This week’s episode of American Hero Experience features a wounded Marine with a Classic dream. It also features some very big fish. Today at 1:30 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network, viewers can join retired Marine CPL Larry Draughn on the fishing trip of a lifetime with Bassmaster Elite Series Pro, Jason Quinn.
At the age of 21, Draughn re-deployed to Afghanistan as a proud new father, with the responsibility of making sure he took care of his family, resting squarely upon his shoulders. Just days after returning to the battlefield, Larry stepped on an IED that wreaked havoc on his body, but failed to bruise his spirit.
Doctors anticipated it would be 3 months before Larry was ready to leave Walter Reed Medical Center, but Draughn had no interest in lying in a hospital bed for that long. With motivation and support from his wife Kaytlin, Larry put himself on a fast track for recovery so he could be with his family, and so he could enjoy the outdoors again. Pushing himself through rehab, Draughn was out of the hospital in a record – 2 weeks.
Just six weeks after losing both legs and two fingers, Draughn fished in the Marines Helping Marines Bass Tournament with Bassmaster Elite Series Pro, Dave Wolak. Fishing from a wheel chair with pins and stitches in his hands, Larry not only realized that he could still do what he loved, but he also realized that fishing was doing more for him then just getting him outside. Since that first tournament, Larry has developed a love for the competition and camaraderie of tournament bass fishing. He dreams of transitioning to a career as a Pro Angler, competing at the sport’s highest level and becoming the first combat wounded amputee to fish the Bassmaster Classic.
Fast forward to the December morning the American Hero Experience TV crew surprised Larry with a fishing trip with Bassmaster Elite Series Pro Jason Quinn. The two spent a couple of days on the water at Central Florida’s Promise Ranch, trying to beat Larry’s personal best largemouth bass, but it was the Bassmaster Pro who earned his own personal best and set the new lake record with a 13lbs 03oz giant. That bass also helps establish Promise Ranch as a Trophy Catch caliber fishery. Trophy Catch is part of Florida’s new Black Bass Management Program that incentivizes anglers to record and release their largemouth bass catches that exceed 8 pounds. Registered anglers with verified Trophy Catches can win an array of prizes including, free fishing tackle, Ultimate Fishing Experience Fishing Trips and the American Outdoors Fund Florida Trophy Catch Championship Ring, awarded to the angler with the biggest verified bass of the year, caught and released by a Trophy Catch registered angler.
Larry Draughn lipped the giant bass that Quinn hooked while bouncing a worm in about 35 feet of water. That 13-pound fish rounded out a banner day for Quinn, who’s best 5 fish totaled nearly 40-pounds. That’s the point when Quinn claims the trip turned into his Ultimate Fishing Experience, then again Larry’s Experience wasn’t quite over yet. Thanks to Semper Fi Fund, B.A.S.S., Abu Garcia, Sebile and others in the fishing industry Larry is now one step closer to his Classic dream.
To see Jason Quinn’s Trophy Catch and how Larry’s Experience topped it, watch American Hero Experience today at 1:30 pm EST on the NBC Sports Network. Viewers who miss today’s broadcast can watch an encore presentation, Thursday at 1:00 pm ET on the NBC Sports Network, with additional airings on Time Warner’s SportsNet.
Under the Bridge Productions LLC is a multi-media production and marketing company specializing in creating and producing original programming for TV, Web, Social Media, New Media and other emerging platforms, all created with the same standards and production values our award winning team puts into our network television shows, national commercials, web sites and Apps.