Skip to main content

Strangers Become Friends

Warriors on the Water taking military members fishing since 2006

Strangers Become Friends
The Big Bass Award was in memory of Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller.

CHATHAM COUNTY, N.C. – With the command to start engines, more than 150 high-speed bass boats turned the peaceful waters of Jordan Lake here into a churning mass of white foam.

Each boat carried a military service member from across North Carolina during the 7th annual Warriors on the Water Military Appreciation Bass Fishing Tournament. They were all hoping to claim the top prizes in the tournament that honors military members for their service but in the end, they came away with much more.

Three retired Desert Storm veterans who wanted to show their appreciation to the men and women who are still serving started the tournament in 2006.

“It’s not just about the fishing to win,” said Hal Abshire, Warriors on the Water president.


He said the military members “feel more relaxed out on the water” and will talk with their fishing partners, some of who are military veterans themselves.


“This is a great way to say ‘Thank you’,” he said. “This tournament costs the military nothing.”

Three Army Reserve Command headquarters personnel were some of the lucky ones chosen to participate.

Master Sgts. Anthony Garner, Kenneth Skinner, and LeRoy Tousant spent the day hoping to land a big winner.

But for the trio and the rest of the competitors, even having an experienced angler in the boat didn’t make that many fish fill up their livewells in the boats.


“I was excited!” Skinner said. “I couldn’t wait to show up for this. Even though we didn’t catch very many fish we were out there on the water flipping the rod and we had a great time.”

Like many fish stories, Skinner, and his partner, Brad Kimrey, had a “big one that got away.”

“It was cool to turn around and see his rod bent about halfway over … and him not knowing what was going on until that big one jumped out of the water,” Kimrey said. “Unfortunately, it jumped off about halfway to the boat.”


Tousant and his partner Richard Jensen landed two keepers totaling a little more than nine pounds.

“He (Richard) told me to just keep throwing and be consistent and don’t give up,” Tousant said.

For Garner, he said his day couldn’t have gotten any better – well, maybe if had caught some fish.

“The sun was shining, the water was smooth, it was a good day,” Garner said with a wide grin. “Unfortunately, we did not catch one fish, but we had a good time.”

Besides being on the water and trying to land a trophy fish, the program provided the soldiers something perhaps a little more lasting – the opportunity to build new friendships.

“It’s a fun time,” Tousant said. “Strangers become friends.”

For more information about Warriors on the Water, visit their website at www.facebook.com/WarriorsontheWater

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Daiwa Saltiga Lever Drag Saltwater Reel

Daiwa Saltiga Lever Drag Saltwater Reel

In this ICAST Fishing Gear Guide video, Mark Mills with Daiwa and Florida Sportsman's Jeff Weakley talk off-shore fishing gear.

Strike King Ned Rage Craw

Strike King Ned Rage Craw

In-Fisherman's Todd Ceisner sits down with Mark Zona to discuss the new Ned Rage Craw to hear all about how this little finesse bait, is going to get you those extra couple bites when times get tough.

Yo-Zuri

Yo-Zuri's 3DB Pencil Popper, 3DB Jerkbait 110 & 110 Deep

Bass pro Clent Davis gives the inside info on Yo-Zuri's new-for-ICAST lures.

Yo-Zuri Mag Popper & 3D Inshore TopKnock Pencil

Yo-Zuri Mag Popper & 3D Inshore TopKnock Pencil

Yo-Zuri pro Carter Andrews discusses new saltwater fishing lures with Florida Sportsman's Jeff Weakley as part of our 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The best jig fisherman are those that are always aware of what their jig is doing.4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass Bass

4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

The best jig fisherman are those that are always aware of what their jig is doing.

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies can be profound, even when fishing the same lake or river.How to Catch Catfish Day and Night Fishing How-To

How to Catch Catfish Day and Night

Terry Madewell

While catfish are still catfish, the difference between day and night tactics and strategies...

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some great bass pond fishing.Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You Bass

Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You

Dan Anderson

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some...

Sight Savvy: Different styles of bow sights each have their strengths—and weaknesses.How to Pick the Right Bow Sight for You Bows

How to Pick the Right Bow Sight for You

Tony Hansen - August 25, 2020

Sight Savvy: Different styles of bow sights each have their strengths—and weaknesses.

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

'Entering a fishing tournament is like gambling. If you can afford it, go for it, but I'm not bankrolling you.'Money Fish: Things Change When Cash is on the Line Stories

Money Fish: Things Change When Cash is on the Line

Jeff Johnston - August 05, 2020

'Entering a fishing tournament is like gambling. If you can afford it, go for it, but I'm not...

Cabela's agrees to be bought by Bass Pro Shops in a deal valued at $5.5 billion that will combine the top two hunting and fishing retailers in the United StatesBass Pro Shops 'Reels In' Cabela's with $5.5 Billion Deal Stories

Bass Pro Shops 'Reels In' Cabela's with $5.5 Billion Deal

Abhijith Ganapavaram and Sruthi Shankar

Cabela's agrees to be bought by Bass Pro Shops in a deal valued at $5.5 billion that will...

As the official zone maps of Pool 8 were handed out for the Championship Round of the 2016 Summit Cup on the Mississippi River, the six finalists scoured the maps like scratch-off lottery tickets, hoping their numbers would come up big.Past Experience Squashed by Fishing Zone Boundaries for Championship Stories

Past Experience Squashed by Fishing Zone Boundaries for Championship

Rob Newell, MajorLeagueFishing.com

As the official zone maps of Pool 8 were handed out for the Championship Round of the 2016...

As wintertime takes hold, power plant lake bass fishing heats up for anglers that focus on a lake's optimal water temperatures.For Wintertime Power Plant Bass Lakes, Water Temperature is Key Stories

For Wintertime Power Plant Bass Lakes, Water Temperature is Key

Lynn Burkhead, OSG Senior Digital Editor

As wintertime takes hold, power plant lake bass fishing heats up for anglers that focus on a...

See More Stories

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now