Operation Wounded Warrior a success

GRAPEVINE, Texas -- Grapevine Lake played host to 13 soldiers and eight pros in a friendly tournament benefitting those who help keep our country free.

Each pro was teamed up with one or two soldiers who fished for their best five bass, which were weighed in on the stage before the final weigh-in of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open.

David Kincaid of the Wounded Warriors program had been eagerly awaiting B.A.S.S. to return to Texas for the opportunity to get some of his troops out on the water. "This is a great chance to get some guys out of the barracks for a while and get their mind off of their injuries," he said. "A big thanks goes out to B.A.S.S., who gave these guys an experience they never would have had otherwise."

The teams were: • Rene Jackson of La Joya, Texas, who fished with Dave Mansue; • Mark Clark of Marble Falls, Texas, who fished with Pete Daniels; • Chad Heuton of Altoona, Iowa, and Larry Wiese of Verdigre, Neb., who fished with Chris Dombkowski; • Yancey Caldwell of Lawrenceville, Ga., and Homer Flores of Donna, Texas, who fished with Preston Henson; • Francisco Delgado of San Antonio, Texas, and Gilbert Martinez of San Antonio, Texas, who fished with Billy McCaghren; • Aaron Cahill of Biloxi, Miss., and Bertin Esteves III of Araby, La., who fished with Joey Nania; • Pat Broderson of Wamego, Kan., and Joshua Kyser of Ft. McCoy, Fla., who fished with Jami Fralick; • and Jerimiah Leach of St. Robert, Mo., who fished with Dewayne French.

Lt. Col. Jackson, who has 25 years of service, fished with his son in Dave Mansue's boat. On his second cast, Jackson snagged a 5-pound, 14-ounce largemouth, "far and away the biggest fish" he's ever caught. It was also the heaviest of the tournament. "I spent 13 years overseas, and there isn't much time to fish, so this was great," he said. "Once I get well I plan on spending lots of time on the water with my son."

Randy Jackson also received a special gift from Billy McCaghren, who handed the youth the jersey he wore during his Elite Series Rookie of the Year season in 2009. Jerimiah Leach and partner Dewayne French managed the heaviest limit of all the teams at 16-4 and walked away with trophies. "This was an absolute blast. It was probably the best time I've ever had fishing," said Leach, a life-long angler. "I want to thank B.A.S.S. and all the pros who took us out. Things like this really do a lot for us."