Friday, October 31, 2014

14 Brave Men

This past weekend I had the honor and privilege of being a "Fishing Buddy" again for Reel Recovery at a retreat in Glen Rose, Texas.

I went a day early to scout out the Paluxy River and see if it had any water in it. Unfortunately, it did not! I scouted several other areas around the lodge and found a few small fish in the Brazos River at Camp & Fish.

After scouting the area and fishing all day I was ready to get some rest before my long couple of days with the guys. I setup camp at Oakdale Park and kicked back and tied a few flies by lantern light before turning in.

I kicked off the next day with a breakfast of migas and coffee from the Big Cup Eatery.

After breakfast I headed over to the Stillwater Lodge to meet with the guys and begin our weekend of fly fishing.

Many of you may not know what Reel Recovery is all about so I'll let this explain it..

Reel Recovery is a national non-profit organization that conducts free fly-fishing retreats for men living with all forms of cancer.

We met with the 14 brave men battling various forms of cancer and paired off to embark on our journey to catch fish on the fly. This retreat wound up being the retreat that had the 2000th man to attend a retreat.

We had the vest signing ceremony and also recognized the 2000th man.

Then it was time to go fishing.

Based on the fact that the river was dry we made a decision to fish a local pond instead.

The pond was beautiful and the fish were very cooperative. My participant "BJ" was the first to catch a fish. He proceeded to catch a number of huge copper nose bluegills before other also started catching a few.

The landowner and his family have always been huge supporters of Reel Recovery and this weekend was no exception. While we were fishing with the guys up the hill at the pond the landowners were preparing a huge fish fry for all of the participants and volunteers.

After lunch we broke out the catfish food and began chumming the area where we were fishing. This triggered the catfish to begin to bite. A number of the participants caught really nice catfish that afternoon.

When evening rolled around we adjourned back to the lodge. The participants stayed there for their dinner and I hosted the fishing buddy dinner at the Loco Coyote Grill.

The next morning I went directly to the pond in search of a big ole bass on the fly. I was not disappointed in the results of my quest as I hooked up with a huge bass on the third cast. I was able to fight the fish for a period of time that made me happy!!! :)

I then hooked up with another bass that went approximately 3 to 3 1/2 pounds.

Soon after catching that bass the participants arrived back at the pond.

We started fishing with them again and soon after starting the big ole bluegills started schooling. We caught a bunch of them before the catfish and the bass got jealous and moved in and started taking our flies.

Almost everyone caught a really nice catfish and bluegill before lunch. We ended the fishing at noon and headed back for lunch and the closing ceremony at the lodge.

After lunch we had a beautiful closing ceremony and said our goodbyes.

I am very humbled by the bravery of these men who are facing the challenges of cancer in various stages yet they still get out and spend 3 days fly fishing.

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