Here in the United States, we fish for many reasons: relaxation, competition, to share time with family and friends, or simply to become closer to our environment by actively participating in it.
For the members of our Armed Forces in Iraq, motivations for fishing certainly include all of same reasons, but perhaps a few more: to let their guard down if only for a short time, to connect with a passion enjoyed back home, to create an experience that is easily shared with loved ones and to truly find the “relaxation” in R&R.
In the Spring of 2010, Okuma was approached by Operation Catch Fish, a program put together by Joe Mercurio, host of the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series. In conjunction with Armed Forces Entertainment and the Bagdad Anglers Club, Operation Catch Fish III was headed to Bagdad to put on a weeklong series of base visits, casting competitions and clinics, culminating in the Bagdad Fishing Derby held at Camp Victory in a lake formerly reserved for use only by Saddam and his guests.
The goals of Operation Catch Fish are simple: boost troop morale, create a fun event to serve as a momentary diversion and to offer a gift to every service member met as a symbol, however small, of our appreciation and support for the sacrifices they make every day.
Joining a group of sponsors that included Mustad, Costa, Reactor Sport Watches, Yamaha, Skeeter, Bullet Weights and Guy Harvey from the fishing community, Okuma donated 500 rod and reel combinations to the event that would stay with the troops.
We just received some photos back, and it’s with tremendous pride that we share them with you. It’s your support of Okuma Fishing Tackle that made this donation possible and we thank you with our deepest respect and gratitude.