Warriors and Dragonflies have messages for all who care to listen

Terry Sympson of Jackson Hill Marina reports the extreme honor to have four combat wounded couples for the weekend of March 24 -26th at Jackson Hill Marina.

Two of these heroes were still on active duty and one is going back to Afghanistan for his fourth Tour of Duty.

Buck Collins organized the weekend trip with his bride Kim. Together they operate our Wounded Warrior Association of East Texas and Western Louisiana. Buck is himself a Special Forces Iraqi Freedom Veteran. He has had to overcome traumatic brain injury and suffers the effects of combat related trauma. He understands the warrior life and he uses the outdoors to help other warriors with the same remedy that he and others have discovered, peace of mind and relaxation at Mother Nature's House.

"With a little good weather, their favorite girl by their side and a fishing rod in hand it's amazing how fast you can lose track of time There is certainly something in angling that tends to produce a serenity of the mind said Washington Irving. Truer words were never spoken as proved again this weekend."

The guys had gone bass fishing on Saturday with some local volunteers and the ladies went on a shopping trip carefully planned by Ms. Kim. The night before was an all you can eat Jackson Hill fried catfish dinner welcoming the group and meeting each other, most for the first time. Buck and Kim greeted each couple. With the group intentionally small everyone quickly became comfortable and by Saturday night's Rib eye steak dinner everyone was immersed in the present moment, sharing the days adventures as a family and friends.

The warriors, fish and dragonflies came together in the last few hours on Sunday morning just before our special guests would drive back to reality and their primary jobs of raising families and keeping the greatest country on earth free for the rest of us.

"Connie and I loaded up the Patriots Challenge Fishing boat with everyone aboard. We had one last chance to spend time together, enjoying a beautiful Sunday morning with breakfast burritos and bloody Mary's, talking, laughing and then the crappie began to bite.

"Connie caught a couple of crappie to start us off then the other ladies began to catch fish. Before long with the ladies all catching fish the smack talk started and the competition was on.

"Buck, known as the fish whisperer, started to rally the guys to mount a comeback. As the morning past by we had the opportunity to have a bald eagle swoop down yards from the boat to pick up a crappie casualty for breakfast. Then as we reached the 'just one more fish before we go' stage of the trip one of the ladies hoisted a nice black crappie up for the camera's last fish of the day photo op. At just that moment a dragonfly landed on her hand and allowed me to take several pictures before going about its business.

Dragonflies have been on earth longer than the dinosaurs and every culture has their own folklore about them. It is said that a dragonfly will never waste their time since it is so short and if one visits you it is there to remind you to live in the present and put away the past. In Native American legends, the dragonfly is a symbol of resurrection, and renewal after hardship.

A warriors life is intense, everything is about the mission first. Living in the present allows you to survive when you are in combat, however when the mission ends and the warrior returns home living in the present can seem impossible, trivial and meaningless. The constant adrenalin rush and brotherhood among warriors becomes lost and so can the warrior. Families of warriors struggle to understand, to cope and to help.

"We hope and pray that we can provide some rest, relaxation and renewal for them along their journey. The next time a dragonfly visits you remember it's not there to waste time, listen."

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Lake Sam Rayburn Current Weather Alerts

There are no active watches, warnings or advisories.


Lake Sam Rayburn Weather Forecast


Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 91

Sunday Night

Chance Thunderstorms

Lo: 74


Thunderstorms Likely

Hi: 86

Monday Night

Thunderstorms Likely

Lo: 71


Rain Showers

Hi: 84

Tuesday Night

Rain Showers

Lo: 70


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Hi: 79

Wednesday Night

Rain Showers Likely

Lo: 71

Lake Sam Rayburn Water Level (last 30 days)

Water Level on 7/22: 168.08 (+3.68)

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Fishing Report from TPWD (Jul. 17)

GOOD. Water stained; 83 degrees; 4.27 feet above pool. The bite for all species seems to improve when the water is being generated. This stirs the water, breaking up the thermocline. Bass are slow in shallow water with many smaller fish being caught on frogs, and spinnerbaits. Deeper bass bite is fair with Carolina rigs. Crappie are slow in the morning, but improve midday. Catfish are all over the lake in 20 feet of water and in 12 feet of water in the creek channels. White bass are on points in the south end of the lake near the dam. Report by Captain Lynn Atkinson, Reel Um N Guide Service. As the lake continues to drop fish are going to be moving to traditional summer locations pending the thermocline depth. Bass are good early morning on shallow main lake points with medium or deep diving crankbaits, and topwaters. Main lake ledges with Carolina rig shaky head and spoons. Brush piles shallower than the thermocline with Texas rigs, jigs or Carolina rigs. The thermocline is actively fluctuating and will continue to do so while lake level changes. Navigate with caution watching for floating debris, trees, and stumps. Report by Hank Harrison, Double H Precision Fishing.

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