The NY BASS Chapter Federation (NYBCF) held their fifth annual Take a Soldier Fishing event on April 27th on Oneida Lake with activities based out of Oneida Shores Park near Brewerton NY. This year the NYBCF assembled 66 volunteer boaters from across the north east region to take the Soldiers (men and women) out for free day’s fishing. The 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) stationed at Fort Drum NY sent 114 Soldiers to participate as the guests of honor.
Bass Pro Shops of Auburn NY provided a rod & reel combo for every Soldier in attendance and Pro Staff members from TFO Rods, Lucky Craft Lures, The Rod Glove, Rapsody Rods, Stanley Jigs & Lures, Diiachi Hooks, Mustad Hooks, Vertical Lures, Culprit, Big Bite Baits, Spro and Sunline all provided additional tackle for the day’s fishing.
The day began with morning registration where all participants were treated to hot coffee, juice and donuts compliments of Nationwide Insurance and the CPL Kyle R. Schneider Foundation. From there participants were issued the safety brief and Soldiers paired two per bass boat. The group launched for day’s fishing in pursuit of the big fish prize in one of five categories 1) common carp, 2) blue gill/perch/crappie, 3) drum/sheep head 4) white bass / rock bass and 5) bowfin.
Boat Captain James Moore piloted his Bass Cat and team of Soldiers, Specialist Anthony Praga and Specialist Jeff Riddle to the big fish of the day in the Carp division, a stout 12.73 lbs., also good for the overall big fish of the day. Not satisfied with that catch they also brought in the second largest drum (sheephead) 8.81lbs. to take home a combined prize package of $600
Winning the big fish award for drum (sheephead) with a 10.33 lbs. beast was Boat Captain Gerry Rosenbarker and his Soldier team of Sergeant Jack Schuchandt and Specialist Paul Teregyza. The biggest Perch of the day 1.41 lbs. was brought in by Boat Captain Tim McFadden and his Soldier team of Staff Sergeant Robert Huffman and Specialist Fernando Predo. The biggest white bass, 2.14 lbs was brought in by Boat Captain Will Telesca and his Soldier team of Sergeant Keith Manning and Staff Sergeant Darrin Hafeli.
Sergeant Casey Henry who fished with Boat Captain Barb Elliot commented “She really knew her stuff, she gave us more tackle and we caught probably 20 fish with our biggest a 4.04 lbs. smallmouth bass that we caught on a lipless red eye crank bait”.
While the Soldiers fished professional BBQ teams prepared ribs and volunteers also cooked burgers and dogs. Following the 1 PM weigh-in all participants were treated to a BBQ style luncheon with additional salads, cakes and treats followed by free raffles for additional prizes.
Event coordinators Burnie & Lori Haney and Mike Cusano recognize the contributions of the many volunteers that made the day possible.
Pat Grady, Karen Cusano, Dick Hyde, Jeff Botting, Bill Peck, Joe Horton, Paul Hudson, Joe Maloof, Brain Eisch, Bryan Schad, Pete Knight, Bill Lamanche, Chuck Rowlee, Fred Blom, Lorie, Rick & Kevin Schneider, Bruce & Sue Sager, Nathan & Heather Hall, Jeremy Linn, Glenn Harding, Guy Cromp, Bill Hard, Rick Martuscello, Cindy, and Dennis Hughes
Without these volunteers operating behind the scenes this annual program would most likely never happen.
Image courtesy NY BASS Chapter Federation