Morning came early this last Saturday as the Fort Hood chapter of Heroes on the Water (HOW) gathered for our latest event, dubbed the Round Up at the Ranch. Reveille Peak Ranch to be exact, a 1,300-acre spread near Burnett, Texas whose owner had graciously granted us access to the sprawling events ranch, which includes a 10-acre lake complete with stumps (a lot of them) and deep water.
I’d arrived at the ranch the night before, and so now as the sun rose over the picturesque ranch, I got my first real glimpse of the lake. The orange sky and tree stumps reflected off the glass-like water, and every now and then, through the early morning light, I could see fish popping at the surface chasing schools of shad in the lake. It occurred to me that if this lake fished half as good as it looked, then our HOW anglers were going have a great day.
HOW helps our nation’s warriors and veterans to unwind through the therapeutic qualities of kayak fishing. The program provides guided trips which serve to help our vets decompress from the stresses associated with the rigors of military life. All equipment, from kayaks to safety equipment, even the fishing gear is provided for the vets by HOW during these events.
As a relatively new chapter, we’ve always had to rely on public lakes for our events, which can come with public problems, like overcrowded parks and boat traffic on the water. Public lakes are also bigger, which makes it harder to find fish, especially for inexperienced anglers and kids. The larger, more established HOW chapters typically have access to private lakes for their events, something the our chapter hadn’t achieved until now.
For the first time since its inception, the Fort Hood chapter wouldn’t have to worry about the troubling logistics of putting on a HOW event on a public lake. Access to a private lake, and a nice one at that, was a game-changer for us and a definite improvement as far as the quality of the event and the safety of our participants and volunteers.
The ranch certainly lived up to its billing; there were lots of fish caught, and even I caught several nice bass in the 2-3- pound range. At lunch time, our chapter coordinator, Frank Aguilar, grilled up some hot dogs and hamburgers, and everyone ate under the ranch’s 10,000-square-foot pavilion, which includes a second story observation deck.
Nestled in in the Hill Country of central Texas, the ranch works with a local conservancy to provide field-based outreach programs for groups of all ages. They also have something they call an Adventure Center (think shooting ranges, ziplines and a rappelling tower). The ranch holds several training events throughout the year for law enforcement and special forces groups. It was evident that Reveille Peak got a lot of use and so our chapter was fortunate to get access for the event.
Lone Star Chronicles – Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Fish