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Friday I picked my soldier up at Ebenezer at 5AM and we drove to the launch at New Hope, got the boat loaded down with breakfast, snacks and american flag on the light pole and they dumped us in the water. An hour or so of chit chat and trash talking with my buddies and a $10 bill into the side pot we had and it was time to get started. A prayer, presentation of colors and a parachute jump demonstration by the Black Daggers and it was time for blast off, we rolled off number 48.

I started towards my bushes and made a last minute decision to run to my big girl as it didnt look like anyone went there yet. We pull in to the cut and last years winner was parked on top of my fish, as good as gone as I know he is a real good sight fishing guy. We started fishing in the cut anyways and my soldier quickly caught keeper one and two on a senko, a solid 4.5 lber not far behind. Meanwhile several other boats pulled in and fished. I figured we were on to something and needed to stick with it. We moved to another cut with similar features and found a bed fish, about 10 minutes later, it was in the box. We moved down the bank and I spotted another one, one pitch to the bed and a positive reaction from the fish and I told Zack "theres number 5" I worked that fish probably 15 minutes and all of a sudden a 3 lber surfaces and Zacks rod was bent, number 5 in the box. At this point I knew we had a pretty solid limit and thought we might be a contender for a prize or trophy. Knowing that we had a decent bag I sent a text to my old man and invited him to the weigh in. I work that bed fish another few minutes and come to the conclusion it wouldnt do much for us weight wise so we move on. I pick up the Power Pole and move about 10 ft and catch a glimpse of a bigger fish. Its a little deeper and very hard to see, I spend a while pitching at it with no reaction and very little eye contact. We decide to leave it and run back to the cut where we started. I hook up with a solid fish on a senko, he jumps 1/2 way to the boat and came off. About that time I see a swirl that a shallow bed fish makes when it runs off a bream, it was a good fish but very skittish, luckily she had a willing neighbor, about 10 or 15 minutes and she was stuck, we culled and upgraded by about a 1/2 lb. I went back to where I spotted a big fish yesterday, she was gone but there was a smaller one I played with for a while, no dice. By now its 1 oclock and I decide to go flip a few stumps in hopes of getting a bigger bite. It didnt happen. I estimated we had 13-14 lbs

We checked in and I talked to a few buddies, word on the street was it was a pretty tough bite. We sat there a few minutes waiting for my old man to back my trailer in so we could load up, that worked out great. We got our fish out of the boat and headed for the scales feeling pretty good. The guy who beat me to my bed fish was in line in front of us, he had almost 21 lbs and took the lead... a hard act to follow. He said he sat on that first fish for 2 hours and only got one shot at her and she came off. We were up next and Hal Abshire introduced me as "Mr. Jordan", former Elite Pro and TV host Jarrett Edwards was also on the stage as WOW will be featured on an upcoming episode of his show. Our bag weighed in a 15-6. Did alot of socializing and ate a bbq plate from Texas Roadhouse and some Skeeter beans while everyone else weighed in, I felt pretty good that the folks hadnt seen the last of us but also knew there was a possibility we would get bumped.

They finally finished weigh in and got to the awards starting with 14th place, it was 13 lbs and change, at that point i felt pretty good we would be in the top 10. Meanwhile the guy that ran the side pot I was in handed me $120, I offered to split it with my soldier and he declined, he just smiled and said "I got some coming from my boys". We got called back to the stage to accept the 10th place awards and another interview, a nice JB custom rod for the boater and a BPS certificate and sunglasses for the soldier.

I couldnt be more pleased with the way our day unfolded. I started the day with little confidence in my plan but made a lucky last second decision and stumbled into the right direction. My soldier ended up catching 4 keepers and our biggest, and going on to finish in the top 10 in a 150 boat field was icing on the cake.

A day on the water is the least we can do to give back to the men and women who serve their country, they make alot of sacrifices so we can live in a safe nation. If you ever get the opportunity to take a soldier fishing in any kind of military appreciation event, I highly recommend it. Being in the presence of so many of these soldiers and getting to know them gives you a whole new appreciation for what they do.

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Good job Neilslure!!! Most of the guy's I talked to at the weigh in said it was tough.

I was going to catch you and say hi, but you looked like you was throwing down on the bbq.
 

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Thats awesome. I wish there had been more things going on like this when I was down there at Fort Bragg. Maybee there was and I just didnt know about it!

Thank you Neil for showing your appreciation! Guys like you let us know that what we signed up for was worth something!
 

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Awesome job!! Nothing like fishing and making a soldier's day! Congrats on the top 10
 
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