Friday, April 13, 2007

Fishing in Iraq!!!!!

"This is me and I didn’t catch it. (But I did spend a night in a Holiday Inn Express before coming over). Note about myself, defiantly not a writer, I am just an old country boy working as an EOD Tech in Iraq, trying to share a favorite pastime. You can tell by the story and its structure, the only book I ever read cover to cover was a match book."
-Jim Turner

Let me show you a real combat fisherman,
SFC Steve Hatch from Morton, MS caught this monster.

Power is the desert is shown by water. Saddam Hussein showed his power by building huge lakes around his palaces. He had them stocked with a variety of carp-like fish.

I first became aware of fishing in Iraq through a wonderful blog called the Baghdad School of Fly Fishing, written by Navy Lt. Joel Stewart. I waited anxiously for his new posts and pictures of his students - deployed troops. It was evident that these few stolen hours of joy were a great boost to the morale of these people.

A fellow Central Oregonian, Jim Turner of Madras, has recently returned from Iraq. He was there as a contractor working in EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal). He had heard about fishing in Iraq and took his gear. After arriving, he wrote a piece for a fishing newsletter and the Vancouver Wildlife League got involved in sending tackle to the troops in Iraq. Once Jim had enough tackle, he started fishing derbies - grand prize - your name posted in the MWR and bragging rights. The benefits - a few hours of peace and joy in a war zone. To read his funny and moving story, go to his web site. Here is a sample:

"In the early days going fishing was the only real break you got from the war. You could totally take your mind off the pressure and put your self back on your favorite hometown lake. Believe me, we didn’t care that it was 130 degrees and no shade, we were fishing. We were fishing with any tackle we could put together and with anything that would pass for bait, sausage from breakfast, hot dogs from lunch, all kinds of bread and we also found they liked Fruit Loops (but it was hard to get the Loops to stay on a hook). These fish even eat dates.

"Fishing here is also a great way to meet and learn from the fishermen from other countries. It seems like no matter where they come from fishermen are all alike. They lie. Their stories are just as tall as ours. It has given us the chance to speak with the Swedes, Brits, Aussies, Polls, New Zealanders and a bunch more. The sad part of meeting and getting to know these fishing buddies is at anytime, this friend may loose his life and some have. We have lost fishing buddies to IEDs and Suicide Bombers."

Recently, morning show hosts, Scott Schuler and Angie Foster, of KRKT 99.9, started a drive to get fishing gear for the troops.

Members of the fishing forum,, got involved in purchasing and collecting tackle.

Mitch Webb, handle "Kevin's Driftboat" on ifish, has offered to answer questions for any of the troops at the forum. His handle is in memory of his best fishing buddy, Kevin Davis, who was killed in Iraq on April 6, 2005.

Kevin Davis

Drop off your fishing gear at:
2840 Marion St.
Albany, OR 97322
For more information call (541) 926-8628

Thank You to the Anglers who have given such a wonderful gift to our troops!
Thank you to Jim Turner for permission to use his photos and tell his story.
And, for the wonderful gift he shared with so many.

Thank you to the Oregonian


Ron Simpson said...

there is something about fishing that touches a primeval spot in a man. that first time you hook and land the big one give a huge rush of self satisfaction and pride. somewhere down deep it means, that yes, I can take care of myself in the wild if my plane crashed.

De'on Miller said...

I love Ron's comment and this was a great post!

Jim has an excellent voice! And what great fish! But carp? ugh. But the sport--EVERY TUG IS A THRILL, EVEN WHEN IT'S A PAIR OF OLD THROWN AWAY BRIEFS! NOW THAT'S REAL UGH, but the underwear were heavy and I enjoyed the fight.

The Fish at Al-Faw said...

We Fish at Al-Faw Palace, Camp Victory, VBC, Baghdad, Iraq, very much appreciate the "Catch and Release" style of fishing that the Baghdad Anglers Club supports.

After all, as long as the Fish live in the lakes on the Victory Base Complex, Iraq will continue to have hope for the future.