We were fortunate enough this year to be asked to participate in the effort to give back to our soldiers who have been injured, and proudly said yes to the opportunity to take a few out for an outstanding day of deep sea fishing on the Emerald Spirit. Our day started like all the others; get down to the boat early and catch live bait, make sure all of the tackle was ready as well as the boat. The Crew is ready all the time, especially today because they know how important this is to everyone involved. They also know I was going to go to some of my very best holes in the Gulf.
We had a couple of sponsors pay for the Wounded Warrior Project to bring these guys out with us today. It is this kind of dedication as well as the dedication of our troops that really got to me so before we ever left the dock in Orange Beach I gathered everybody in the cabin for our safety meeting and proceeded to share with them my plans for the day. I explained how we normally fish and how I wanted to fish today, which is out of our norm somewhat. I call it “Hero or Zero” fishing. We basically do what you never do and that is go to your poor holes or ones that just don’t have much on them. Then we use the biggest bait you’ve ever seen, so big it would choke your average monster fish. I know, sounds crazy, Huh?
The way I see it, you will probably bomb out and not get a bite at all, BUT IF YOU DO! OH YEAH! Well we didn’t do too well in the Hero or Zero department so we just went to some of my 5 year old virgin fishing holes where the 25 pounders swim around on top and bite like a bass hitting a June bug! We didn’t keep anything less that around 20 pounds or so, and the water was real muddy. We did put out the drift line and finally got a bite, Wow, a 53 pound Wahoo. We also caught an 8 foot Bull Shark and everyone got to pull on him a while. Once everyone was tired I was told to take it in.
As we headed for home one of the warriors of the trip who had fished his tail off all day turned to me and said, “I’m sore all over!” and I thought, what a good job I did putting them on some big fish. Then I talked to one of the sponsors and told him what the soldier said and he explained to me, “You know that 80 % of his bones in his chest, shoulders, arms and back were broken when an IUD blew him up?” All I could say was Oh my God! You would have never known, he fished like he never had a problem and will most likely be stoved up for a week or so getting over the trip, yet all of the guys thanked me personally and that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Hopefully, we can do this again for our veterans. Thank you for coming!