PALATKA, Fla. — The Bass Capital BassMasters are inviting veterans to compete in a no entry fee tournament Sept. 23 on the St. Johns River.
The club will host its Ninth Annual Veterans Appreciation Tournament with check-in starting at 5 a.m. at the Palatka city docks. Breakfast will be available during registration, and the launch will start when all the veterans and boat captains are paired. The weigh-in will begin at 2 p.m. followed by a barbecue lunch along with awards, door prizes and gifts.
The tournament has drawn about 75 veterans the last couple of years. “We are trying to make that grow, but a lot of it depends on getting boaters and such,” said Chuck Foster, Bass Capital BassMasters president.
Veterans from all over the country have participated in the event but most of the servicemen come from Florida. Foster said last year the veterans’ ages ranged from 24 to a 92-year-old World War 2 paratrooper. “My understanding was he was the first person to jump out of the plane over Normandy but was the third to land because he was very small,” Foster said.
The tournament has also attracted boat captains from all over Florida. The Bass Capital BassMasters also serve as boat captains if needed. “If we have enough boats they are the last ones to go out because we want the people who travel to have the first dibs on taking the veterans out,” Foster said.
The veterans can bring their own fishing tackle and the boat captains will also have gear for them to use.