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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
DATE/TIME:   Saturday 04JUL08 7:00am -2:00am
WEATHER:  Hi 91/ lo 75,  mostly sunny with scattered clouds.    
WINDS:  SSE 12 mph gusts up to 19
BAROMETER: Hi 30.13 Lo 29.87
WATER: (Temp:  77) The lower of half of the lake had the standard reservoir green stain to it.  Up river around and past the 36 Bridge was dirty with a cream coffee stained.
 
SUMMARY: First off a big thanks for all the men and women of our armed forces.   Secondly hats off to all of the members of the ABF forum that took their personal time and resources to take a soldier fishing (Booker, Gordon, Wyatt, Swimbait, fishhead, McBass, russellnitro, bassmanaustin, nitro27, basscat200, RG, Cotter, Travis Jones, Edm, bassfinder, JRoberts, Bill Guzman, and I'm sure a few more that i missed).  Across the board the sincere thanks expressed by the troops from the newest privates to the battle seasoned colonels was overwhelming.  They really got a lot out of such a simple gesture as a day of fishing with another countryman who cares about them.  We boaters all know that it was an honor and the least we could do for those who do so much for us.  I wish you all could be there to experience it.
 
So on to fishing.  My goal was to just have a good time and get my team mate hooked up with some fish.  I was paired up with Sgt. Daniel Fennewald, a 24 year old military policeman with 3 tours in Iraq.  He had some saltwater fishing experience and has recently just started to try out bass fishing.  We were in the 4th flight; boat 107 out of 180-something.  

>>>for some reason this forum limits the posts to 2000 characters.  TO BE CONTINUED IN A REPLY.  please read on<<<

part 1 of 3
 

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Re: Lake Belton 04OCT08 Report (Fishing For Freedom 2)

Lake Belton 04OCT08 Report (Fishing For Freedom) part 2 of 3 CONTINUED...

Started our day off with a run up to the 36 bridge and worked our way back to the lower end of the lake.   Overall fishing was slow.  Many of the teams at weigh-in reported having a tough bite or a dink fest.   We targeted main lake bluff walls and wind blown points with finesse plastics (mainly worms).  By day’s end, we managed to boat 4 keepers for 10.12lbs and had plenty of dinks mixed in.  Just couldn’t get fish #5 to top off our sack of fish.  Sgt Fennewald is a great angler and proved to be a quick study at the shakeyhead.   He broke his PB twice and his 2 fish were instrumental to our final sack of fish.

We finished in 8th place out of 180-something teams and split a nice $500 check.   Sgt Fennewald was stoked about breaking his PB but when he realized that we made it into a winning check he was speechless.  He said that he was feeling the happiness he felt when he was leaving Iraq to come home.  This truly was the highlight of my day.  What an incredibly satisfying moment.   I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a day on the water.  
 

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Re: Lake Belton 04OCT08 Report (Fishing For Freedom 2)

Lake Belton 04OCT08 Report (Fishing For Freedom 2) part 3 of 3 CONTINUED...

Here are some pictures of the event.  There is a picture of most of the members of the ABF forum that attended the opening ceremony and dinner.  It's on Jeff's camera so I'll post it when I get it from him. Maybe some of the other guys have their own photos to post as well.

Opening Ceremony, pre-tournament dinner; quite the production but I wouldn’t expect less for our troops.

Hanging at the hotel  

My army team mate, Sargeant Fennewald with a chucky bass.

Welcome to the show.  The weigh-in tent, definitely a top notch event

4 Largemouths for 10.21lbs.  A team effort with both of us catching 2 each.

8th place $500 check.  Not bad for a FREE tournament.
 

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Thanks Rude for the excellent report and congratulations to you and Sgt. Fennewald for your great finish in this event. Also thanks to all who participated and to all of our troops who are keeping us safe. Tight lines,
John
 

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Well, it was a good weekend. We fished some shallow water early and late in the day with no luck. Our keepers were caught around wind blown bluffs on shakey head also. We had 3 for a little over 5 lbs. Not one fish on cranks or T rig. My partner Keith caught three fish with one keeper before I boated a fish. I had a great time. Those guys are so humbling. He has spent 15 years serving our country with no complaints. And his patients, I am impressed. It made me think about all the times I have complained about nonsence. Thanks Keith and Fishing for Freedom, it's the least I could do.
 

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I got up at 3am for the drive to Belton and was beached at BLORA at about 6:00am.  Tried to call my partner, but no answer.  He called moments later telling me he was headed to the airport to try to catch a flight home.  His dad had gone to the hospital with symptoms of a heart attack.  I told him our thoughts and prayers were with him and his family.  I mentioned to one of the directors to add him to the pre- take off prayer.  

The good news is about 10:00am they determined that his dad was having a reaction to a new prescription and it wasn't a heart attack!  

