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Lake Norman fishing duo set to put on bass fishing tournament

Lake Norman fishing duo set to put on bass fishing tournament

LAKE NORMAN, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Usually, it’s sunset or sunrise.

“When fishing, there’s always hope.”

It can be on the water or off the pier.

The time and location always change, but Wes Richardson and Russell Rauch are always searching for it.

“You can get away from all your troubles,” said Russell.

The two have only been friends for about eight months. They met while fishing on Lake Norman.

“The sun wasn’t up, the ramp was closed,” remembered Wes.

“I met Wes right here at this park,” said Russell.

“It was almost immediate,” said Wes.

“There’s an automatic click,” said Russell.

They quickly realized they didn’t just share a love of fishing.

“We both served in the Army,” said Russell.

“When you come home, nobody’s talking about those things you see, nobody is talking about those experiences,” said Wes.

Russell served in Europe and was reactivated for Desert Storm.  Wes served between 2003 and 2007. During that time, he spent a year stationed in Afghanistan. For years, Wes struggled to find peace and purpose. Then, he discovered fishing.

“As long as you can focus on the small things, not necessarily the big things, but the small things, and just try to remember what life is all about,” said Wes.

Their chance meeting on Lake Norman has turned into something more. They are putting on a fishing tournament in July that will raise money for veterans. They blew past their initial goal of $25,000 and now their goal is $35,000.

Though the fish often, don’t worry that all the good bass will be gone before.

“I can’t say this on camera,” said Wes.

“I always throw them back, always take the pictures and throw them back because I want to catch them again,” said Russell.

“So, I don’t tell a lot of people this, but here we go. I actually don’t eat fish,” laughed Wes.

See- there you go. Plenty of bass for everyone.

“It’s pretty, it’s always different every time. Last night, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky,” said Russell, watching the sun go down.

It’s quiet on the water, the kind of silence that makes room for what they’re looking for.

“The hope is that one thing will change in the conditions, the fish will start biting. Even when you don’t catch fish, there’s always hope,” said Wes.

Fish or not, they catch it every time.

Their bass tournament is called ‘Reel Heroes Kayak Bass Fishing Tournament.’ They are raising money for Purple Heart Homes, a special non-profit that builds and fixes up homes for veterans.

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