Now in its eighth year, the Take A Soldier Fishing event has been designed as a giant thank you to the men and women who serve our country. This year’s event was the largest in its history, taking place on Saturday, April 24. It attracted 172 Fort Drum soldiers, over 100 volunteer boaters, and dozens of additional volunteers.
The weatherman forecasted a beautiful, but cool day. And although it took a while for that prediction to come true, there wasn’t a sour attitude or complaint from anyone as we waited for the sun to show.
Once the soldiers checked in, they received raffle tickets, lures, bait, and new rod & reel combos from Bass Pro Shops. Once check-in was completed, they gathered in the cold and wind so each soldier could be paired with their boater. As each pairing was formed they ran off to their boat.
In a well-choreographed drill, valet drivers pulled each boat and trailer around to the launch. It what must have been only about 30-40 minutes, every one of the 100 + boats was launched. Each boat took anywhere from one to three soldier-fisherman onto Oneida Lake.
By 1:30 pm, the boaters had returned and fish were weighed in. Being April, not many species which are legal to keep, causing the day’s take to be limited to bowfin, carp, panfish, and sheephead (aka “drum”). Several soldier-fisherman caught pickerel and bass which had to be released.
The day wrapped up with an awesome BBQ, an awards ceremony, and acknowledgements of key sponsors and volunteers.
This was the first year that NYOutdoorTalk.com participated in the Take A Soldier Fishing event. We count ourselves privileged to have been a small part of what was such a well-organized and worthwhile event. We have hours of video footage and dozens of pictures to sort through. Once we have a video of the event, it’ll be posted here to NYOutdoorTalk.com as well as our social media outlets.