My National Gathering experience

Discussion in 'LOCAL MICHIGAN TALK' started by dreamcatcher, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. dreamcatcher

    dreamcatcher New Member

    I am back from my first official gathering, and as usual there is a story to tell, so stay tuned...

    Take care,
    Vic
     
  2. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    Come on. don't make us wait like this..:big_smile:
    Vic it was great meeting you and can't wait on the lies. Sorry that was story LOL

    Pete
     

  3. dreamcatcher

    dreamcatcher New Member

    Pete, I'm writing the novel right now. ROTFLOL. If you have read my posts you know how that goes...I want to make sure I get them lies...ummm, story straight buddy...:lol: :lol: :lol:
     
  4. teaysvalleyguy

    teaysvalleyguy New Member

    Messages:
    9,751
    State:
    GC, OHIO
    I am waiting......LMAO.

    Vic, we sure had a blast brother. hehehe Roundhill was on ya hoss. :lol:
     
  5. dreamcatcher

    dreamcatcher New Member

    My National Gathering Experience
    By
    Victor Brown

    Unbelievable. Awesome. Breathtaking. All of that, and a bag of chips…No, I am not talking about Deerhunter’s chrome dome:crazy: , but the BEST happening I have ever experienced since becoming a member of this fine community. The delicious irony is that all the way up to August 17th I was looking through some old things trying to find an excuse not to come. As I was digging through the cobwebs the first thing I found was the financial excuse. The question I kept posing to myself was, “How would I come up with enough money to REALLY have a good time there?” As I dug a little deeper I found the excuse that said, “You really don’t have the time, too many other things going on.” I even found one in neon lights that flashed, “So and so won’t be there, so why go?” Well, as I held these excuses in my hands two things entered my mind. One, the maximum effective range of an excuse is zero meters, and two, I NEEDED to be there. The buzz that kept ringing in my ears was, “If I don’t make it to this thing the regretting will haunt me not only for the next year, but for years to come.” The thought was like a train that you hear coming from a mile away, slow at first, but steadily picking up in pitch until it was a thundering roar! All things happen for a reason for all people, so for me the planets came in line, and I was able to make the decision to go to the first National Gathering for the Brotherhood of Catfishermen, and boy, what an experience!

    You know I am one of those people that absolutely love to get their beauty sleep, but Wednesday night was an exception to that rule. The plan was to get to bed at 9:00 p.m., get up at 3:00 a.m. and hit the road with a good six hours of sleep. Well, it didn’t quite work out that way. What ended up happening is that I did get in the bed at the prescribed time, but tossed and turned for four hours, yes, four solid hours!!! That has never happened to me...maybe for an hour or two, but certainly not four. When I used to jump out of planes the adage was that as long as you’re feeling the butterflies then you were doing something right. Let me tell you, the butterflies that night were more like fruit bats! I couldn’t get to sleep to save my life! I guess I must of dozed off at 1, and decided to get up an hour later and head south with some minor sleep deprivation. I figured my adrenaline would keep me in the game all the way there, and it did for the most part. Nine hours later I was crossing the first bridge over Lake Barkeley.

    If you have never been to Land Between the Lakes…well, let me just say that the Kentucky residents who live there should thank the good Lord every day that they are provided such an awesome sight. When I was crossing those bridges and the land in between I couldn’t help myself but be impressed, and was truly glad to be alive at that moment. Whatever sleep I thought I needed went away, and was replaced with an overwhelming feeling of great anticipation. I was there, in the flesh! I went to the Kenlake hotel, checked in an hour prior to check-in time (how often does that happen), and didn’t think about getting any sleep!!! The time now was roughly 11:00 a.m. on Thursday morning.

