Crappie Club Hosts Clarks Hill Veterans Day

Without veterans fighting for freedom, you can forget those wonderful Saturday mornings on the lake.

Brad Gill | April 4, 2019

The third-annual Peach State Crappie Club (PSCC) Veterans Event was held March 16 on Clarks Hill as a way to show appreciation to those who have served our country in the armed forces.

“We take them fishing, it’s a great day of fellowship and a way to thank them for their service to our country. It’s because of them that we can fish,” said PSCC President Scott Williams, of Cochran.

There were 30 volunteer boats who volunteered their time to take 50 veterans out for a day on the lake.

Doug Selby has his pontoon boat specially rigged to carry veterans who have been injured and require a wheelchair, like the happy angler here. Selby is also a veteran and is able to connect with the participants.

“We had to cap it at 50 veterans this year because we didn’t have boats to take them,” said Scott. “We don’t have enough members in our club to support it. There were eight to 10 people, not even members, who volunteered their time to bring their boat and take these guys fishing.”

The day started off with a free breakfast sponsored by Cliatt’s Crossing in Lincolnton. Then anglers went fishing, hoping to weigh in seven big slabs at a mid-afternoon weigh-in. Although the day was set up in a tournament format, there wasn’t the anxiety that can come with a more standard day of tournament fishing. After all, the day was all about the serving the veterans.

“We were telling everyone what we were catching, how we were catching them, what we were catching them on because we wanted everybody to catch fish. It wasn’t a competitive thing,” said Scott.

A 3 p.m. weigh-in was held and a lunch was provided by DairyLane in Sandersville. Bass Pro Shops and some small, local businesses helped award prizes and plaques for those with the heaviest stringers, and someone did donate a cash prize for the biggest single fish caught in the tournament. Each veteran took home a Lews American Hero rod/reel combo.

Mr. Wilson, who has received two purple hearts for his service in Vietnam, enjoys some crappie fishing on March 16.

“These businesses go way out of their way to make sure these guys are taken care of on that day,” said Scott.

Paul Johnson, of Eatonton, won the event with seven fish that weighed 11.20 pounds. Paul was fishing with Veteran Jose Bigio, and they also had big fish of the day, a 2.21-lb. slab.

“Most everybody was longline trolling fishing real shallow in the water column over real deep water, like 4 feet deep over 18 feet, in the creeks,” said Scott. “Paul was fishing in Lloyd Creek, there were a lot there and lot at Amity.”

This annual tournament is for anyone who have served, or is currently serving, in the United States military. It’s expected that the event will take place again the same time next year on Clarks Hill.

“We’ve always done this on Clarks Hill because that’s where we’ve got the most turn out on boaters,” said Scott. “Getting the veterans is the easy part, getting the boats to help take the veterans is the challenge.”

If you’d like to help Scott continue to grow the Peach State Crappie Club Veterans Event, call him at (478) 230-2084. You can also follow the club on Facebook.

Paul Johnson (right) and Veteran Jose Bigio (center) won the event. They are presented with first-place plaques by Dereck Fulton, a veteran with the U.S. Army and the tournament’s organizer.


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