The United Special Sportsman Alliance (USSA) held its second annual catfishing fishing trip at Pickwick Landing State Park in Counce, TN, on September 24th and 25th.
The fishermen and their families gathered at First Baptist Church Counce for a delicious supper served by their members, followed by an educational program showcasing a live owl and sparrow hawk sponsored by Pickwick Landing State Park Rangers. The following morning, the anglers and their families headed to one of the top fishing spots renowned for its giant catfish. Twenty-three children and their parents from Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee were thrilled to embark on a fishing trip in hopes of catching a big catfish.
Ginny, the mother of Piper (10) and Ruby (7), was initially unsure how the girls would handle the fishing experience, Ginny was pleasantly surprised by their excitement upon catching their first fish. They managed to catch two catfish in total, allowing both girls to reel in a catch. However, their favorite part of the trip was going fast in the boat.
Eddie shared that his children, Anna Kate (11) and Asher, 8, who has Down syndrome, enjoyed catching two catfish weighing 9 and 12.5 pounds. Anna also mentioned that her son Daniel (6) had a fantastic time and caught a giant catfish. This experience was truly unforgettable and will always hold a special place in their hearts. According to Angie, Joshua (10) caught six fish during the trip. Our favorite part of the experience was observing a wonderful group of fishermen interacting with the children and sharing their passion for fishing. Everyone was all smiles! Additionally, we appreciated the opportunity to learn about the owl and kestrel and see them up close.
Kelly shared that thanks to their skilled fishermen, his sons Kamden (11) and Aiden (13) caught three giant catfish, one weighing approximately 40 pounds. The boys expressed that this was the best fishing trip they had ever been on and were excited to use the new skills they learned on their local river. For Kelly, the best part of the trip was seeing the joy and excitement on his boys’ faces while reeling in their massive catches. This experience will be one they will never forget.
Susanna shared that their catfishing trip was a tremendous respite from daily life for their whole family. We managed to catch a total of 18 catfish, and the children are really excited to continue using their new fishing poles at home. We are incredibly thankful to everyone who dedicated their time, effort, and resources to make this trip possible for us. It truly felt like we were royalty! This getaway will always hold a special place in our hearts as a joyful and memorable experience, and we express our sincere gratitude to all involved.
David happily shared that his two children, Dylan (19) and Kaden (14), had a wonderful time fishing and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Kaden was particularly excited to have reeled in a catfish and learn about its weight. Dylan also had a great time and caught four catfish by himself. He couldn’t help but burst into laughter when the boat accelerated. The family was able to catch a total of nine catfish, with the largest one weighing in at 30 lbs. The family expressed their gratitude for such an unforgettable experience. He added, “In these uncertain times, it is refreshing to be surrounded by kind souls and be able to unplug for a short time.”
Upon returning to the dock, families and volunteers eagerly awaited the unveiling of everyone’s catch. After taking photos, the fishermen and kids safely released their fish back into the Tennessee River.
The Hardin County Fire Department served a delicious lunch provided by Bubba’s Smoke Shack. The children received B&M fishing poles with Grizzly Jig reels, educational packs and Zebco fishing rods from the TWRA, autographed hats and videos from Bill Dance, and other fishing-related gifts.
Many thanks to the Catfish anglers, Lodge at Pickwick Landing, Pickwick Landing State Park, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, First Baptist Church Counce, B & M Fishing, Bubba’s Smoke Shack, Hardin County Fire Department, and Fat Fish Designz. Also, the many wonderful USSA volunteers and donors who provided the necessities and dollars to support this fantastic event. Special thanks to Cedric Poynor for his outstanding job organizing the fishing event. God bless!
If you want to get involved or know of a deserving family who would benefit from this event, don’t hesitate to contact United Special Sportsman Alliance at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 518-8019.