In the Name of Honor, Service, and Sacrifice
by Ron Presley
A bringing together of warriors by Patriot Catfishing INC.
It was only five years ago when Kevin Breedlove, a veteran himself, began bringing some of the nation’s warriors to Alabama to go fishing. Kevin is a veteran with 24 years of service, he is a catfisherman, and he had a dream to share his love of catfishing with other veterans. Since 2019 Kevin, his brother Roger, and a host of volunteers and supporters have used free catfishing trips for wounded veterans to build upon the camaraderie and brotherhood that naturally exists between veterans. They do it all under the name of Patriot Catfishing INC.
To begin with, the effort was financed out of his own pocket. As the success of his adventures for veterans has caught on more and more people have joined ranks with Patriot Catfishing in support of a most worthwhile cause.
Kevin’s brother Roger has been there at his side from the start. He shares the same interest and desire to honor and give back to veterans through catfishing. He can be found most weeks with another veteran on board his SeaArk bending those Catch the Fever Hellcat Rods.
The participants began arriving around noon at the Cotton Gin at Robinsons Farms in Rogersville. They were assigned lodging arrangements and fed if they were hungry. Those who wanted to fish that afternoon were provided boats and captains to try their luck before returning to the
The weather was a little dicey but that didn’t keep more than 30 volunteer boaters from teaming up with veterans to give them a great day on the water. The participating veteran anglers came from as far away as Texas and Maine to enjoy some great Tennessee River catfishing.
Many volunteers give their time willingly to support the veterans who are invited to the water to have some fun and hang out with like-minded individuals. Scott Lovelace is one such volunteer who also serves the organization as Secretary. Lovelace recently reported on the 2023 Spring Patriot Catfishing INC event.
“We had 27 veterans and their families,” reported Lovelace. “We had a couple of fish in the 70-pound class and more in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Many of the vets caught their personal best catfish during the event.”
Age-wise the vets ranged from the Korean War to current activity duty warriors. The Korean War vet, 88-year-old Mr. Rudy McCarley was honored and recognized with a customized reel provided by River Rats Reel Repair to mount on his new Catch the Fever Patriot Catfishing Hellcat Rod.
McCarley was in the hospital with pneumonia just a few hours before the event began. Demonstrating just how important this event was to him, his family brought him to the event because Rudy said he just couldn’t miss it.
McCarley brought his photo of a big blue that he caught on a previous fishing trip with Roger Breedlove. Folks at the event gathered around him at the Cotton Gin to shake his hand and sign his treasured photo (photo above).
The event is fished like a tournament with a weigh-in but it is described more as a friendly competition. The fish weights establish bragging rights, but no trophies are given based on the fish. Instead, a drawing is held to give a red, white, and blue patriotic catfish plaque to one lucky vet and one lucky boat captain. The beautiful trophies were provided by Josh Roth at Rivers Edge Reproductions.
The lucky boat captain was Jason Sudderth, himself a retired vet. He hosted Air Force Vietnam Veteran Mr. Harold Richmond who caught six fish up to 20 pounds.
“The replica plaque is a true work of art,” commented a happy Jason Sudderth. “Josh with River’s Edge Reproductions did an amazing job and actually made it look like ripples in the flag. From my understanding, the actual plank that it is mounted on came out of the Mississippi River. Josh signed the back and I’ve already got it on display at the house.”
The second replica plaque went to Josh Pratt. The lucky vet is currently on active duty. He has been stationed at JBER Alaska, deployed to Kuwait, Fort Drum, NY, Fort Benning GA, Kandahar, deployed to Afghanistan as part of the Security Force Assistance Brigade, and now Fort Campbell. He is a 915A Automotive Maintenance Warrant Officer.
Josh fished with Cad Daly and Christian Moore. Daly reported a tough day of fishing but a fun day on the water. “We had a great time,” Daly said.
“I didn’t do the best on fish, but I had a great time,” stated Pratt following the event. “I fished with Cad and Christian which made for an awesome day!”
These are but a few of the many joyous stories from the 2023 Patriot Catfishing INC. event. Post after post on social media by the volunteer captains and the participating angler veterans involved demonstrated what an awesome event this has become. One example came from volunteer captain, Wayne Reed.
“To say prayers were answered at the Patriot Catfishing Inc. spring event would be an understatement,” said Reed in a Facebook post. “I had the pleasure of having Christopher Tate and Dan Robles on the boat with me Friday and Saturday. We caught several fish Friday afternoon with the biggest in the high teens. Saturday morning we had the trip of a lifetime, we brought 3 fish to the scales with a weight of 176 lbs! Big Fish weighed in at 77.48 lbs. We put over 250lbs of fish over the rail total for the day.”
In the end, everyone took something home to remember the day. Each participating vet received a new Catch the Fever Hellcat Rod complete with a Penn Squall and a goodie bag full of clothing and accessories.
More important than the physical gifts were the memories made by these patriotic Americans as they enjoyed the camaraderie of some simple time on the water.
The 2023 Spring Patriot Catfishing, INC. event was a huge success. If you would like to be a part of Patriot Catfishing INC. there are several ways that you can help.
If you know of a disabled veteran who would enjoy being out on the water and catching some nice catfish, contact the Patriot Catfishing INC. organization. They will work with you and your special veteran to make it happen.
You can also donate to support the effort. There is a convenient and secure online donation site to make it easy and hassle-free. Click here to use PayPal to make your donation. Alternatively, you can send donations directly to PO Box 581, Pleasant View, Tennessee 37146-0581.
The organization can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can pick up the phone and give them a call at (615) 712-3908. Follow them on Facebook to keep up with current activities.
All donations are tax-deductible and go towards supporting the veterans. Your donations are used toward travel expenses, fishing licenses, bait, tackle, fuel, boat maintenance, lodging, and meals.
Finally, If you are a business and would like to get involved with Patriot Catfishing INC., don’t hesitate to reach out.