Well, I think it's going to happen. There were
serious doubts at first, but it looks like I'll
get the vacation time and be able to attend the
great FAOL Fish-In in Idaho after all; but it
didn't look that way for a long time.
Autumn is a busy time, and this September is even
busier than most for me. We are expanding our
store, and remodeling at the same time, this September,
so I have been busy for sure. My last two-week
paycheck was for 132 hours, and it didn't include
16 hours I worked over the weekend that will be
added to the next pay period. Twelve-hour days
can tire a guy out.
Anyway, even though we are busy and most vacations
have been delayed until mid October, I was granted
a week away from it all to attend the big social
gathering called the FAOL Fish-In. And, this will
be the first one I have been able to attend since
the fish-in was held here in South Dakota in 1999.
I'm as excited as a kid with a new toy.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, if you haven't
ever attended a fish-in before, you might not know what
you're missing, but there are so many things to do, you
are missing a lot. It isn't just a bunch of guys and
gals getting together to fish some new water; although
it's all of that for sure. It isn't just a bunch of
folks telling tall tales of fish caught and fish that
got away; but you can count on that happening every
day of the party. It's all of that and much more.
Those who attend will have the opportunity to trade
tying secrets and learn new techniques. They will
undoubtedly learn a new pattern or two, and maybe ways
to tie some old patterns easier or faster. I say they,
but I really mean we. We all learn a lot of new stuff
at a FAOL Fish-In.
Maybe you could use a tip or two to make your casting
better, or maybe you could teach some of us who need
to learn. Looking for a new way to reach those finicky
fish on the other side of that raging current? You might
learn a new way to mend your line. There will be casting
demonstrations and tying demonstrations and knot
demonstrations for anyone who wants to expand their
However, the real secret to knowledge is the other stuff
you'll learn that nobody wants to tell you about. That
is the art of telling a fish tail. Those who attend a
sanctioned FAOL Fish-In are treated to a clinic on
telling fish tales. It occurs every morning over cups
of coffee and plates of pancakes. It is your one
opportunity to watch the masters at work in their
craft. You don't want to miss this one.
You'll have the opportunity to listen as the master
crafter of stories (Castwell) tells us about the big
fish he stalked and conquered on a famous Michigan
river. There will be stories from others who wish
they had Castwell's talent, but alas, they are just
learning. Since I plan on being there, I might even
have a lie, er, story or two to tell. It's all part
of the fun.
Now for the real reason I hope you're there. It is
a chance for us to meet each other and discover just
how little we really look like our pictures. Yep,
we'll be there, warts and all, so you'll have
something frightful to tell your grandkids later in
life. We will all get a chance to put faces on the
names we have been reading on the bulletin board and
in the articles. You'll be able to say "she's so thin
and little, how the heck can she cast that far" when
Ladyfisher lets a line rip without looking like she
spent one calorie of effort. You'll be able to ask
how my big, fat fingers can tie a fly like that.
You'll get to ask yourself if those are Castwell's
real teeth. Yep, it's all a learning experience.
Anyway, I hope to see you there. If you were wondering
if it would be worth your time, wonder no more. It's
the most fun you can have with your waders on. If you
were undecided, give it a try, you'll discover it's
worth the time. By the time you read this, the fish-in
will be started, but you can still catch a day or two
if you try. I'll see you there, and bring your camera;
somebody's bound to get wet.