For Immediate Release

October 25, 2013

Fishing for Freedom

Jeff A. Cook (FAN)

After ten months of planning and coordination for the 8th Annual Fishing for Freedom, the reality of the government shutdown meant it was a real possibility that the much anticipated event would not take place.  After many phone calls and emails to local, state and federal representatives to no avail the FFF Committee decided to cancel the event. However, when Washington finally came to an arrangement to reopen the closed aspects of the government, the dream came back to life!

After some heart felt consideration Cliff Brown, Rick Smith, and the rest of the FFF Committee agreed to make it happen, and instantly moved into action. From coordinating the massive components of the Friday banquette; including Rudy’s BBQ providing the meal for over 1000 attendees, rallying over 200 boaters to reconnect with their soldiers, and preparing the free entry bass tournament at BLORA on Lake Belton – all in less than 48 hours!

The FAN High School Bass team, staff from Texas Boat world and Marine Outlet, and several others comprised the volunteers for FFF.  As a volunteer one of the many things that make this day special is the chance to greet the anglers and give thanks for their service.

As the anglers arrived Saturday October 19th they were greeted by a brisk 45 degree morning and a stiff north wind blowing 15 MPH.  This did not faze the group of active duty, retired service members, and committed boaters who were excited to spend the day on Lake Belton.

The chilling Central Texas morning gave way to a beautiful fall afternoon as over 200 teams checked in from 1:00pm to 2:45pm and began weighing in.  The weights gradually increased during the day as the temperatures climbed.  As the anglers came to the scales, whether it is with one fish or five, there was one thing that was consistent among all of them – the big smiles and great time had by all.

The anticipation rose as the last flights made their way to the stage.  The team of Landon Ware and Darryl Holmes took the lead with a 5 fish limit weighing exactly 15 pounds, beating the current leader by 3 pounds. With time running out and only a few teams left to go.  Last year’s champion boater; Bill Guzman and new partner Dustin Roberts brought a 5 fish limit of bass to the scales, including an 8.93 pound largemouth bass caught by Dustin. They took the lead and won the 8th annual Fishing for Freedom by .01 of a pound with 15.01 pounds!  Bill and Dustin were ecstatic and could not believe they won with such a close margin. Their win brought the grand prize of a new Triton17Pro Powered by a 115 Mercury Motor.

See all pictures here

It was another successful year for Fishing for Freedom 2013! This event was made even more special despite its obvious obstacles. Seeing the determination to make it happen and not give up on those who serve us, my hat is off to Cliff Brown!   He forged ahead and rallied the staff and volunteers. I also want to thank Rick Smith, Mary Brown, Mary Stout, their families, the Staff of Marine Outlet, Texas Boat world, and the outstanding job at the weigh in from the FAN High School Fishing Team, Scott and Mary Anderson, Danny Denson, Colt Anderson, Jonathan Gray, Brett Sunvison, and Datlon Denson, and the FAN team Justin Rieger, Jon Sigman, Tom Howard, Doug and Valerie Crutz.

Faith Angler Network is a 501©3 non-profit organization serving the Central Texas Area with Youth Fishing Events/ charity Events/ Military Supported and Awareness Events/ Professional Run Bass Tournaments.

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Fishing for Freedom is a group of Central Texas businessmen and women who wish to thank our military for their service to our country.  Our mission is to make sure each man and women who are serving have the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors of Texas.  We offer free fishing trips on area lakes.  Once a year we gather together the boaters of Central Texas with these heroes for a fishing tournament.  The tournament is held on Lake Belton on Saturday and on Friday night we have a FREE BBQ dinner for all the participants along with some excellent fishing and boating seminars.  The Friday night event is held at the Killeen Convention Center.