2013 Fishing for Freedom Bass Tournament
Oct. 18-19, 2013
Registration will start the morning of September 1, 2013.
If you participated last year then you should receive an e-mail alert in your e-mail in-box. If not then check out this site for the link to the registration site.
Lake Belton, TX
OCTOBER 19-20, 2012
7th Annual Fishing for Freedom Bass Tournament
We had a great event. Fishing was very tough with lots of dinks being caught but I believe everyone had a good time. It appears the final count was 296 teams, our largest tournament yet. Fishermen came from as far away as Alabama to make sure no soldier was left behind. Bill Guzman from Leander and Enrique Reyna of Ft. Hood took first place with 5 fish weighing over 14lbs. This is Bill's second time to take first place. Thanks to all the boaters, the sponsors, the volunteers and most of all to our military who make all of this possible. Save the date for 2013 as our 8th annual Fishing for Freedom bass tournament is set for Oct. 18-19. We'll get the photographs posted in a few days.
Bill Guzman & Enrique Reyna
2012 Fishing for Freedom Champions
Boaters will be randomly matched up with non-boaters based on the time they enter. To make the event fair for all participants you will not be able to pick your partner. We will take the first 300 registrants for boaters and non-boaters and if we get more we will put them on a standby list. Our goal is to leave no active duty member of the military or veteran behind. The boater may be a civilian but the non-boater must be active duty or a veteran.
Congratulations and a big Texas THANK YOU to all the boaters and volunteers who showed up this past weekend to participate in our 6th Annual Fishing for Freedom bass tournament. We had 282 teams and since some of the boat owners were active duty and former military we had well over 300 members of the armed forces participating. This event would have not been possible without all the sponsors who gave of their product and cash donations to pay the expenses and to make sure no soldier was without a gift bag of goodies. But we especially wish to thank our military for what they do every day to maintain our freedoms. We may disagree when it comes to religion and politics but there is no disagreement that the USA is the greatest nation on earth because of the hearts of its people.
You can post your comments and photographs to our Facebook group page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/252981128069883/.
Rick, Cliff, Mary, Mary and Maggie
Check out the photos and stories of past tournaments below:
T.K Bouressa, Cliff Brown, Rick Smith, Bill Guzman
T.K and Bill were the winners of the 5th Annual Fishing for Freedom tournament and also won big bass.
Please note that the photographs are NOT copyrighted and you are welcome to download any or all. Just click on "View All Sizes" (any size) and then right click to send to your printer. We're not sure why this is necessary but it works!
Fishing for Freedom Results. Thanks to everyone who participated and who helped make our 5th annual event a success. Remember to support our sponsors who gave so generously of their time and dollars.
Sports News Article
27 September 2010
For Immediate Release
On the Dock with Rick Smith
Take a Soldier Fishing
The 5th Annual Fishing for Freedom bass tournament was held this past Saturday on Lake Belton. Fishing for Freedom is a free open bass tournament where boaters volunteer their time, boats and tackle to take a member of the armed forces on a fun-filled day of tournament style fishing. Over 240 boaters from all over the nation came to town to participate and to honor our military heroes. Friday night over 1,000 people gathered at the Killeen Convention Center to eat some great Texas BBQ, which was sponsored by Texas Partners Federal Credit Union, Ft. Hood BOSS, Texas Boat World, Marine Outlet, Academy Sports & Outdoors and Stanley Motor Group. Then acting Ft. Hood Commander, Major General Will Grimsley, welcomed everyone to Central Texas and thanked them for their efforts on behalf of the military. The keynote speaker, boat building legend and Triton Boat Company President, Earl Bentz, honored the military for giving us the freedoms that we enjoy every day. Earl said that after the events of 9/11 he wanted to join up to answer our nation’s call. Wiser heads suggested that he could do more for the nation by staying home and encouraging and supporting the military, which he has committed to doing. It is worth noting that Earl has donated almost $150,000 in boats, motors and trailers to Fishing for Freedom over the last six years and this is only one of several events that he supports across the nation.
Saturday morning starting at 4:30 found the boat owners and soldiers launching their boats at the various boat ramps on Lake Belton. There was not a breath of air and humidity hung heavily, casting an eerie glow off the navigation lights of the boats. By 6:30 am the boaters anxiously awaited safe daylight for the tournament to start. Sgt. Goss of Ft. Hood sang the National Anthem and then Chaplain Cpt. Pena blessed the fleet. Jeff Cook, weigh master, started the teams based on their team number. Each team was allowed approximately 30 seconds to work their way toward the main lake before the next team started. This allowed for an orderly start. In order to make the fishing times about the same for all teams, the teams that started first had to weigh-in at 1:00 pm and then every flight of 25 teams weighed-in at 15 minute intervals.