    They say that the best laid plans of mice and men are foiled, so I really didn’t have an itinerary set in my mind, and thought I would just play it by ear for the most part. However, I knew I wanted to do one thing above all, and that was to fish until it made me sick, and let me tell you brothers and sisters I did just that. I don’t know what it is, but water has a hold on me like nothing else, and I was around A LOT of it in Kentucky. I pulled into the campsite, and the first people that I met were Jim Marshall and Bubbakat who I mistook for Dale (Dafin) for some reason. It really was no big deal, because they didn’t recognize me either! ROTFLOL!!! So much for avatars! Well, I rolled up into the site, and met the man that I have wanted to fish with ever since I stepped foot in this community. With the Indiana Jones hat, and the facial hair there was no mistaking Griz, and it was in that moment that I knew I had fully arrived at my destination. Griz is someone that I keep track of on the board because we have a mutual love and respect for flathead fishing, and his approach to life is so uncomplicated that it’s infectious. I have always spoken to him in chat, and made promises to fish with him for such a long time that it was surreal to finally be with him on his home waters. CoonX was also there with him, along with Matt (Tea). You have a lovely family Matt. I didn't know your wife was from Michigan; no wonder you got it so good.:cool2: I recognized Tea even though we have never met. I am still wondering how they allowed him to cross the Ohio state border.(just kidding) LOL. CoonX you are my kind of fisherman brother, because you fish for everything. I was salivating over that gear of yours, and we will have to talk in the future to get this carp thing straightened out. You take your fishing seriously, and I admire that. I met Mike Holliday shortly after that, and quickly realized why Keystone runs as smoothly as it does. Mike you are an invaluable asset to the BOC, and you were truly a welcoming presence, just like you were the first time we met on the board. No surprises there for sure.

    Well, about thirty minutes later it hit me that I hadn’t really eaten anything since this adventure began except a bowl of Cheerios at 3 in the morning, and a can of sardines at some point on the way. The fuel tank was on E, so I needed to do a pit stop for some chow, and what better place to go than the Pelican Restaurant. Griz and I took off for the Pelican with his wife Tammy. The significance of going to the Pelican wasn’t lost on me because it was a meeting place where some of the members went along with SciFi when he was still alive. That really didn’t dawn on me until after I had been there for about five minutes, and recognized the décor from photos on the old forum. How special was that? I had chicken and dressing, cream corn, pinto beans, and sweetened iced tea. The three of us had a great discussion that ranged from geophysics to Bigfoot, and even revisited an old thread I started when I first became a member almost two years ago! (Yes, people remember that stuff, so be careful what you write! ROTFLOL!) Tammy you are as smart as a whip, and a real joy to talk and listen to…if you ever come to the board please stay out of the high intensity area girl, because they wouldn’t be able to take it. ROTFLOL. After that fine meal and conversation we stopped at the tackle shop, which was really nice, and headed back to the campsite.

    Now you would think after a fine meal like that (I was as full as a tick) I would get some rest after that long drive. No way! I didn’t drive all the way to Kentucky to go to sleep; I could do that in Michigan! It was time to fish, and fish hard! For me, that meant it was time to head off to Energy Lake for an all nighter with Griz, and LilGriz. We convinced David to stay with us, and spent the night on that levee enjoying conversation and hoping to catch a big flathead. We got a couple of runs, but no hookups. The company was priceless however as we stayed about an hour or so after sunrise before we packed it in. I did eventually get a few winks sometime around 11:30 or so that night, but it didn’t matter then because the poles were in the water. Know what I mean?:big_smile: After I returned from the lake I went back to the hotel and ate breakfast with Oldprowler and his wife. Tom is one of the folks on the board whose posts I admire, so it was a pleasure to sit down with him just to see how crusty he really was.:smile2: I really enjoyed the company you two…thanks again for the conversation. Once the meal was over I figured it wouldn’t hurt to sneak in a couple of hours so I crashed only to wake up…yes, a couple of hours later. ROTFLOL.

