Changing Lives, One Fish at a Time

Can you see yourself walking into a church and being greeted by a smiling and caring young pastor’s assistant who two years ago was in prison for threatening his family with a weapon?

Imagine a feuding family where the teenagers will not talk to the woman whom their Dad just married because they miss their Mom. Then they come to a fishing event for a weekend of fun. Three days later they are laughing and hugging together as a family.

A wounded soldier who had several operations to his legs over a period of years and walks with a cane drops his cane and walks down the boat ramp with his fishing pole. How could this all happen through Texas fishing?

Two CWO event attendees hold a large blue catfish caught on jug lines on a Lake Conroe Friends & Neighbors event.

Cross Water Outfitters is a fishing ministry that hosts events which focus on soldiers from Fort Hood and their families. Participating groups include Warriors in Transition Brigade, CWO members and their friends and family, and Friends and Neighbors.

These events include hosting college students from various countries and faiths through a church sponsor and Bridges International, another Christian ministry.

Events like these result in more people learning to fish in Texas, families reuniting through fishing and boating recreation, spiritual renewing through the outdoors, and so much more. After all, where else but in Texas will you find a Christian jug fishing ministry?

Cross Water Outfitters started in Central Texas as a fishing ministry using a basic sporting tradition, jug fishing for catfish. This fishing ministry has grown from its two founders, Brian Kneriem and Terry Tubbs, and their two boats to between four and five large events a year with multiple boats, boat captains, deckhands, a cook team, and other volunteers.

The lakes most commonly fished by CWO are Lake Belton, Lake Conroe, and Lake Buchannan and the organization’s main mission is to share the simple Gospel message through the simplicity of jug fishing and have a lot of fun doing both. This organization keeps expanding year after year as new members join to support its growth.

The impact that Cross Water Outfitters events have had on the attendees that come to these events is profound. Many of the military veterans who have come to the events are very guarded and hardened from their experiences overseas. However, by the end of the weekend, they are laughing and having fun with their fishing captain and deckhand as well other CWO members.

Fishing can be therapeutic after all. There is magic about it. The fellowship opportunities that ministry events like these offer is incredible.

When the weather is nice, CWO members put together a bonfire and sponsor smores for the families of the soldiers at the Belton Lake events. At these same events, the women of the soldiers’ families are invited to a seminar about how to better relate to their male counterparts. This brings families together in many different ways.

At its first event on Lake Buchanan for college students from different faiths, CWO served over 100 students from 32 different countries. There were many fishing opportunities for catfish, white bass, and stripers with traditional rod and reel fishing as well as Mud Cat flagging jugs (www.mudcatflaggingjugs.com). 

This organization is self-funded and always welcomes donations through its parent organization, Hope for the Hungry. For more information on how you can help support this organization or even serve and one of their many events, visit www.crosswateroutfitters.com.

—from TPWD

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