When I take a second to look back on my life, I can never remember a time when fishing was not a part of it. I remember early mornings as a kid, waiting for my newspaper delivery to be made long before the sun was up, so that I could get on my bike and make my route. The sooner I got all those papers delivered, the sooner I could grab my gear and make the 5 mile bike ride to the closet lake.
Every weekend was an adventure and by Wednesday afternoon I could barely stand being in class in anticipation of the weekend. Fishing was my time, my escape, my motivation. I never imagined that this passion of mine, this hobby would become what it is for me today.
Many years later not much has changed, come Wednesday afternoon I can barely concentrate on anything but the countdown to the weekend and the pursuit of bass. There is one difference as it relates to my life and that is my affiliation with the ArmyBassAnglers organization. ABA opened my eyes to fact that my passion, my love for fishing can benefit other people.
As an ArmyBassAnglers Pro I have had the opportunity to embrace the pillars of our organization which are to SUPPORT.DEFEND.FISH – Sounds simple, but it’s very complex and honestly one of the most rewarding things I have ever been a part of.
As a proud Army veteran and avid fisherman, I understood the Defend and Fish, but it was not until my time with the ArmyBassAnglers that I truly began to understand the Support pillar. I quickly found that I gleaned as much from that dynamic as I did from fishing.
The ArmyBassAnglers as an organization raises so much awareness and money for our non-profits that it’s difficult to imagine the lives touched by our organization. As an organization we work events, make T.V. & radio appearances, conduct raffles, sell merchandise, take veterans fishing and support our service members home and abroad. With that said, I always knew we were doing good for our non-profits, but seeing the individual results were at times difficult.
That all changed this last November when I met some of the most amazing people in my life. In November, several of us pro anglers on the ABA team had the honor of fishing with kids from A Soldiers Child Foundation on the ArmyBassAnglers hit T.V. show “Force on Force”. These kids have seen unimaginable hardship losing a parent to combat operations in the service of this great nation.
I never could have imagined the impact a few days of filming a T.V. show with these kids at Toledo Bend could have on my life. During this time, we fished with them, ate with them, laughed with them, and sometimes privately cried for them. For those few days, I was able to see firsthand why our organization works so hard at that SUPPORT pillar, and how many people we impact.
Those kids are as heroic as their fallen parent and their sacrifice can never be forgotten. My only hopes are that our time together was as positive and memorable for them as it was for us. Thanks to all of the ASCF kids that made such an impression on us, thanks for making the SUPPORT pillar that much clearer for me. I am a better man as a result of our time together.
Eric Bruss – ArmyBassAnglers National Pro-Staff & Host of “Press the Attack” on the HOOAH Channel