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Unforgettable Fish Stories

March 28, 2014, 9:58 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Unforgettable Fish Stories

It's hard for 16-year-old Austin Machmiller and his 12-year-old brother Mason to get around; let alone get outdoors.

"Austin and Mason have muscular dystrophy," Austin and Mason's dad Alan Machmiller said.

Austin was diagnosed with the muscular disease when he was five, Mason when he was just three months old. But it hasn't stopped the boys from enjoying outdoor activities.

"Austin is a fishing enthusiast. It's something he enjoys. It's something he's able to do," Alan said.

"I like to enjoy the weather, just sitting out in the boat relaxing until that fish hits the line and you get that adrenaline," Austin Machmiller said.

"I would rather go fishing than stay inside and watch TV," Mason said.

But taking the boys out for a day on the lake can be tough for this family of five. Last year they hooked up with the South Dakota Outdoor Adventure Foundation - an organization that was founded in 2013 to take children like Austin and Mason along with wounded veterans on hunting and fishing trips.

"When we go out on the water fishing I have to drive the boat, put the bait on the lure, I have to land the fish if we're lucky to find one fish and this trip meant that I didn't have to worry about any of the logistics of catching the fish. All I had to do is enjoy that they were catching fish, that they were having a good time," Alan said.

LaVerne Boer of the Outdoor Adventure Foundation had the job of guaranteeing the Machmillers had a good time when they went on their outdoor excursion last summer at Lake Poinsett.

"And we caught fish and we caught fish and we caught fish which is tremendous because if you take a kid out fishing the worst thing you can do is not have them catch a fish," Boer said.

The Machmiller's caught walleyes, perch and even large northern pike.

"The biggest fish I caught was a nine pound Northern. It just hit the line and smoked my reel," Austin said.

"I had a lot of fun and I would like to do it again," Mason said.

"They did everything," Tammy Machmiller said. "All we had to really do was show up and catch fish. They even cleaned the fish so that was the best part about that for me."

The South Dakota Outdoor Adventure Foundation would like to take more families and veterans on hunting and fishing trips like this, this year. The group is holding a banquet, auction and raffle Saturday at the Ramada in Sioux Falls to help raise money.

"This year has more than tripled. We're at 13 terminally ill families and over 40 wounded warriors so we have a lot of adventures coming up for this summer and fall," Boer said.

Adventures that help kids like Mason and Austin forget about their disease and enjoy the outdoors.

"For me it's fun. I can do stuff. I actually feel like a normal teenager instead of having this wheelchair affect me," Austin said.

A teenager and a family who now have a fish story that they'll never forget.

The Outdoor Adventure Foundation Banquet will be from 5:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday March 29 at the Ramada Inn in Sioux Falls on Russell Street.

For more information click here.

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