I didn't want to hang around Belton with 180 boats fishing, so I trailered to Stillhouse and fished until noon.  I had a little over 17 pounds including one over 7.  

My partner calls again as I'm putting my boat up to see if I was still on Belton.  I mentioned Stillhouse to him and he wound up heading out there to fish from the shore for a while.  I invited him to fish our club tournament as a guest next weekend on Stillhouse and he informed me he'd be half way around the world by then.  I felt so bad that he didn't get his fishing trip before he left, but told him I'd take him fishing anywhere he'd like when he gets back next year.

God bless our troops!
 

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Awesome recap Rude! That is so cool you guys got a check. I really enjoyed this event- always do. It gets bigger and better every year.

The soldier I took out was a really good guy and a pretty good stick to boot! We only ended up with three keeps for a little over 5 pounds.....really tough day for keepers, but the little ones bit all day, so it was a good time for my new fishing buddy Travis Gallion.

Godspeed Travis, and thanks for your service! :)
 

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Glad you guys like the report.  It really was a good cause and a great time.  I look forward to doing again next year.

Here's what I remember of the winning weights.  Maybe some of the others guys can chime in.

1st)  5 fish / 16+ lbs / (new boat <16k>)
2nd) ?                ($2000)  
3rd) 5 fish / 12+ lbs / ($1000)
4th) ?               ($900)
5th) ?               ($800)
6th) ?               ($700)
7th) ? ($600)
8th) 4 fish / 10.21 lbs / ($500)
9th) 3 fish / 10.14 lbs / ($400)
10th) ?      ($300)
BB)  6+ lbs             ($1000 ? I think)

Additional awards
Biggest bass caught by a purple heart recipient  ($500)
Biggest bass caught by a sargeant or below ($500)
 

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Congratulations Rude! We certainly had beautiful weather for the tournament. Our day went much like everyone else’s. We only managed small keepers all day for about 3.5 pounds. I had the privilege of fishing with Colonel Theresa Gonzales. Fortunately the small fish were biting just about anything all day long and Colonel Gonzales was able to hook into a few. Hopefully those few little fish and a fun day spent on the water brought as much satisfaction to Colonel Gonzales as they did to me. Colonel Gonzales has spent the last 24 years serving for this county and it was great to be able to show her some appreciation by taking her fishing for the day.
 

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One other thing I might add besides the fun with the soldiers was the pre-tournament meeting. The food, speakers, and prizes were awesome. They even gave away a boat in the raffle! Not to mention getting to pick the mind of an all time great, Zell Rowland. What a weekend!
 

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Fisrt of all hats off to Cliff and Rick for putting together this event it was definately a class act!  :cool:.

Much appreciation goes out to those who participate with ABF that took their time to support the event and our troops.

I could not begin to describe the feeling and the energy that surrounded everyone during the event. All I can say it was awesome.  The soldier I was paired up with was on temp leave between tours to have surgery on his hand from an incident while on deployment.  He brought his wife and 2 little boys with him to the meeting Friday night.  His wife also was very appreciative for everyone who donated their time and a boat for our fellow service men and women.

Our fishing was a tad less than spectacular with 3 fish @ 8.11lbs.  Stuck 2 on a jig that were 3lbs back to back on the same rock pile.  Then managed another 2lber or a rig.  Thought we'd be onto something but we are fishingBelton  ;D.

To John Ford, infantry, I enjoyed our shared time on the water and hope this memory will last a lifetime.  God speed as  you head out in a couple weeks on your next deployment.  I wish you and your family the best!  Thanks for serving our country with honor!

Congrats to Rude and (For got his name but the owner of JRoberts first Bass Cat)- for cashing in!

I highly encourage EVERYONE to particiapate in next year's event- truly a great time.

kp


One last note- A big THANKS to Clinton from Academy for his charitable assistance allowing me to provide my soldier with an American Rodsmith Spinning rod equipted with a Shimano Reel and also to Lee at Sportsmans for the G Loomis shirts donation. Your generosity was greatly appreciated!!!
 

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Rude,
Great report! And congrats on placing!  I can't begin to describe how this event went beyong my expectations.  From the meeting on Friday night to the weigh-in, everything was first class. Cliff of Texas Boat World, Rick of Marine Outlet did a tremendous job.
 
I was paired up with John Lopez who is an E4 and a communications specialist.  He showed up with two spinning rods and knew how to use them.  We were one of the many teams that could not get a keeper no matter when we threw at them.  We caught fish all day, they were just dinks.  In all we caught between 15-20 fish all day with John catching at least half of them probably more than half.  We did get into some schoolies which was fun, they were just all short.  

Congrats to all of the check cashers, by the way my FOM partner Brian Burns and his soldier got 3rd place! Way to go Brian!

I am already looking forward to the event next year!   JR
 
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