Wounded Warriors Bass Fishing Weekend

Airboating Magazine
Duane Wallace

Numerous sportsmen and professional bass fishing guides joined forces with the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation (WWIA) www.wwiaf.org to sponsor an outstanding bass fishing trip on Rodman Reservoir, in Palatka, Florida, during the weekend of Feb. 5 – 6, 2011. Rodman has been designated one of the 10 best bass lakes in the state by Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Commission. The event was an outstanding success with 60 bass caught over a day and a half. Lt. Col. (Ret.) John McDaniel, founder and CEO of the WWIA, summed up the weekend’s activities with just a few words: “Awesome time, awesome fishing, and awesome folks!”

One may ask, what made it a success? It was the guides, fishermen and neighbors who came together to show their respect for a few of those individuals who were wounded in combat when our country called upon them to protect us here at home. It’s too easy to go through our daily routines and not think about those who are in harm’s way to protect our way of life.

The wounded warriors participating were Hubble Hainline from Athens, Alabama; Jake Whipkey from Boswell, Pennsylvania; and Storm Litzler from Cape Coral, Florida.

The WWIA sponsored the event, and United Sportsmen and Airboaters Alliance member Charlie Lawson and his wife Jackie, hosted it at their home in Orange Springs. Several other USAA members generously gave their time and resources to make this weekend special. Included are: Brian Gotcher, who assisted Jackie with breakfast and was the chef during the two days of delicious cookouts; Allen “Cajun” Perry, Sean Rush and Bill Snyder, the professional bass guides; and Jerry Wetherington, president of the USAA, who arranged the Sunday afternoon cookout.

The alarm clock started Jackie and Brian’s day at 4 a.m. Saturday in order to have breakfast ready by 5 a.m. By 5:15, 16 people were enjoying coffee, sausage, eggs, biscuits and gravy. By 6 a.m., everyone was on their way to get wild shiners for a day of fishing. Hainline caught the largest bass weighing 9.5 pounds. He and Litzler were fishing with guide Rush. Between the two of them they caught 22 bass the first day, several between 6 and 9.5 pounds. Whipkey managed to catch nine the first day while being guided by Snyder. The second half day of fishing wasn’t as active.

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