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7th Annual John A. Peters Jr. Tarpon Tournament

It's no secret that fishing tournaments can become quite costly. Everything from entry fees, additional fees for the Calcutta, fuel for travel, fuel for multiple scouting trips for the boat, tackle, water, ice, Gatorade and snacks for the boat and then anything that breaks along the way. You can imagine how thankful we were to receive a phone call from the Tournament Director of the 7th Annual John A. Peters Jr. Tarpon Tournament, saying that our entry into the tournament was covered by an anonymous donor.

A major part of the service we provide is using the competitive nature of our veterans to take their thoughts off of any disabilities they may have or emotions they may be dealing with. We give our best effort to get them on the podium, although I must admit in this case, having never fished for Tarpon, I was out of my element. Nonetheless, we had a great day on calm seas.

This weekend, I had Jason and Ernie on board. Both are veterans that have served in Iraq. Both were excited just to be on board as we started our day quite early. It was my first time meeting Ernie as we met at the ramp. His day started with ripping his pants just as he was getting ready to meet with us. Not to be discouraged, he took his mind off of the 8 inch rip and went about helping prepare to launch the boat. Later in the morning I watched as he took a length of braid that Jason offered from his fishing line, and straightened a light hook to form a needle. Within 15 minutes, his pants were stitched and he was ready to try and catch some tarpon. With a grin on his face he said, "See what the Army teaches you!"

Jason put us in awe of his skills with a cast net. My skills in that department are not what they need to be for someone pursuing a Captain's License. I discovered part of this may be due to the type of net I am using, but for the most part, it's a lack of experience on my part. Jason brought along his custom made Tim Wade Cast Net purchased from Black Dog Bait and Tackle out of Melbourne Beach, Florida. This was a fast sinking net that did not disappoint as he hauled in enough Menhaden to fill the bait well in one cast.

We made the trip out of Skidaway and headed south in search of the Silver King. Our gear was primarily Penn Reels spooled with 50 pound braid and varying leaders that were rigged with either a float, free swimming or for the bottom. This is the longest run that I have made in the boat as we went to the south end of Sapelo Island. Although the Tarpon were nowhere to be found, we discovered a good quantity of hungry sharks. The first being a 5 foot blacktip that was working hard to show me who was in charge. A few sharks and a stingray later, we decided it was tim