Bassmaster Anglers visit heroes at VA hospital

Bassmaster Anglers visit heroes at VA hospital
Bassmaster Anglers visit heroes at VA hospital
Bassmaster Anglers visit heroes at VA hospital

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — “Visiting the vets is a very humbling experience; it always is,” Bassmaster Elite Series pro Edwin Evers said outside of a Central Alabama Veterans Health System hospital. “They’ve given up so much so we can do what we do.”

Evers’ sentiment was echoed by all of the Bassmaster Elite Series All-Stars who went to the Montgomery VA hospital this morning. They met with numerous veterans who served in Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East.

Most all of the veterans were fishermen of one sort or another. Frank Graham, a Vietnam veteran, said he enjoys fishing in Mobile Bay, Ala., as well as Tampa Bay, Fla.

“I love deep sea fishing and bass fishing and think that it’s just great that these guys made it out today,” Graham said. “But, I want whoever wins the money this week to remember me!”


The All-Stars signed autographs and posed for photos with the veterans. Conversation topics ranged from catfishing to cooking fish to today’s modern SONAR/GPS systems and how the military uses many of these technologies.


“This is real nice,” DeWayne Williams said as he shook hands with Steve Kennedy, Aaron Martens and Ott DeFoe. “I hope I can make it to weigh-in.”


As the group wound through the hallways of the hospital, one room caught their eye. It was an office decorated with fishing-related things, including numerous bass and salmon.

Dr. Schaffner, the occupant of the office and a dedicated angler, was not there today, but Gerald Swindle had one of the nurses dial him up for an interesting “prank” call.

Swindle heckled the doctor for a few minutes until his identity was revealed. Schaffner was disappointed that he could not be in attendance to meet some of his favorite anglers, Swindle included.


“There are only a couple things that could have kept me away,” Schaffner said.

Later, Trip Weldon revealed Schaffner to be one of the best anglers on the Alabama River, site of the head-to-head battles starting Friday.

The highlight for many of the veterans was getting to share fish stories with the pros. The VA hospital covers a wide area, not just Montgomery. Brian Henderson lives on Lake Eufaula, a lake many of the nine anglers have fished.


“These guys fish around my dock all the time,” Henderson said. “I tell them where to catch fish some times.”

James Kelley was visiting family at the hospital when he heard Michael Iaconelli was there and rushed into the hallway.

“I have always wanted to meet KVD and Mike Iaconelli,” Kelley said. “We fish everywhere around here, but I really like watching that Iaconelli on TV.”

The anglers had signed a few B.A.S.S. hats and were giving them out to the people they saw. Johnny Nelson put his on right away and was walking around the halls showing it off.

Nelson offered some advice to the anglers competing this weekend. “Don’t do anything that will get you in trouble.”

For more information about Toyota Trucks All-Star Week, visit Bassmaster.com.

2011 Bassmaster Elite Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha

2011 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Lowrance, Luck “E” Strike, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Ramada

About B.A.S.S.

For more than 40 years, B.A.S.S. has served as the authority on bass fishing. The organization advances the sport through advocacy, outreach and an expansive tournament structure while connecting directly with the passionate community of bass anglers through its Bassmaster media vehicles.

The Bassmaster brand and its multimedia platforms are guided by a mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications — Bassmaster Magazine and B.A.S.S. Times — comprehensive website Bassmaster.com, ESPN2 and Outdoor Channel television programming, Bassmaster provides rich, leading-edge content true to the lifestyle.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, B.A.S.S. Federation Nation events presented by Yamaha and Skeeter Boats and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic.

B.A.S.S. offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members and remains focused on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

Recommended for You

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish. Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

G&F Online Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

Crankbaits mimic exactly what they eat when hungry — other fish! Bass

Baitfish for Bass: Search, Suspend or Sink Crankbaits

Jason Houser - May 21, 2019

Crankbaits mimic exactly what they eat when hungry — other fish!

Our picks for stuffable protection against any weather.

Field Tested: Lightweight Raingear

David Draper - May 30, 2019

Our picks for stuffable protection against any weather.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

New 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch from Simms

Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead gets new product details from Simms Fishing Product's John Frazier about the new waterproof 4-Liter Dry Creek Gear Pouch.

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Lure Lock Options Includes LED Light Boxes & More

Pro angler Jonathan VanDam showcases new offerings at ICAST 2019, including the ultra-thin, big bait boxes, LED-lighted boxes and backpack-able gear lockers. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

13 Fishing Pathfinder Weedless Walking Bait

Fresh off catching the biggest bass in ICAST Cup history, 13 Fishing pro Jessie Mizell shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Big Squirm soft plastic worm and the company's unique Pathfinder topwater walking bait that is totally weedless in design.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

We all have our Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper - April 02, 2015

We all have our "swear by" bait for catfish. For me, it is chicken liver, live shad or my...

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record. Walleye

Record-Sized Walleye Was Foul-Hooked, Agency Says

G&F Online Staff

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record.

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.