    Well, it was time to go fishing again, but I didn’t know who I would be fishing with, and lo and behold I ended up fishing with a pair that I never thought I would be fishing with. Teasvalleyguy (Matt) and I were going fishing on Roundhill’s (Ron) pontoon boat. He just told us to grab our stuff, and we headed down to the marina where we caught some baitfish, and proceeded to spend an afternoon doing some drift fishing and BSing. If you have never fished with Roundhill you need to make sure that you have your chest waders on because the stuff gets pretty deep on his boat. ROTFLOL!!! I thought I was going to have to grow wings to fly above some of that conversation!!!:0a1: On the flip side though,
    I felt like I was in high cotton on that pontoon. Ron, you were right man it is like fishing off your front porch only better. You really feel like you could actually land a huge catfish on a rig like that. I learned a lot about drift fishing, and all the catfish in Santee Cooper Reservoir, and a great deal about Ron himself who is a really great guy to spend time on the water with. We didn’t catch any fish, but I had another priceless experience with those two characters. Later that afternoon Tea decided that he wanted to go play cards, so we had to take him back in to shore, and pick up some drinks for the night session. I met Pennsylvaniacatchaser and Catchinghogs there on the shore. Great meeting you guys, hope you had a safe trip back.
    At this juncture, it was beginning to get dark (Friday night) so we pulled up to shore at the campsite where I went in to see if I could snag us a couple of sodas and head back out. It was at this point that I was exposed to some of the great food that was being prepared and eaten. Before the gathering I had read the posts on Pete’s (Shilohred)
    stuffed peppers, so I decided now might be the time to get one or two of them. Yeah right, those things were so good it almost hindered me from going back to the boat! Pete, it was great meeting with you, and your award for top chef was well deserved. Those peppers would make you hurt somebody and Buck’s tenderloin was to die for. It was good seeing you again Buck, even though we didn’t get to do any fishing. Well Roundhill and I went back out that night and got one little hit. I couldn’t believe the fish weren’t biting. We ended the night around midnight or so, but after I got on land I went back to Energy to see how Griz and the gang were doing. That is when I met Wolfman and Catfish72 from West Virginia. Guys if I ever get in that area I will look you up. I stayed there for a minute or so, but didn’t do any fishing that night with them, because I had to meet Roundhill at the marina for an early morning drift session before the gathering lunch.
    Well, the gathering lunch was the first time that my fishing motor went to idle. LOL. The lunch was scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, and it was my first time to meet the bulk of the membership. I am not going to call off all the names because I will miss some folks doing that, but one member walked up to me immediately with a big smile. The funny thing about it was that I have never seen a picture of him (Olyeller), but I knew who he was right away. How strange is that? His avatar is really fuzzy, but I just sensed it was him from his approach. Craig I really enjoy reading your posts, and it was great meeting you and your lovely wife. While I was talking with everybody I had the feeling that cloning would certainly have been nice in that setting, because there just wasn’t enough time to get to know everyone like I wanted. Craig, one of these days brother we need to sit down on the river and spend some quality time together. That was one of the sad moments for me not getting to know many of you better, but I picked my poison. At the end there I realized you have to choose to fish or socialize, and I chose the former, but it was still great just seeing all of you in the flesh. The food was great, and I will never forget that meal.

    Well guess what? Yep, it was time to go fishing again. Buck asked me earlier if I ever went to sleep. Buck, I finally got me some sleep last night. LOL. I was going back to the Marina to meet Roundhill, and got a pleasant surprise. We were going to be fishing with Zakk. I guess Zakk hadn’t been fishing at all at that point, and he was itching to go with somebody. He came with his grandparents, who are some really great people, and you are a fine young man Zakk. They have raised you well. I really enjoyed fishing with you.

    The three of us did some drifting that afternoon for a couple of hours, but the fish just weren’t biting, so we decided to call it, and that was the end of my fishing with Ron. Ron if I ever make it down your way we will fish Santee Cooper. Thank you for taking me fishing, and the good conversation. I hope you had a safe trip back to North Carolina.

    Well, at this point I knew that it was the last call for alcohol, and figured I had one last chance to spend time with Griz, so Zakk and I went to Energy Lake for one last session of fishing before everything came to a close. What kept going through my mind was I had not caught a fish, but that changed on the last night. I caught my first flathead of the year, and it was at Energy Lake with my friend Griz. What else could I have asked for? Maybe a larger flathead (hehe), but at least I didn’t leave the AO empty handed. LOL. I’ll tell you all about it when I post a pic. We stayed there until about 3 in the morning, when I finally surrendered to the fact that I had to get some sleep so I could have a safe return trip home.

    After waking up at eight I realized it was time to regretfully say my goodbyes. That proved to be a lot harder than I realized. I wanted to take some photos and I did with some, and I will attach a smaller post with each when we find out where to put them here. I will mention them individually, and share my thoughts about them later, but for the guys that I fished with it was meant to be, and very special to me. I couldn’t have scripted the weekend any better. I think it was fitting that the last people I said goodbye to was Griz and his family. Thank you for your hospitality, and the conversation. I had to fight back a few tears when I crossed Kentucky Lake that’s for sure, but I have the memories to last me for a lifetime.

