What do you get when all the veteran service organizations, 50 of the best fishermen in the business and 100 veterans all gather?

You get Trolling for the Troops 2019, and at this event, which is held annually at Camp Ripley, anglers get to fish the Mississippi River or Mille Lacs Lake with guides that range from avid fisherman, to legends like Gary Roach and even TV personalities like Ron Schara. Not to mention the whole group that comes all the way from Missouri to chase smallies on the river.

The veterans that come to go fishing range from young to old and, no matter their age, they are there to catch fish. Well mostly-the talk around the tables at dinner, the stories a little later at the bar, and the smiles for the group photo, that means a lot too.

I have to give a huge shout out to the people that make these events go so smoothly. They spend months, if not the whole year, planning and all I have to do is show up and fish. So thank you-there are too many names but you know who you are.

This year when I arrived I got to thinking how many familiar faces I saw, and most of them I got to share a boat or hunting blind with. And the stories and jokes we shared, I will always remember them and feel honored for hearing them.

So anyway on to fishing. This year I actually got to fish with two friends-Tim Milo, who I met years ago on a turkey hunt, and Tanner Mueller, who I met on a fishing trip before he joined the military. We all love fishing so that's what we did and from bass plastics to leeches the walleyes bit about everything. The smallies on the other hand gave us a tough time. We did manage a few but it was definitely a walleye day and you can't really complain about that.

So thinking of next year I will probably have two veterans in my boat that I've never met, but by the end of the day we will share stories and tell jokes like we've known each other for years, and that's kinda what it's all about.

JAMIE DIETMAN, What's Up Outdoors, may be reached at 218-820-7757.