More often than I care to admit it the front porch on my house looks like a delivery spot for the big brown truck and the UPS guys know my whole family by name. I scooped up a small box not long ago that had been sent from the good folks at Century Boat Company and sat down to check the contents. Inside I found a letter and shirt, no big deal I thought until I read the letter and understood the writing on the shirt.

In the letter was a description and explanation of a fishing tournament that was held for some of our American soldiers over in Iraq, the tournament was appropriately named Operation: Catch Fish. Century Boats owner Joe Mercurio had been asked by some of the highest-ranking military officials along with President Bush to use his expertise and put this event together along with Armed Forces Entertainment. The next time you casually head out to your favorite fishing hole remember the service men and women who keep our country safe. Here is the official story according to Armed Forces Entertainment.

Professional Tarpon Tournament Series television show host Joe Mercurio will be traveling with Armed Forces Entertainment to hold the first-of-its-kind fishing derby, Operation: Catch Fish. Military personnel will fish the lakes and ponds of the area to win a variety of prizes for participation and higher-end prizes will be awarded for most fish caught, biggest fish and smallest fish.
Joined by his co-host of PTTS Kristen Berset, Mercurio and his  knowledgeable team bring their angling expertise to head up this fishing derby and hope to offer an experience that serves as entertainment and a distraction for the troops. The entire trip and fishing derby will be filmed by Reel Time Productions to be broadcast at a later time.

For the servicemen and women that have the opportunity, fishing has become a popular recreation for them because its a great way to be outdoors and to get their minds off things, said Captain Trevor Garrett, Armed Forces Entertainment circuit manager for Southwest Asia. Operation: Catch Fish is a unique opportunity for troops to take their fishing to a new level by competing in an event that is meant to be  fun and relaxing.

Appealing to the patriotic side of outdoorsmen and fishing industry professionals, Mercurio has asked for donations in order to outfit the effort. Rods, reels and tackle will be provided to a number of early registrants and all other participants will use their own equipment.
“I’m” hoping to make this an annual tradition, said Mercurio. “With Armed Forces Entertainment, we could take Operation: Catch Fish to our military stationed at sites of deployment all over the world.
Armed Forces Entertainment is the lead Department of Defense agency for providing entertainment to U.S. military personnel serving overseas, with priority given to those in contingency operations and at remote and isolated locations. The Department of the Air Force is the executive agent of Armed Forces Entertainment. For more information, go to

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