Remembering Our Heroic Outdoorsmen
By: Tom Lester II

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As an avid bass angler, this is the time of year I start getting mentally prepared for the upcoming months when bass fishing reaches it's pinnacle. In fact, I'm getting down right excited. For me, there's nothing like shallow water bass fishing during the spawn in the spring. It's explosive and exciting.

Just today I was on the phone visiting with a friend of mine from Louisiana trying to get some information about the fishing conditions at Sam Rayburn. I know Dennis just got threw with a tournament there this past weekend and I wanted to find out how he did and what the fish were biting. I have a pro-am event there next week.
When I got off of the cell phone, I was pumped up. The bass there are shallow and eating watermelon colored Zoom Baby Brush Hogs tipped with chartreuse Spike-It dye. Ironically, when I put the phone down in the cab of my truck and turned the radio up, KAND was airing the news. The story was about the day's happenings in Iraq regarding our troops.

My mind couldn't help to wander, as it often does, to the men and women overseas and abroad protecting our freedom and our way of life. For a second I almost felt guilty. Here I was getting excited, all ready to go to Sam Rayburn to fish a tournament while they are over there, many of them risking death or dying. It was a very surreal moment for me.

I wondered how many men and women that enjoy the outdoors as much or more than I do didn't get to sit in their deer blind this year, let alone shoot that trophy buck they've been watching. Instead, they were trying to see who was trying to make them their trophy. How many didn't get to enjoy the beauty and serenity of a sunrise or sunset over their favorite fishing hole? How many won't be back, able to do the things they once did as a result of a debilitating injury or perhaps even death?

I paused to thank God for such people willing to defend democracy and the freedom to enjoy the outdoors, like so many of us do. I paused to thank Him for such a great nation with great leaders. I couldn't help but be a little overwhelmed for that minute or two about how lucky we are to live in such a great country.

I share this story with you in hopes that you too might take a moment to thank the next service member you come across; to thank our Heavenly Father for these men and women that give of themselves so that you and I can stay here and enjoy the outdoors and the other freedoms we hold so dear. I share this with you so that if you know a service member that has served their country recently or in the past, you might consider offering to take them fishing or hunting as a small token of your gratitude for their service, I know I will.

Until next time, enjoy the great outdoors.

Tom Lester II

For more information or to contact Tom, visit him at Fishing Pro Staff.

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