Al Campbell, Field Editor

September 22nd, 2003

See You There?
By Al Campbell

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 knowledge.

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. ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns

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