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Sunday, 05 August 2012 19:50

Heroes on the Water: Joe’s Island

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Well, the weather gods smiled on us this month as veterans from all across the Tampa Bay area converged on the south Skyway rest area for a day of fishing with the Tampa Bay Chapter of Heroes on the Water. Too bad the fish gods didn’t go along with the deal. Our first trip in some time that the wind didn’t blow, and the fish were nowhere to be found.

How 1

Volunteers getting the kayaks ready for our vets.

I like to think that these trips aren’t all about the fishing. Once upon a time (for me, anyway) it wasn’t a successful trip unless I caught something worth bragging about. But I’ve learned that there is something more to them. Bonding with a friend or son, letting go of the day’s burdens and enjoying what the day has given you, just being on the water and relaxing - these are things our trips supply. I was told by one of the vets joining us for the first time that he just wanted to fish, and that’s what he did. He was first out and one of the last ones back, hot and tired, but with a big smile on his face. Just the way we like it.

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We called it quits around noon. Everyone met up at the rest area pavilion for some great chow and swapping information on the day’s fishing. Aside from sea trout, not much else was caught, but a good day was had by all. These events have taught me several of life’s lessons, but I came away with one important one this weekend:

When kayak fishing, always carry a paddle with you. No matter what.

HOW 9

Thanks to all our volunteers and to John Bishop and Greg Becker for the extra photos. And a big thanks to Mark Robichaux for cooking another fine meal.

Last modified on Monday, 06 August 2012 09:07

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