Wounded Warrior/Military Appreciation Day – Great Turnout, Great Fishing
3/19/2013 8:05 AM
By Al Kittredge
We had a huge turnout at the monthly Wounded Warrior / Military Appreciation Day hosted by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s John E. Pechmann Fishing Education Center on March 13. We've recently made new contacts with Ft. Bragg's Warrior Transition Battalion and at least one of the companies now holds its second Wednesday of the month afternoon formation in our lower parking lot. The Commission provides the venue and equipment, while volunteers provide the instruction and oversight. We have a variety of fish available for catch-and-release fishing. Our program in February was the subject of a short video by PBS.
Wounded Warriors who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) find fly tying enjoyable. Many of us who do not have TBI have a difficult time making our brain, hands and eye all work in sequence to use hook, thread, yarn and feathers to create an imitation fly that will fool a fish. TBI patients look at it as a challenge that helps in their recovery.
Staff from the Commission’s Bobby N. Setzer State Fish Hatchery in Transylvania County stocked the trout in two of the center’s ponds in December for a series of fly-fishing clinics. Trout can be fickle feeders but lots of participants caught fish.
The trout, which are cold water species, will soon completetheir fly-fishing clinic mission. We have invited the Wounded Warriors to return the afternoon of March 27 for some "fish and keep." Any legal method of fishing,i.e., fly, spinner or bait fishing will be allowed. Per North Carolina’s fishing regulation, there is a limit of seven fish per participant. You are on your own for cleaning them; however, we do have a cleaning table and several knives available. Fish fry anyone?
In addition to our special March 27 "fish and keep" event, we will stay on schedule with our regular second Wednesday of the month Wounded Warrior/Military Appreciation Day from 1 to 5 p.m. on April 10. If the weather remains cool and the water temperatures stay below 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, we may have some trout left for harvest. We always have a variety of other fish just waiting to put a bend in your rod and a smile on your face. As long as attendance stays up we will continue these events.