    In closing, I would just like to thank:

    Paul and the staff for working so hard to make this gathering one for the history books…

    Dale for giving me such a hard time and just being Dale…hope to see you in Kansas one day sir…thanks for finding my Coleman light…

    Gene for those fabulous glow sticks of his…one was attached to the float that went under…

    BubbaKat for sharing a little of your background with the 25th in the chow line. Thank you for your service in Vietnam brother…

    Tom (Canepole) thanks for making the sinkers brother, even though they went to Doc Lange. ROTFLOL. Tom next time you are going to have to ask me a tougher question than, “What is a T-10?” That’s like asking a Seattle native what an umbrella is…ROTFLOL…was good to see you again…

    Mom and Pop Cremeans...you folks are hilarious and a joy to be around...

    JDStraka change that avatar man…what a guy…

    Gary Coffey for the conversation and that wonderful scale…you almost had me into that solar powered lantern…hehe

    Barb and Wendell for doing that swap on the flathead rod…Sure we will see more of Wendell on the board now...

    CoonX for the boilies…

    My wife for supporting me in my endeavors, and the good Lord too, because without him none of this would be possible…

    Thank you all for being part of the greatest catfishing community on and off the internet. Whether there are any in the future is beyond the scope of my understanding, but I can always say that I went to the first no matter what happens in the future. If you missed it don’t think about it too much, just get off the computer and go fishing sometime with one of the members in your state, or go to a local gathering. It won’t be the same, but it will get you off this computer, and get you more involved. For me, this place will never be the same after that experience. Thank you one and all from the bottom of my heart.

    Vic
     
  6. bwanatony

    bwanatony New Member

    Messages:
    580
    State:
    Grand River Valley, Weste
    Thanks for the rundown, Victor,
    you make feel like I was there instead of Traverse City watching my son's soccer team lose three games in the tourney...
    Oh well, maybe next year we can both go.

    Santee Cooper... now that would be a good location for next year. Hmmmm...
     
  7. dreamcatcher

    dreamcatcher New Member

    Yeah, that would be nice. On the flip side, we need to get together here for sure, and we will Lord willing...There is still a flathead in my future. The winter feed should still be going on for awhile yet. When the smoke clears a little I will give you a buzz for sure.
     
  8. teaysvalleyguy

    teaysvalleyguy New Member

    Messages:
    9,751
    State:
    GC, OHIO
    Great post Vic, we sure had a fun time with Ron. I hope to meet up with ya again soon and wet a line. Glad ya found your wallet also.
     
  9. Bubbakat

    Bubbakat New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    McMinnvill
    Vic that was a good post you have done here and I must say it was my pleasure to get to talk with you.
     
  10. Katmaster Jr.

    Katmaster Jr. New Member

    Messages:
    4,644
    State:
    Wilmington, NC
    Awesome post Vic, had a great time fishing with you!
     
  11. roundhill

    roundhill New Member

    Messages:
    810
    State:
    kings mtn
    vic i still owe you some fish come on down to santee anytime you are a class guy and need to hang into a biggen let me know anytime.ron howard
     
  12. Doctor

    Doctor Member

    Messages:
    378
    State:
    Springfield, Ohio
    Dreamcatcher and Roundhill,

    It was great meeting you both at the Marina, Roundhill stay on top of that Lowrance buddy hope it works out well for you, 1/2 inch of yellow along the bottom should do it for sensitivity...............Doc
     
  13. dafin

    dafin New Member

    Messages:
    1,461
    State:
    Manhattan,Kan
    Vic it was great meeting you . Any time you can get to kansas you are welcome to stay at my home . Maybe we could find a flathead or two.
     
  14. ka_c4_boom

    ka_c4_boom New Member

    Messages:
    2,252
    State:
    Bedford,Ky
    that was a great post vic , worst part about not goin is not meeting everyone who did go , regret is setting in , thanks to you and your post lol you did a fine job of explaining your trip i almost felt as though i was there , not

    thanks again for sharing
     
  15. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    Vic I only wish you could have had a great time there. Hope the next one you do get to have fun it it. LOL
    It was good to meet you . And glad you enjoyed the peppers.
    Pete
     
  16. dreamcatcher

    dreamcatcher New Member

  17. Katmaster Jr.

    Katmaster Jr. New Member

    Messages:
    4,644
    State:
    Wilmington, NC
    Vic, on that night I was happy to see any fish....:lol: I wish I had got that one that hit mine, if only I had put a good glowstick on my bobber, I won't make the mistake again though...lol

    Zakk