Bass Challenge gives vets a chance to catch a big one


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Ed Kinberg, left, incoming chairman of the Veterans Resource Committee, and James King, store manager of Bass Pro Shops Stick Marsh Outpost in Palm Bay, are working together to help disabled veterans enjoy a day of fishing. Photo by George White

Giving disabled veterans a chance to go out bass fishing with new friends is the aim behind the second annual Stick Marsh Veterans Bass Challenge, Nov. 14.

The Melbourne Regional Chamber’s Veterans Resource Committee and Bass Pro Shops are hosting the event with presenting sponsor Allen & Company.

Vying for the biggest catch will be teams comprised of one disabled veteran, one boat captain and one dignitary or elected official.

“We had 26 boats last year and our goal this year is to have 50 for this year’s challenge,’’ said James King, Palm Bay Bass Pro Shops Stick Marsh Outpost store manager.

The store, which opened in December 2013, helps supply the veterans with the needed equipment and expertise for the event. Many store associates are among the volunteer captains, King said.

“It’s the ability to get the disabled veterans out there and spend some time on the water and meet a dignitary and get a chance to know them,’’ said Ed Kinberg, incoming chairman of the Veterans Resource Committee.

“It creates awareness of the issues of veterans from the boat captains and the government official side and it helps the veterans know the resources available. Sometimes these disabled veterans don’t have the resources to go out fishing so this is something enjoyable. They go out fishing for a day and come back for a little bit of recognition,’’ he said.

According to stickmarsh.com, created in 1987, Central Florida’s Stick Marsh/Farm 13 Reservoir is synonymous with trophy bass and other fishing. This approximately 6,700-acre reservoir (3,000 in the Stick Marsh and 3,700 in the Farm 13 portion), near Fellsmere and Palm Bay, has been the hottest bass lake in the country during the past decade. Early in its life, it was heavily stocked with fish, both bass and crappie.

Teams and supporters will gather at the Bass Challenge After-Fishing BBQ to be held from 4 to 6 p.m. at Bass Pro Shops Stick Marsh Outpost in Palm Bay.

The event is free to participants, $25 for the general public. For more information, call 321-724-5400, ext. 233.