South Central Wisconsin Chapter Heroes on the Water Event

So humid the truck was wet.
     The best way to describe the morning of the event was HOT, stupid hot.  I woke up extra early to get a little prefishing in with my buddy Spencer Jones.  We wanted to try and dial in a pattern before everybody arrived.  Today we were attending an event put on by the South Central Wisconsin Chapter of Heroes on the Water or H.O.W. as I've come to know it.  Heroes on the Water is a wonderful organization that pairs up veterans with kayak anglers to get them out on the water.  Spencer and myself were invited to help guide for the first event that was gonna be put on by the South Central Wisconsin Chapter.  We didn't want to disappoint so despite the crazy heat and humidity we launched our kayaks at dawn.  Heading out into the darkness we chatted about likely species, lure selection, and where to find fish holding structure.  It didn't take long for Spencer to find a cooperative pike.  So now that we knew the fish were actually here.  All we had to worry about was the oppressive heat.
Spencer Jones with a nice little Northern Pike.
     As the sun started to rise so did the temperatures.  I was marking a solid 80 degrees on my Garmin Echomap at the surface even under the bridge.  The stage was set for one of my hottest days on the water so far this year.  We continued casting for a bit as we waited for the H.O.W. organizers and their many volunteers to arrive.
Lottes Park made for a wonderful venue.
     Soon enough I noticed that a trailer full of kayaks had pulled up to the launch.  Rutabaga Paddlesports was nice enough to donate the use of their rental fleet for the event.  We paddled in and met up with Adam Howarth and Mike Young the organizers of this new chapter.  After some brief instructions on kayak safety, rod setup, and fishing expectations we all pitched in to get the venue ready.  The tent went up surprisingly quick and I think everyone of us brought at least one case of bottled water to share.  One by one the veterans started to arrive and after some introductions and a few fish stories we paired up and launched our little boats.
They almost look like there excited to get out on the water.
     The fishing of course started out fast and furious with a few bass and pike caught with in minutes.  Hooting and hollering was coming in over the radio and we were all having a great time.  Our group was small, but everyone was smiling and giving a thumbs up when they passed the launch.  The fishing slowed as we expected it would as the sun got higher overhead.  Still people were catching, okay losing fish on a pretty consistent basis.  You couldn't wipe the smiles off the faces of the vets in attendance.
Smiles all around for those in attendance.
     We continued on in the heat until lunch was announced over the radios.  Arriving back at the dock stories were being shared, fish pictures were being shown, and everybody was getting in line for some of the best catered food I've ever had.  I truly feel honored to have been asked to help out with the first ever event from the South Central Wisconsin Chapter of Heroes on the Water.  A huge THANK YOU to Adam, Mike, and I'm sure many more folks working behind the scenes for taking on the monumental task of getting a chapter started here in Madison.  Thanks also to Rutabaga Paddlesports for the kayaks, the Wisconsin DNR for the use of the fishing gear, and to all those who volunteered or donated anything to help make this event happen.  For more information about Heroes on the Water click the link here.  To get involved or donate to our local South Central Wisconsin Chapter follow the link here.
A great group of volunteers coming together for a worthy cause.
     Tight Lines.

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