The first 1st Annual SFC Forrest Robertson Fishing Tournament is in the books.
Hunting with Soldiers, a 501 c 3 non-profit, that has been around for 8 years just completed their 2nd bass fishing tournament at Lake Fork with a resounding success. Last years’ test led to this year’s improvements bringing together a whole bunch of veterans dealing with PTSD and other injuries for a weekend of fun and fishing at Lake Fork.
Assisted by local guides and members of the Lake Fork Anglers (LFA) the vets were paired up and then joined into two teams of a captain and a vet to make up the four men teams. Many of the captains were veterans of wars gone by as well.
While the emphasis was on just relaxing and enjoying a day on the water there was a contest and the three teams with the most weight won. The fishing was weighted so that the vets 8 best fish would count and the captains 2 best fish would count and the total weight was based on a 20 fish creel.
But then we have to remember it was July and the fishing has been really bad all month just by looking at the statics from the LFA tournaments held every Thursday. (Bass fisherman don’t call it bad, “we call it tough”.)
And like all of the LFA tournaments this event was a paper tournament. I mean if you have 95 degree water and the temps are in the 90’s there is no real reason to keep fish in a live well when you don’t have too. So, all of the anglers just measured their bass and wrote down the length and returned the fish to the lake. Later when they came in they read their lengths to the LFA president Terry Thompson who entered them into his computer which converted the fish into pounds.
But before we get to the results there are a bunch of people that need to be thanked for their efforts on making this happen. The Hunting with Soldiers group (HwS) led by field officer Jeff Bevill of Yantis who is the driving force behind the whole deal. Bring in the Wood County Sheriff and motorcycle “honor guards” to lead the vets from the Minnow Bucket to Lake Fork Lodge (Williams Creek). Gordon Melton the president of HwS for overseeing the project. VP Bob Pennington for his hands on work and inspirational talk at the Friday night meet and greet.
Many thanks to Tony Parker for housing all of the vets at the Minnow Bucket and to Tracy Hatton of Oak Ridge for hosting the tournament itself and providing the means necessary to make it all happen.
Sam Cotton, Lake Fork guide, with a broken boat and unable to fish brought the whole group to the Lake Fork Baptist Church for a great wrap up dinner and awards ceremony on Saturday evening. Everyone viewed a very inspirational movie about our veterans which included the story of SFC Forrest Robertson. And Mrs. Robertson and two daughters drove down from Kansas to help kick off the first tournament in his name here at Lake Fork.
The food and fellowship was very appreciated.
Thanks also to LFA members Ray Carter and Terry Thompson for providing their pontoon boats for some late night crappie fishing after the dinner concluded for the vets stilling wanting to do some more.
And the winners were all of the vets and those who had the privilege of being around them and getting to take them fishing.
But for the contest itself the first place team of John Mark Talley of Quitman and his vet Rodney Hughes, and Curt Blount of Yantis and his vet Mitch Freedman brought in 12.4 pounds and Mark also caught the lunker of 4.97.
Second place team of Roger Creason Alba with his vet David Lloyd, and Don Overstreet of Sulphur Springs and his vet Bret Critchfield caught a total of 8.06 anchored by a 2.13 lunker.
Third place went to Terry Allbritton of Yantis and his vet Trey Anderson and Dennis Bubinas of Emory and his vet Farron Fiddler, Jr with 7.84 with a 3.16 lunker.
Even though there were no prizes for lunkers Vet Kevin Weaver fishing with guide John Tanner of Alba should be noted for catching the nice 2.25 vet lunker.
Hunting with Soldiers actually does take vets hunting. If you know a vet that you feel could use some interaction with other vets and the veterans that run this fine organization contact Gordon Melton at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 806-346-7248.
In order to make all of this happen they count on the public to support their tax-exempt organization.
Lake Fork Anglers
Faze 4 Bass Anglers: Team Competition
Hard Core..Major League Fishing formatwww.bassfin.com/
Lake Fork Sportsman's Associationwww.lakeforksa.com/
Contact me to schedule the LFSA Live Release Boat for your Lake Fork tournaments.