Silver Star & Purple Heart Navy Vet Iced The Big One

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It was a cold sunny morning when veteran Ben met up with his ice fishing guides Dale Young aka ‘Yard Man,’ and Darrell Kauth. The eager fishermen hooked their sleds full of gear to their 4-wheelers and headed out on snowy Green Lake. They allowed distance between the pop-up shanty to cover more lake bottom area, which would give everyone a better chance of finding fish.

Ben served in the U.S. Navy, and his primary duty stations were San Diego, CA, and Pearl Harbor, HI. He had seven combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart for his great sacrifice for our country.

Ben said, “On the tip-ups, I used a tri-hook baited with cisco. While rod fishing, I used different colors, sizes, and types of jigs to try and entice a bite. Some jigs I used provide a natural swim profile for baitfish. While others were simple jigs baited with either cisco or plastics.”

Once the tip-ups were baited and set in180-feet of water, Ben settled into his pop-up shanty and jig using a rod. So many fish were active on his ice-fishing sonar, yet he couldn’t entice one to bite!

Ben said, “I was looking out the small windows of an ice shanty to see that a tip-up flag popped up; knowing that a fish had struck was exciting. Racing to the flag and being taught by ‘Yard Man’ and Darrell on the spot how to set the hook and the techniques needed to get the fish to the surface successfully was helpful.”

Ben had nearly 100 yards of line out when he finally set the hook and the anticipation rose among him and the guys.

“Seeing the Lake Trout swimming below the hole in the ice was awesome. The sheer size of the fish made it seem impossible to fit through the hole. Once I could get the fish aligned, we were able to reach down and pull it through the hole. Being the biggest fish I’ve ever caught ice-fishing, I was thrilled!”

As the day’s fishing trip was nearly over, Ben reflected, “The best part of my trip was being outdoors, catching a monster 31″ Lake Trout, and most importantly, hanging out with two new friends that truly care about helping veterans.”

Thanks to Yard Man and Darrell for a fantastic fishing trip and everlasting friendship. Congratulations, Ben, on your Big Catch, and thank you for your service. God bless!

If you know of a deserving veteran who might want to attend a free fishing or hunting trip, please contact United Special Sportsman Alliance.