BassWestUSA - January/February, 2011, Page 32

Mark Mendez, presi- dent of Bass Tackle Depot was the rst sponsor to commit to the cause. My friend and FLW pro angler Mike Tuck not only ac- cepted the invitation to lm the show with us, Mike also became the second nancial sponsor of the project via Mike’s business, Capitol Fire & Back ow, a Sacramento- based re protection and back ow compa- ny. Mike put me in touch with Bassmaster Elite pro Fred Roumbanis and after hear- ing about what we were trying to accom- plish, Fred became the nal piece of the puzzle. Our project was on! Thanks to the contributions of time and money by Fred Roumbanis, Mike Tuck, Ryan White, Phil Clark, James Simmons and Mark Mendez, our project was on!

It was early December 2009 when our group ew into Puerto Vallarta where Dave and Barbara met us at the airport, as they do with all of their clients. After an overnight stay in the city of Tepic, we drove the nal 45 minutes to the lake where a water taxi shuttled us, our shing and lming gear out to Fishin Mission’s lakeside palapa and docks. Lake Agua Milpa had received four straight days of torrential rain prior to our arrival and our biggest fear was that the resulting muddy water had turned the bite off. Well, let’s just say that if what we experienced was a “tough” bite, then I can’t imagine how good the shing is under normal conditions! We proceeded to catch as many 2 to 3 lb sh as we wanted in shallow wa- ter. However, our two pros, Mike and Fred shifted their focus toward deep- er water, quickly discovering that the “quality bite” was out yonder using big, deep-diving crankbaits such as Norman DD22s. The hard part for an ordinary guy like me was leaving the plentiful, easy-to-catch shallow sh alone and shing deeper for the big girls. I spent most of the shing day with a camera in my hand and I still caught about 30 sh a day up to ve pounds. It was every- thing a bass angler could want in terms of quantity as well as quality. The big sh honors went to Phil Clark with a 7 pounder caught dragging a plastic lizard. Our True Bass TV show stars, Mike and Fred shed hard for the camera dur- ing the two days we had available to lm. By the end of day two, with shing and lming over, everyone’s general consensus was that the bite had been utterly incred- ible, even with the high. muddy water. Following breakfast the next morn- ing, we loaded up the gear and drove back to the city of Tepic to visit Casa de Niños. Walking through the main gate and start- ing our tour of the two-acre facility, it re- ally began to hit home. We saw rsthand what had inspired Dave and Barbara to sacri ce everything they had in Oregon in order to help these children. The Casa cares for boys and girls from infants to teens. The younger children were eager to spend time with us and were infatu- ated with things we take for granted like our high-tech cell phones and digi- tal cameras. The kids wanted their pictures taken and then all gathered around to see themselves in the digital photos. I looked up at one point to see Fred playing on the seesaw with a girl about 6 or 7 years old, and they were

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January/February 2011