life, can still get on the boat and fish. You can’t beat that,” Flowers said.
Read full story in the Oct. 2 issue of the Bryan County News.