Tony Choe: Healing Veterans Through Fishing

Fishing is my passion. If I can reach one person and change his/her life to a positive side, I think I've done my duty in my life.

The love for America can come in many shapes and forms, and even from very faraway lands. When Tony Choe came to this great nation as a 17 year old, he did not speak the language, but he knew one thing- he wanted to be part of America. So did his best to integrate and become more Americanized, and then decided that the best course of action in his pursuit of the American Dream was defending it- so he joined the Marine Corps. It was his way to say- "I am all in- I am ready to defend this great nation and what it stands for". And that he did, serving in the Marine Corps Reserve from 1989–91- but just as life seemed to be smiling down on Tony, tragedy would strike soon after his service.

In 1993, while working at a convenience store a robber put a bullet in Tony's spine and left him confined to a wheelchair. "Those were very rough times, I sometimes wondered if I would make it. I felt hopeless, but the desire to fish made me get up from bed and get out there. Over and over fishing got me through my darkest times. It gave me my passion back."

That passion has translated into Tony becoming a very successful tournament angler. As a matter of fact, he has been named PVA (Paralyzed Veterans of America) angler of the year in three of the last four years (2011, 2012 and 2014). That is no fluke! Being the PVA angler of the year also qualified him to compete in three B.A.S.S. Nation Championships and has come very close to making it to the Bassmaster Classic. But Tony views all these personal achievements are mere tools to help others.

Tony says, "I fish to encourage other disabled veterans. I have been Bass fishing competitively for the last 21 years. Recently, I have seen many fellow veterans are coming back from the war in Iraq and Afghanistan with many forms of severe disability. I want to become a model for other recently injured veterans. I want to show them that the life goes on, and there are still so many things out there that you can still accomplish if you put your mind to it. At this moment in my life, I want to show fellow disabled veterans how to become successful in competitive fishing.”

Tony mentioned, “One of my favorite fishing tools is the FishBrain app, a great tool where others can follow him and learn in real time. FishBrain allows me to show others where and how I catch my fish, as well as learn from others when I go onto a new body of water to fish. For example, this year's first major tournament will be on Lake Toho, Florida on March 27-29, 2015. I'm currently looking into FishBrain to learn the lake and where the fish are being caught. Pretty cool stuff!”

Tony conducts bass fishing seminars at all eight of the PVA tournament stops each year as well as for various veteran and Wounded Warrior programs. During each of these activities, Tony covers topics such as boat safety, identifying appropriate techniques for fishing various seasons and weather conditions, how to select the right terminal tackle and baits, and how the right rod and reel selection can make the difference between just a day on the water and a really good day on the water.

Follow Tony on FishBrain app today:

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