Hell’s Bay Kicks off Military Appreciation Initiative

Airmen at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida get to fish with Hell's Bay pro staff guides.

Over the past decade, Hell's Bay Boatworks has shown its passion for community and conservation projects by supporting fishing-related non-profits.

To name a few, some of the company’s special programs include removing abandoned inshore ghost crab traps and loaning its aerated tank for fishing tournaments, as well as active involvement with the IGFA, CCA, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Redbone tournaments for CF cure research, University of Florida marine projects, and Herman Lucerne Memorial Backcountry Championship.

Add the Military Appreciation Initiative to their long list.

“Wendi Peterson [co-owner of Hell's Bay] met a lady at a boat show with a bass fishing organization taking soldiers fishing,” said Hell’s Bay Director of Sales & Marketing Capt. Todd Fuller.

“There are several of these, like Project Healing Waters, where in Bradenton we recently took 13 wounded veterans saltwater fly fishing. It was suggested we also consider active military personnel. It didn’t take long for Wendi and husband Chris to agree,” continued Fuller. "We all loved the idea of proposing a fishing trip to officials at Patrick Air Force Base in nearby Melbourne, pairing over a dozen airmen with seven of our Hell’s Bay pros and their skiffs."

Centered on Florida’s Space Coast, Patrick AFB borders the Atlantic Ocean and Banana River estuary, a great fishery filled with grass flats, spoil islands, docks; the perfect habitat for inshore game fish like redfish, trout, flounder and seatrout.

“It was a very successful outing giving the airmen a chance to fish and explore the local resources right in their backyard,” said a smiling Fuller. “Everyone, from novice to advanced angler, caught plenty of fish. We finished with a barbecue lunch and the airmen swapping lots of fishing stories."

The outing was so successful that Hell's Bay wants to plan monthly trips at Patrick AFB by taking two airmen fishing with one of Hell’s Bay’s pro staffers. The base will have an internal process for the monthly selection of the airmen, and hopefully similar initiatives could sprout in other coastal communities with bases.

“We certainly want to express our gratitude to everyone who helped put this together,” said Gen. Cotton. “Anything we can do to give a helping hand for our wounded warriors or our airmen here at the 45th is a great thing, and this is just another example of the great community we have here on the Space Coast.”