TEXAS SALT WATER FISHING MAGAZINE: FISHING HEROES
To say kayak fishing has changed my life would be gross understatement. Through kayaking I have changed career paths and become acquainted with hundreds of people I would have likely never known. My circle of close friends has mostly come directly from the sport. It has provided me opportunities such as writing for this great magazine as well as writing a book and traveling all over the country to places I’d only dreamed of fishing. Most of the change has occurred slowly and without me even thinking about it. This past weekend however, brought an immediate and profound effect.
A while back I wrote about the Kayak Anglers Society of America (KASA). Under the care of Jim Dolan, Kendal Larson and Danny Paschal, this organization has gained traction and is doing some wonderful things. KASA’s stated goals are protecting access rights for kayakers and introducing new anglers to the sport through high school and collegiate programs. Their ultimate calling has been to help our veterans. Through their Heroes on the Water (HOW) program KASA is making a real difference in the lives of our wounded soldiers.
Jim originally hoped HOW would give the soldiers a break from the rigors of rehabilitation by simply taking them kayak fishing for a day.
It has turned out to be much more. In talking with Jim this past weekend it became clear how devoted he is to the program and how his goals for the program have morphed into something much deeper.
Jim is retired military and speaks from experience, “In combat you depend on the guys in your unit. They are your family, the band of brothers. They understand what you are going through and provide support for each other. When it is all over and you go home nobody can fully comprehend the experiences you’ve had. There is a period of withdrawal. What I hope to provide through these outings is a chance for these guys to feel like they belong to something again. I know it sounds corny, but kayak fishermen are also a band of brothers.