Aug 28 found ArmyBassAngler Pro Cody Roberson, almost the entire ArmyBassAnglers Pro Staff, Several Coalition Pro Staff, the Lake Fork Trophy Lures Owners, FLW Pro Mark Pack and Justin Rackley and the production crew of Veteran Outdoors all joining forces to spring a very special “trap” on Wounded Veteran SFC Matt Miles at the 2010 Bass Champs/Texas Fishing Forum 3 Fish Slam on Lake Fork, TX.
Veteran Outdoors Host Wes Higgins would spring the trap. Wes would pick up SFC Matt Miles in Round Rock, TX and the deception plan for Milese would simply be going for a little bit of fun fishing with Wes at Lake Fork, TX while filming a show to capture Matt’s personal story. Little would Matt know the surprise the Veteran Outdoor Staff and ArmyBassAnglers had waiting for him in Emory, TX.
As the group arrived, Wes played it perfectly, telling Matt they needed to stop at the famous Lake Fork Trophy Lure shop for some baits prior to hitting the water. Just inside, was an L-shaped ambush waiting for Matt—a surprise he’ll never forget. As the group entered the store they “just happened” to run into ArmyBassAnglers Pro Cody Roberson. Wes quickly took advantage of the situation and introduced Matt to Cody. Then Roberson sprung the trap, letting SFC Miles know that he wasn’t going to do some fun fishing with Wes Higgins. He was going to be Roberson partner in the Bass Champs/Texas Fishing Forum 3 Fish Slam competing for a brand new Skeeter ZX 190 and several thousands of dollars in payout money. SFC Miles was grinning ear-to-ear. But wait, that wasn’t all. Roberson brought in several special friends to introduce SFC Miles too. “Matt, I want you to meet my good friend FLW Pro, President of Lake Fork Trophy Lures and Walmart Open Champion Mark Pack and my other good friend FLW Pro and former 2007 Colliegient Champion Justin Rackley. They are going to take you thru the entire store on a shopping spree just for you Matt!”
That wouldn’t be the end of it, as SFC Miles executed every grown man’s dream a FREE shopping trip in Lake Fork Trophy Lures Store, the fun wasn’t even close to being over. “Matt, I’d like for you to meet Ronnie Parker, CEO of LFT and a close friend.” Ronnie Parker and his wife informed SFC Miles he would be staying at their personal lake house on Lake Fork for the duration of his visit. “Matt’s a big guy, but at this point when Mrs. Parker hugged Matt for his service and told him she had a cookies, muffins, and all kinds of goodies all prepared for him, I think he realized just how much everyone cared about him and his visit,” stated Roberson.
As the group departed the store, things were just getting started. Upon arrival at the registration location the surprises just kept coming. ArmyBassAnglers had arranged for even more fun. SFC Miles would meet almost the entire ArmyBassAnglers & several Coalition Pro Staff, then another surprise. SFC Miles was introduced to Bass Champs President Chad Potts who thanked him for his service and informed Matt that his entire entry fee had been comp’d by Bass Champs! “We just can’t thank you enough for your service and sacrifice. It’s the least we can do,” said Chad Potts.
After completion of registration and a personal lesson on pitching and flipping from the famous Big Sexy (aka Tony), from the Bass Champs staff, SFC Miles and the entire crew headed to Mosiers for a special dinner just for him. Everyone was full of trash talk and war stories from combat in multiple operations and different theaters. “It was incredible to just watch all the Pro Staff talk and share their experiences with SFC Miles. I think it was almost just as exciting and therapeutic for them as it was for Matt.”
Just when you thought the day couldn’t get better, everyone headed to the Parker Family lake house, also known as the LFT TOC Forward, for some special Class One goodies made by Mrs. Parker herself. There everyone continued the great conversations and then SFC Miles was presented several personal gifts from each ArmyBassAngler Pro on behalf of Castaway, Dobyns Rods, Ardent, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, TipSee Light Company, JaRod Jigs, Victory Tackle, Tightlines and Bass Pro Shops. “What a day, I just can’t believe all this. It really means a lot to me that everyone cares so much. I can’t thank yall enough,” stated SFC Miles as he thanked everyone. With that, day one came to a close with a 0430 wake-up call looming.
Day two (0430), everyone was excited and up and prepping for the day. SFC Miles was no stranger to early wakeups. Roberson and Miles loaded up and headed to the lake, but one last bit of business had to be taken care. SFC Miles was wearing a regular shirt. “What are you wearing? That’s not a tournament shirt. Take that crap off and put this on,” stated Roberson, while they were preparing to put the boat in the water. “You’re an Honorary ArmyBassAngler Pro now and our Pros wear professional tournament shirts,” stated Roberson as he tossed SFC Miles a brand new custom sublimated ArmyBassAnglers tournament shirt.
Then team of Roberson and Miles hit the water and moved to their first point in preparation for the first cast at 0600. “This day’s not about fishing. It’s about SFC Miles! I hope we do well…I want nothing more for him than to win, but more importantly I want us to have a good time and weigh in a limit so we can recognize this hero on the Bass Champs stage,” said Roberson.
It was a tough day of fishing, with high skies, no breeze and 85+ degree water temps— conditions were tough. But, the team managed to scratch out a limit and cull once. “We struggled early and I missed an Over that would have put us in the top 10, but I was more excited that Matt was going to cross the stage.” As the team made its way to weigh-in with 3 fish, everyone, even people that didn’t know him, was patting SFC Miles on the back, thanking him for his service. It was an awesome site to witness. As the team crossed the stage, they weighed in 3 “under” fish for 3.85 lbs. A 97th place finish out of 203 teams. At which point, in true Bass Champs professionalism, Chad Potts interviewed SFC Matt Miles on stage in front of the whole crowd, highlighting the sacrifices SFC Miles has made for his country and put the entire spot light on him. The interview ended with the entire crowd giving a round of applause to SFC Matt Miles—Soldier, Angler and an American Hero!
Special thank you to Veteran Outdoors, Lake Fork Trophy Lures, Mrs. Parker, Mark Pack, Justin Rackley, ArmyBassAnglers Pro Staff, Coalition Pro Staff, Bass Pro Shops, TipSee Light Company, Ardent, Castaway Fishing, Dobyn’s Rods, JaRod Jigs, Victory Tackle and Tightlines.
For more information on ArmyBassAnglers and the Coalition visit ArmyBassAnglers.com