This weekend I had the opportunity to spend some time with a local veteran that lost his right leg while serving in Iraq. As much as I would like to say the bite was on fire, we really had to work to get the fish in the cooler. However, I saw an instant change in the level of excitement when Jay hooked onto a Triple Tail along the edge of the grassy marsh that would make a trophy fisherman proud. As he fought the fish and worked it around the Power Poles and the motor, it began stripping out line like it had somewhere to go. Of course, this author was busy fumbling with a GoPro camera that was donated by one of our local veterans in an effort to record the event for posterity. As Jay worked the drag and got the fish heading back toward the boat, I grabbed the net for the assist. "He's not ready for the net yet!" was the last thing I heard before a grown man was brought to his knees as the beast spit the hook. As Jay began to beat his fists against the deck of the boat, I was waiting to see if the emotion would put him into a fit of tears. I hate to see a grown man cry. Nonetheless, he prevailed and stood intent on having another go at landing his first Triple Tail. As our time together was drawing to a close, we left knowing that a Triple Tail would have to wait until another day. We did manage to catch a few trout, flounder and the inevitable Bonnet Head shark, but more importantly, we had an opportunity to share with each other and begin a bond that I hope will result in more trips together. Fishing has the ability to provide a level of excitement, adrenaline and camaraderie typical of what is found in the military. We become brothers supporting brothers, sharing our fears and our follies while experiencing the joy that is found only on the water. If you know of a veteran that is experiencing difficulties, have them give us a call. We can provide guidance to various resources while doing our part to provide a recreational outlet. All conversations are confidential and immediate family members are welcome to participate.
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