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I got to thinking about last year and decided I'd repost my report of our activities from May 2000, the first PFF get-together. Sorry for the length, but it was a long weekend. Here's to great memories! *******************
Friday, 19 May 00
I intended to work for an hour Friday morning and leave, but ended up working till noon. Left N. Georgia about 12:30pm and headed up I-75. About a mile before the Calhoun, TN exit, traffic was dead-stopped, so I slowly made my way to the exit. Got off and drove northward on Lee Highway until Sweetwater, Tennessee.
Just south of Knoxville, near West Hills, I saw a man walking up the interstate, red backpack on his left shoulder, and a 20-foot long cross over his right shoulder, with the tail end mounted on wheels. He was striding with purpose, obviously a man on a mission.
A couple of miles later, my radio tuned to country music (this is East Tennessee, after all), I heard the best song of the day: "She didn't cry when old Yeller died, she don't stand for the American flag, she don't like John Wayne movies, and I ain't gonna cry when she's gone"...closely followed by George Strait's song about taking his boy fishing and the best day of his life.
Finally, after driving forever, and getting turned around in Bristol, Tennessee, I showed up at camp three hours late. John Thomas, FF, Creekscum, Loop-wing and Tom (the host) greeted me.
We then began to assemble my too extensive camping gear. BIG TENT, FANCY STOVE (just get that out of the way before I get ribbed on it), and fired up the smoker. We then put on Frustrated Flyfisher's venison, that he had thawed on a pine board awash with sawdust. If you've never had pine marinated venison, you've missed a delicacy. We put on two geese and two ducks that had been marinating in my cooler since I left Georgia.
Now I do need to add that Creekscum and FF were my helpers; the others were too busy catching fish to worry with my travails.
By this time, JBone and Dixie Trout had arrived (not together), followed sometime later by Psycho and his buddy, Grant. FF had consumed maybe 30 beers and was waxing poetic on how great both Reagan and Clinton were and how the Canadian welfare system was so much better than ours. I offered to trade Canada Clinton, his wife, the Attorney General, and Gore for a player to be named later, but we couldn't make a deal, because I finally figured out we couldn't afford to keep another Canadian in beer if they drank like FF.
John T found some immaculate, delicious, wonderful mountain wonder juice infused with black cherries and another with pears that was enjoyed by all. It was incredible how that stuff was just lying in the bushes; JT, you've got good eyes.
We finally went to bed sometime about 2am and woke up at 5:30 to the most awful, shrill and premenstrual shriek masquerading as a turkey cry that I have heard. Now I know why Psycho struck out on turkeys this year; hell, they all died of heart attacks when he let loose with his call.
After a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy we waddled into our waders and headed to the South Holsten. Some of us went directly there, others took the scenic route. We managed to interrupt an auction for three lots on the SH that ultimately went for $50k an acre. Not bad, considering there are no services there and the lots were in a flood plain - this economy is making folks do funny things.
Some folks may have caught fish, but none of my folks did, so we left and went up to the weir dam where we spent three hours of frustration and had the pleasure of seeing PSYCHO go PSYCHO on an idiot flyfisher wannabe who had decided the hole PSYCH was fishing was a good place to sit. The wannabe started screaming, PSYCH kind of stayed cool but kept to his guns, and then realized the wannabe was such a mental midget that trying to explain ethics to him would be like trying to play a joke on this board without some folks losing their cool. Of course, during all this screaming, JBONE hooks a fish, but the distraction is too much and the fish is truly caught and released.
So PSYCH, JBONE and me went to the camp, I stayed and they went on to the Park below where they caught a number of fish. I stayed back at the camp and fished the Bdam and caught a beautiful wild 'bow. Then the skies opened up and thunder pealed and I had to run back to camp and zip up the tents.
JT and his gang fished the SH and had some luck. FF, Dixie and some others (they'll have to ID themselves) took a side trip to the Watauga, waded out in the middle, the water came up, so they got to spend some quality time bonding waiting for the water to go down. Somewhere amidst all of this, Loopy's waders sprang leaks, so he ended up with dishwater feet.
WDR and Andy Blume showed up, put up their tent and went fishing. Then Wooly Bugger made an appearance in the fanciest trout mobile I have seen - a red Miata.
That night, we ate wonderful pork BBQ (is there any other kind?) on Tom's front porch and met Tom's wife, daughter, and neighbor (a rodbuilder and tyer). Great food. JT presented Psycho with a BOKER folding knife for his work in putting this together. We presented Tom with a flybox filled with flies tied by many of those in attendance. And we got to watch some folks tie that know what the heck they are doing. Loopy, you tie flies that ought to be in the FF museum somewhere. PSYCH gave some lessons on tying (or at least demonstrations).
Andy Blume produced a wonderful bottle of 12 year old Macallan that was much appreciated by yours truly, who was truly soaked to the bone. More mountain wonder juice was enjoyed, and the talk turned from Canadian relations to how to have a bit of fun on this board. Particularly, how we never wanted to see this board occupied with folks that were as full of s**t as some on the main board are. So the BIG LIE was hatched. The rest is history.
That night, Loopy caught an 18" brown out of Bdam.
Sunday I left, so I can't tell you what happened. I do know that PSYCH and JBone got to watch two young ladies doing suck-face on each other in Damascus, VA during the annual bring out the wannabe hippie AT festival and someone saw a wonderful sight in a car with a guy sitting, seemingly alone.....
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