CALCIUM – The NY BASS Chapter Federation held its fifth annual Take a Soldier Fishing event Saturday on Oneida Lake with activities based out of Oneida Shores Park near Brewerton.
This year, the NYBCF assembled 66 volunteer boaters from across the northeast region to take the Soldiers (men and women) out for a free day of fishing.
The 10th Mountain Division (LI) sent 114 Soldiers to participate as guests of honor.
Every Soldier who attended received a rod and reel combo, and local pro staff members provided additional tackle for the day’s fishing.
Things began with morning registration and all participants being treated to hot coffee, juice and donuts. From there, participants received a safety briefing, and Soldiers were paired two per bass boat. The group launched for day’s fishing in pursuit of the big fish prize in one of five categories: common carp; blue gill / perch / crappie; drum / sheepshead; white bass / rock bass; and bowfin.
Boat captain James Moore piloted his boat and team of Soldiers, Spc. Anthony Praga and Spc. Jeff Riddle, to the big fish of the day in the carp division, a stout 12.73 pounds, which also qualified as the overall big fish of the day.
Not satisfied with that catch, they also brought in the second-largest drum (sheepshead), weighing 8.81pounds, to take home a combined prize package of $600.
Winning the big fish award for drum (sheepshead) with a 10.33-pound beast was boat captain Gerry Rosenbarker and his Soldier team of Sgt. Jack Schuchandt and Spc. Paul Teregyza. The biggest perch of the day, weighing 1.41 pounds, was brought in by boat captain Tim McFadden and his Soldier team of Staff Sgt. Robert Huffman and Spc. Fernando Pre-do. The biggest white bass, weighing 2.14 pounds, was brought in by boat captain Will Telesca and his Soldier team of Sgt. Keith Manning and Staff Sgt. Darrin Hafeli.
Sgt. Casey Henry fished with boat captain Barb Elliot. “She really knew her stuff,” Henry said. “She gave us more tackle, and we caught probably 20 fish, with our biggest a 4.04-pound smallmouth bass.”
While the Soldiers fished, teams prepared barbecued ribs, hamburgers and hot dogs. After the 1 p.m. weigh-in, all participants were treated to a barbecue-style luncheon with additional salads, cakes and treats followed by a drawing for additional prizes.
Event coordinators Burnie and Lori Haney and Mike Cusano recognized the contributions of the many volunteers who made the day possible. Without volunteers operating behind the scenes, this annual program most likely would not be possible.
NY BASS Chapter Federation