Erich Speckin’s personal ties to military veterans inspired the Hollywood resident to found CSI Warrior Fishing South Florida, a 501(c)(3) organization based at the north end of the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk that takes vets on free fishing trips.
Speckin hired a full-time experienced sea captain for his 35-foot Donzi fishing boat and offers five trips a week for groups of up to six anglers to cast their line for yellowtail snapper, wahoo, sailfish, grouper, mahi mahi, tuna, king mackerel and shark.
The mission of CSI Warrior Fishing South Florida is to provide recreational and rehabilitation services to veterans, wounded soldiers and active duty military personnel to help them readapt to civilian life.
“I do this because I came from a military family and my two best friends from high school were in the military. My grandfather is a World War II veteran,” Speckin said. “I want to support the military.”
He has found that some veterans still struggle with memories of difficult war situations, while others face the challenges of joining the civilian workforce. “Studies conducted at universities have found that outdoor recreation helps PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder),” said Speckin.
CSI Warrior Fishing South Florida offers fishing trips for both veterans and supporters. Veterans and a guest can enjoy a day of fishing, free of charge, with proof of service such as a DD214. Supporters, or nonmilitary anglers, pay $125 an hour for a four- or eight-hour excursion, which includes up to four guests. Proceeds from supporters’ bookings help vets fish for free.
“This gives veterans a chance to experience a fishing trip,” Speckin said.
CSI Warrior Fishing supplies the boat, fishing tackle, bait, fishing licenses and ice. Anglers are permitted to bring coolers. Free parking is available at the dock at 3300 N. Ocean Drive, located south of Sheridan Street in Hollywood. Several restaurants, hotels and parks are within walking distance.
CSI Warrior Fishing gratefully accepts donations to help fund its charitable mission. A $25 donation provides lunch for up to three veterans during their fishing excursion. A $100 donation covers engine fuel for a day.
CSI Warrior Fishing South Florida is a part of Speckin Charities. Along with funding CSI Warrior Fishing, Speckin oversees the funding and operation of Outdoor Warrior Adventure excursions and Santa’s Wish List. Outdoor Warrior Adventure provides outdoor wilderness recreation for veterans, such as hunting and fishing excursions, in a variety of locations that include Alaska, Florida, Iowa and Michigan. Santa’s Wish List (www.santaswishlist.org) is a registered 501(c)(3) charity founded by Speckin several years ago that fulfills the Christmas gift wishes of the children of needy families in Florida and Michigan who are identified through churches, schools and community members.
For more information on CSI Warrior Fishing South Florida, visit www.helpvetsgofishing.com. For questions or to book a trip, call 954-774-0349 or email [email protected]