A large tent and stadium seating was supplied by Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area (BLORA) for the weigh-in. The first flight of 25 boats started showing back up at the weigh-in at BLORA at 12:30 pm. Everything was moving along smoothly until a storm blew in from the north bring lightening, winds and heavy rains. Many of the teams rushed back to the safety of the dock and tent to weigh-in early and avoid the severe weather conditions. Some of the boaters had to beach their boats on the shore. Fortunately no one was hurt.
The winning team of Bill Guzman and T.K. Bouressa caught three fish weighing a total of 13.32 pounds. They also received big bass honors with their largest fish being 7.99 pounds. For their efforts they won over $2,000 in cash and a brand new Triton bass boat with Mercury outboard motor worth almost $20,000. Not bad for a tournament where neither the boater nor the soldier had to pay an entry fee. Second place went to Eric Wendeborn and his soldier Justin Baker. They won over $2,500. Payouts went to the top 15 teams and hundreds of door prizes were given out to the participants.
The 240 teams caught a total of 297 fish weighing 556 pounds giving an average weight of 1.87 pounds. Fifty-four percent of the field caught one or more fish. The fish were released back into Lake Belton.
The Fishing for Freedom foundation is already planning next year’s event for sometime in October.
You may put your boat in at any ramp but must report to BLORA by 6:30 am for your numbered flight start. No fishing is allowed until your number is called.
For more information you may e-mail either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your support of Fishing for Freedom!
The 2009 Fishing for Freedom bass tournament sponsored by the Central Texas Marine Association may be history, but the fun, fellowship and camaraderie will be a living history in the hearts of all who participated. 230 teams representing 460 fishermen and almost 100 volunteers made sure the event was a success.
Boaters, we wish to thank you for such fantastic participation. Fishermen from as far away as Washington State, Colorado, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas and Louisiana drove hundreds of miles to participate. We are happy to announce that every soldier who signed up had a fishing partner. "No soldier left behind!" Sponsors, we wish to thank you for your generous support, without your donations none of this would be possible. Special mention goes out to Texas Partners Federal Credit Union and to the Ft. Hood BOSS program for sponsoring the Friday night BBQ. Thanks to Academy Sports & Outdoors for their generous gifts and promotional efforts. Three cheers to Mike Mennor and his MWR/BLORA crew for their dedication, hard work and for allowing us to stage this event at BLORA. A BIG Texas handshake and thank you to the owners and crews of Texas Boat World and Marine Outlet for the hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars that they donated to make the weekend a roaring success. And to the photographers, Sherran Bard and Kaylene McClafferty, who came from hundreds of miles away at their own expense to photograph this event so we have a permanent record-job well done! To the volunteers that have worked tirelessly to make this event possible, words cannot describe our appreciation for your efforts-THANK YOU.
Pictured below left to right: Fisherman Gary Klein, E5 Clayton Caver and his family posing with their brand new boat won at the Fishing for Freedom tournament. 2009 winners.
Photo courtesy Sherran Bard, Eyes of Texas Photography
Photo Courtesy Mike McClafferty, USAF, taken by his wife Kaylene on Lake Belton."May the sun never set on the home of the brave, the land of the free.""We believe in all our hearts in democracy; in the capacity of the people to govern themselves; and we are bound to succeed, for our success means not only our own triumph, but the triumph of the cause of the rights of the people throughout the world, and the uplifting of the banner of hope for all the nations of mankind."
President Theodore Roosevelt - Saratoga, New York
September 27, 1910
We are a group of Central Texas businessmen and women who wish to thank our military for their service to our country. Our mission is to make sure each man and women who are serving have the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors of Texas. We offer free fishing trips on area lakes. Once a year we gather together the boaters of Central Texas with these heroes for a fishing tournament. The tournament is held on Lake Belton on Saturday and on Friday night we have a FREE BBQ dinner for all the participants along with some excellent fishing and boating seminars. The Friday night event is held at the Killeen Convention Center.
If you wish to donate money or prizes for this event then please contact us. There is no charge to boaters and to the non-boaters but pre-registration is required.