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Earlier this year I was approached about a leadership role in the Southeast Texas Chapter of Heroes The Water. After thinking it over for a few days I decided I needed to get on board and share my passion for kayak fishing with our nations Veterans. This past weekend was my first experience with this group and even though we didn’t find a lot of fish, the weekend was fantastic. It was amazing to watch the healing taking place right before my eyes. The guys shared their stories, gave each other advise and we all became new friends by the end of the weekend.

Friday morning we went for a short paddle to pre-fish for the tournament and get everyone comfortable with their gear. For some of them it was their first time in a Kayak. The wind picked up and a few thunderstorms we’re building not too far away. After a quick glance at the radar we decided to call it a day and head back in. Once back at the house we fired up the Orion cooker and smoked a pork butt roast that would later be turned into pulled pork tacos.

Saturday morning we launched from the same spot as the day before with clear skies and a little more wind. We split up a bit and started searching for signs of redfish. I paddled to a small lake where I had seen a few fish the day before but once again they were not interested in my offerings. I paddled around to check on everyone and had similar reports from the rest of the crew. I did notice how comfortable everyone looked paddling and could tell they were immersed in their environment. That’s my favorite part of kayak fishing. The wind really picked up and it was a tough paddle back to the truck but we all made it to the launch and discovered Eric had caught his first fish from a kayak. It was a nice flounder. We loaded up and headed back to the house to get cleaned up before heading to the weigh in. We arrived at the weigh in early and had lunch while the tournament director and his crew were getting everything set up. After lunch we walked over to the scales and watched the other anglers weigh in their fish and share stories of their day. We took a group photo, watched the awards, and then headed back to the house to fire up the grill. We enjoyed grilled fish and venison for dinner and shared stories well into the night.

Congrats to my buddies Jason, Aaron and Sonny who took 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Aaron and Sonny both paddle Jackson Cuda’s and always seem to be on the fish. I’d also like to thank Joe Winston for the photo of Eric paddling my Cuda 14.