YA: So how are things going?
JD: Busier than a man with two rattlesnakes and one hole!!
YA: I can only imagine.
YA: You’re a former military man, Air force I believe?
JD: 13 years. Mainly C-130. 8 years overseas in the Philippines and Germany
YA: Nice, thanks for your service.
JD: Was a great time. My dad was a Marine and Aggie. I was called back for Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990
YA: I believe that I saw somewhere that you’re an airline pilot now, how in the world are you flying around the country and building this unbelievable program?
JD: 16 hour days!! I am a 737 Captain at American. This has been a labor of love. Just took 4 guys and family down to Rockport Texas for some saltwater flats fishing. When you see how much it helps them, you can't help but spend every waking minute working to help more folks
YA: You’re a very dedicated man, I applaud your accomplishments.
YA: So how did you get into kayak fishing?
JD: Have been a redneck Texas Bass Fisherman since I was 3. I’ve also been going to the TX Coast since I was a kid. In 2003 I started to get serious about fishing the salt. Saw the guys and gals down there in kayaks and saw it as an inexpensive way to get on the flats. Went to Dean Thomas's Texas Kayak Fishing School in Aransas Pass in 2003, acquired the nickname" Double Dip" and kayak fished ever since.
YA: Can you elaborate on the “Double Dip” story?
JD: The first time I was in a kayak was at Dean Thomas's Texas Kayak Fishing School. I has tried a Ride the first day and a T-160 the second. No problems in the Ride. The second day I was told to "test the stability" at the launch point and took that too literally. The second turtle happened within 5 minutes and I have no idea why. Two dips in just a few minutes before we even go to the flats!!
Here's Dean's aftermath: "Okay, here's the funny part about that whole double dip incident. we were getting Jim back in his mount for the second time and all of his new fishing buddies were paddling around him headed out to the happy fishing grounds I'm pretty sure it was his brother-in-law that passed within paddle length then swerved to avoid getting involved with a third incident. The lure of big fish on the horizon was bigger than the opportunity to swim in the channel."
And from Scott Null: "That was still one of the funniest exchanges I've heard. After we collected DD's gear and got his drowned rat looking rear-end back on the bank.”
Dean: "What the hell were you doing?"
Double Dip (looking a bit like a kid getting scolded): "Testing the stability."
Dean: "Well, what did you find out?"“
And that was before he turned around and did it again two minutes later. Thus the legend of "Double Dip" was born. :lol:"
YA: So what's your favorite fishing from a kayak?
JD: I love hunting tailing reds on the flats. We have 100's of miles of 6" to 18" water on the Texas Coast inside Padre Island. The further south you go from Galveston, the clearer the water gets.
JD: Catching a big red on top water where you see the catch from start to finish is awesome!
YA: What's your favorite kayak to fish from?
JD: I fish from whatever I run into in my travels. I have a couple of Mini X's my wife and I use for the small farm ponds we take soldiers to in the Dallas area and bigger more streamlined Manta 14 for the coast. Dean Thomas has provided us yaks for the last few HOW outings at the coast and I like his Tarpon 160's. I think I would really like a peddle or electric drive to chase striper on some of our big lakes like Texoma. As we travel around, I have fished from a number of different yaks and found I can fish from almost anything that floats, even though I am a "big ole boy" at 6' 5" and 270.
YA: So how did you first come about starting HOW?
JD: A couple of friends and I who are YakAnglers were also vets and wanted to help our wounded guys. We found Major Cody Roberson at ArmyBassAngler.com and he was an active duty Army Major at Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio. He helped us get access and find injured service members who were interested in fishing. Getting into the Military system is, and should be, difficult. He eased that process and moved us forward.
YA: Can you tell me your most memorable outing with HOW?
JD: Our first outing in September of 2008. We had 8 guys from BAMC coming out to fish with us at a private lake near Gruene, TX right off of the Guadalupe River. I had not met these guys. We had 8 yaks lined up on shore for them to get into. A 15 passenger van drove up about 15 feet from the yaks. A wheelchair van drove in behind it. I naturally went back to the wheelchair van to grab the wheelchairs and help move those who needed it. As I turned around from getting a chair, I looked up and saw 8 guys sitting in kayaks - 7 of them bilateral (Double leg) amputees!! I looked at the chair and looked at them and said ' Guess you don't need these do you?" They said - "Heck no. We wanna' go fishing!!!" The entire day was like that. They had a blast and were a blast to fish with. I realized that they help us more than we help them. If they have the attitudes they have with the challenges they face, my problems are nothing! Some of our better pics are from that day.
YA: Wow, sounds like quite the humbling experience
JD: They all are. I have found these folks are people you wanna fish with. Good guys.
YA: Sounds like you guys are doing great things.
JD: What we do is provide therapy on the Water to our wounded warriors. It is our hobby, fun, and the right thing to do.
PADDLE. FISH. HEAL
YA: One last question that doesn't really pertain to anything but seems to always get ask in these things is...
Country or Rock and Roll?
JD: Only two kinds of music in this world -- Country and...................... Western! Dude .... I'm from Texas!!
YA: LOL! Thanks Jim for taking the time to chat.
For more information about Heroes’ On the Water or to donate to the cause please visit: http://www.heroesonthewater.org/
You can also help by purchasing the HOW/YakAngler shirts in which $2 of every shirt sale will be donated to Heroes On the Water.
There also some great G Loomis designed Temple Fork Outfitter conventional rods for sale in which a portion of the proceeds are donated to Heroes On the Water.
Thanks again Jim and all the volunteers at Heroes On the Water for the great things that you’re doing for our brothers and sisters in the military.