OUTDOORS: Honoring Wounded Warrior with a fishing trip in Sekiu

By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News

CALM WATERS, A collection of corrections officers, counselors and front office staff from the Clallam Bay Correctional Center, are again stepping up for a cause far greater than themselves.

The nonprofit group is putting together its third Sekiu fishing weekend for veterans, this one a 15-person fishing derby for members of the Wounded Warriors Project and auction the weekend of Aug. 8-10.

Calm Waters previously hosted service veterans from the Wounded Warriors Project in 2012, and last year invited residents of Forks' Sarge's Place, a transitional and permanent supportive housing project for West End veterans, out for some time on the water.

This year's outing is Calm Waters' first as a recognized nonprofit.

The idea to put on the event came after hearing of a group of steelhead guides in Forks who took some wounded vets out for a float trip down a West End river.

“So the guys who live here, work here and fish here, thought 'Why can't we do that out on the salt water?'” Calm Waters vice president Bert Mullen said.

The group's moniker is the English translation of the native name for Sekiu, but also serves as a guide for the type of therapeutic, relaxing experience they wish to create for veterans.

“Our sole purpose is to furnish recreational fishing trips for wounded warriors,” Mullen said.

Mullen mentioned there are veterans in the Calm Waters group, so stepping up to help some younger vets have a positive outing is another motivating factor.

“I'm telling you, the whole time was absolutely great,” Mullen said of the first Wounded Warriors trip in 2012.

“They loved it, we spoiled them rotten and some of them were veterans of this type of trip and they just let us dote on them and take care of them.

“Everyone had a ball.”

Donations sought

To help recreate that experience, Calm Waters is seeking donations of any type for an auction set for the Sekiu Community Center, 42 Rice St., at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9.

Donations of cash for gas, tackle, bait and other supplies also is welcome.

“Any donations will be welcomed,” said Mullen.

“The auction is a big part of the event; the first one in 2012 made over $5,000.”

To donate to the auction or help with the event, email calmwatersorg@gmail.com, visit Facebook.com/calmwatersorg or phone Mullen at 360-963-2994.

Mullen said the Calm Waters group keeps only a portion of the take in order to set aside a block of motel rooms for the vets, often at reduced prices.

“Several of the resorts have stepped up big-time,” Mullen said, mentioning Van Riper's and the Bay Motel as having offered up rooms.

“We will donate the rest back to the Wounded Warriors Project,” Mullen said.

Inmates chip in

In a unique twist, some of the most popular auction items from the 2012 event were crafted by Clallam Bay prison inmates.

“We have a saying around here: There's no secrets on the hill,” Mullen said.

“When the inmates found out about this, they really stepped up to help.”

The correctional facility has a policy that allows inmates to donate to charity their hobby craft items such as paintings and sculptures.

“Their artwork was the biggest seller at the auction,” Mullen said.

“Some of their pieces were going for $200 to $300.”

Getting the inmates involved in a positive manner is another side benefit of this trip.

“It really provides a chance for inmates to find a little bit of atonement,” Mullen said.

“Some of the first guys that stepped up to help were Vietnam vets, some Desert Storm vets and even some Iraq war vets who have gone south since they returned home.”

Successful trip

The 2012 trip saw male and female veterans from all over the country visit our small corner of the country.

“Last time everybody caught fish,” Mullen said.

“The kings were coming through in bunches, and they really caught some nice fish.”

Mullen said that one vet landed a 40-pound wild king that was released, albeit after a keepsake photo was snapped.

“It turned out all right for him, he ended up catching a 22-pounder that won the derby,” Mullen said.

And despite the veterans coming from such far-flung locales as North Carolina, the fish they catch end up back at home with the veterans.

“We definitely can get the fish to where they want it sent,” Mullen said.

“None of the catch is wasted.”

A core comprised of Brad and Karen McLean, Ted and Amber Bates, Bert and Val Mullen, and Jeff and Charlotte Berry, make up Calm Waters board of directors.

The group gets a lot of support from the Clallam Bay-Sekiu community as well.

“We hope to do this project every year, in some form, with the Wounded Warriors project or another veterans group like Sarge's Place,” Mullen said.

“We raise a lot of money and donations and it makes for a really fun weekend for everyone out here in Sekiu.”

Jerry's Bait fishing contest

Jerry Wright of Jerry's Bait and Tackle (360-457-1308) in Port Angeles phoned in with information on his shop's second annual fishing contest set for Saturday and Sunday.

Chinooks are the target species for this derby, which will have weigh-ins at 3:30 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

“The tides are going to be excellent so it should be a good two days of fishing,” Wright said.

Sunday's weigh-in will produce first, second and third prize winners.

There are no geographical limits to the derby, Wright just wants anglers to produce legal hatchery chinook and have them in and weighed at 3:30 p.m. each day.

Tickets are $20 and anglers can buy them at Jerry's Bait and Tackle, located next to the Jiffy Lube at 2720 E. Highway 101, in Port Angeles.

Participants get a free taco lunch with beef, steak, chicken and tuna varieties on the menu, according to Wright.

Anglers also will be included in a raffle for a $50 gift certificate to the shop.

Wright also will be giving away hats from the RainShadow brand of products offered by Sequim's Batson Enterprises.

Dig For Your Dinner II

Participants in the second Digging for Dinner clam digging orientation on Saturday, July 26 will learn where to find clams, how to harvest them safely and sustainably and the basic rules and regulations surrounding the harvest

The event is presented by the Washington State University Jefferson County Extension Beach Watchers and state Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists.

It will be held at 10 a.m. at the North Lagoon Beach section of Indian Island County Park near Port Hadlock.

The event is free, but a $5 donation to offset costs is requested.

Fish and Wildlife biologists Camille Speck and Doug Rogers will instruct the course, the second such orientation session of the summer.

“I've lived here for 20 years and have always wanted to go clamming,” said Betsy Carlson, who attended the first program on June 17.

“Now I have my license and know how to do it right. “

Attendees are asked to bring a shellfish license, bucket, boots and digging tools to the event.

Shellfish licenses can be purchased at www.fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov or at a variety of retail outlets in Jefferson and Clallam counties.

Children 14 and younger do not need a license so this event could be a good outing for those with young children who enjoy digging at the beach.

Help for the program comes from the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee with support from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Northwest Straits Initiative.

RSVP by emailing wsujeffersoncounty@gmail.com or phoning 360-379-5610 ext. 200.


Outdoors columnist Michael Carman appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at mcarman@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 17. 2014 10:43AM
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