Rodman Reservoir Fishing Event

Airboating Magazine
Charlie Lawson

This year the lights in our house came on at 3:30 a.m. so we could have breakfast ready for the wounded warriors and their fishing guides. They would start arriving around 4:30 a.m. While my wife Jackie and United Sportsmen & Airboaters Alliance member Brian Gotcher started with the cooking, I went outside to take care of the last-minute details for their arrival. As soon as I stepped outside I knew the cold front was upon us, but I sure didn’t realize just how cold and windy it would get before the weekend was over, and not exactly Florida weather.

It wasn’t long before our 11 guests were enjoying a hot breakfast of eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy with orange juice and coffee. At 5:15 a.m., the first group was out the door to endure what was going to be a cold, windy day, but it paled in comparison to what Sunday was to bring. The last group was on its way by 6 a.m.

My job Saturday was to take out a news photographer from one of the local papers. He wanted to get a few pictures of the wounded warriors while they were fishing at the Rodman Reservoir, in Palatka, in Central Florida.

Maneuvering through the stump fields on a calm day is bad enough; what seemed to be 20 mph winds really made it tough. We finally got to the third boat, snapped a few pictures, and then went searching for the fourth and final boat. Wouldn’t you know it, right after we left Wounded Warrior Brian Eisch caught the fish of the day, a 10 lb. 2 oz. largemouth bass. The professional photographer didn’t get a chance to get the picture, but as you can see the boat crew did.

On Sunday, the second and last day of the event, the thermometer had dipped to 28.6 degrees. After breakfast we bundled up and it looked like we were going ice fishing in the North rather than fishing here in Florida.

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