The Nantahala river, North Carolina!

FAOL on the Nantahala River, NC - Thanksgiving 1999

By Susan Cox

What a way to kick off the holidays with a gathering of FAOL from the south. North Georgia Trout Online (NGTO) were also in attendance.

The FAOL group

Left to right: Tangled Angler, slicfoot, Tropic, Lady Jane, Grizzly Hackle and Eric.

The weather was awful! Driving from South Carolina to Georgia to meet Terry Crosier (Tangled Angler) who was driving up from Florida proved to be a little depressing. I was sick with a cold and keeping my fingers crossed that it didn't develop into the flu. I had to meet Dave Ulmer (Slic) and Peter Gorinski (Tropic from Costa Rica) and Eric (Eric). This was a do or die trip. Thank goodness for understanding husbands. Although on the way over he let me know that he'd rather take me to meet my fishing buddies than drag him to the mall, kind of his trade off for not going to fight the crowds.

Jeff Fields (Grizz)

After repacking Terry's car in the parking lot of McDonald's in Clayton to fit my stuff in (and boy was that an undertaking!) we drove the last hour to the river. The rain poured down, not a mist, not a drop here or there, it poured! We took the "scenic route" which I had discovered a few weeks earlier. This meant a narrow, winding, twisting road over several mountains. Well, it was scenic.. We arrived at the campground to find Jeff Field's (Grizz) pop up parked and two other people crazy enought to be in the 40 degree rain setting up camp. Jeff was no where to be seen. Terry and I walked over to the other campers and introduced ourselves. They were from NGTO, (North Georgia Trout Organization) Joe Carnahan (HoochRat) and his friend. After a very short discussion about the obvious weather we started setting up camp. Tents up, wet and cold...the sun decided to show up. Well, better late than never.

Grizz crossing the Nant Jeff and Peter returned about the same time. Jeff, Peter and Terry gathered their gear and headed to the river. I hit the sleeping bag, hoping for warmth and praying that it wasn't the flu. After a nap and filling a million times better I went about introducing myself to the NGTO's that had arrived.

Dave Ulmer, Slicfoot Then came Dave Ulmer (Slic) looking for the redneck girl. We were up to 18 people! Terry grilled chicken for everyone that night. Everyone gathered around the community fire and got aquainted and told the typical lies. What a turnout this was!

Beautiful Nant

Early the next morning..the rooster (in the form of Owl from NGTO) crowed. It had gotten down to 28 degrees during the night. Owl couldn't sleep with no heat so nobody else was going to either. As soon as I knew the fire was roaring I scratched out and went in pursuit of Owl. I thought Owl stew for lunch kind of sounded good. He'd already left to go fishing.

Peter Gorinski, Tropic

Mike (Boxcar) rolled in after a harrowing trek across the mountain in the fog. But he was here, and we were glad to see him. Mike and Grizz left to go fishing. I waited for Slic and Tropic to take me to breakfast. We found a place for Tropic to get his American breakfast...eggs, biscuits, ham, and grits. We finally made it to the river about noon. But the trout didn't seem to mind. We all caught fish and enjoyed the rather pleasant weather.

Small Falls on the Nant Joe Carnahan (HoochRat) from NGTO fed the crowd on Saturday night. Listening to his swamp stories and eating his beans, sausage, and rice was the highlight of Saturday night. Again, we sat around the campfire telling stories about the big ones that always seemed to get away.

Eric and His 1st Trout!
Sunday morning Eric and Kelly arrived from Florida. Grizz once again snatched him away and took him to the river. I waited for Slic and Tropic to take me to breakfast. Tropic had to have his American breakfast. We made it to the river by 12 this time. The trout were not biting like they had the day before but still we caught fish and enjoyed each other's company.

Grizz and Eric Eric caught his first trout. I met Tropic, Slic and Eric and the NGTO guys. Grizz still holds the record for snoring, although Owl nearly put him to shame. Tropic got his American breakfast. Terry got to take pictures of some of one of the most beautiful rivers in NC. Boxcar got to fish "my river" and Slic got to meet a real red neck girl. Putting faces with the names, meeting new people and renewing old friendships...all a part of the fly fishing fraternity.~ Susan Cox (aka Lady Jane)

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