NANFA-L-- 2004 convention caspers report 1

Subject: NANFA-L-- 2004 convention caspers report 1
Date: Mon Nov 15 2004 - 13:28:20 CST

just for memories here is a long report i wrote after the great time i had
in sc-in-the 2004 nanfa gathering. if you missed it you missed a wonderful
time. thanks to everyone who organized and participated in nanfas ever improving
NANFA 2004 Convention Columbia SC
I headed south from Chattanooga and arrived west of Columbia-in-Chip's
workplace, a monofilament factory. A smooth drive with the AC on took 4.5 hours
and a very sweltering SC heat greeted me. We immediatily left and headed to the
zoo for a quick lookaround and a couple pre-convention errands. Chip and
Dustin had chosen a great place for our gathering and we were in for a treat!
Native tanks tested my ID skills and a look-in-Jim's Pygmy Sunfish Breedery was
firing my excitment. We loaded back up, dropped my van and gear-in-the motel
and headed to Chip's home. His backyard is water gardened with an interesting
network of flowing pools and plants. All the pools were connected with
spillways and minature stream flows. In each pool resided different species
seperated by screened spillways. A nifty feeding trick was leaving a couple boards
laying on a termite mound. He picked up the boards, held them over a pool and
clacked them together. The Black Banded Sunfish came to the surface and
proceeded to eat the termites while sounding like a bowl of Rice Krispies a
popping! Chip fired up the grill to give us our feeding and we shared an excellent
dinner of steak, portabellas, aspargus, multicolored bell peppers and sweet
potatos. He has his steak grilling technique timed to perfection with a
stopwatch. I need to work on an aspargus bed as ive discovered their good taste
and grilling is another way to enjoy them. A great meal, we rested, visited
with his family and discussed the next day's activities.
The next morning he picked me up and the two of us along with Dustin ran a
few final errands for the convention. Steve caught up with us via cellphone
while we were-in-the zoo and we synced for a nice BBQ lunch buffet with all
kinds of southern vegetables and a bowl of tooth snapping salt pork hard rind. I
have not had that since i was a little boy-in-my Grandmother's. Getting our
fill we headed back to the Holiday Inn to finish setting up the hospitality
room. I iced the drinks and laid out the Moon Pies & chips. A NANFA shirt was
stretched and presented for signing by attendies for a English fishhead who
could not attend. Banners and posters were hung and registration packages
prepared. Before long folks began to arrive and the evening and socializing went
on into the late night. My brain was flombumbled by the end of the evening
trying to keep up with t-shirt sales, new faces and remembered names, scribing
and correctly spelling registration badges and renewing old friendships and
learning of new acquaintances. I knew the next day's early morning water
mucking was fast approaching and i bugged out for the motel!
Early Friday morning everyone gathered for their 4 preselected trips. I had
choosen Gerald's and Dr. Goldstein's NE of Columbia run as i wanted to
experience the area immediatly surrounding Columbia. Ranger Bob and Pierre joined
me in the van and off the caravan went. A long delayed start and a near left
behind while waiting in WalMart's parking lot for Gerald's last minute fishing
license purchase got my nerves edgy but the first site's water washed that
away. New fish and fellow muckers getting wet. Everyone was calling out
something new from their nets. We worked upstream and then back downstream. Watch
out for snakes. What's this! It was hard to get us out of the first location
and on to the others. The next stop provided lots of boot sucking mucky swamp
water and beautiful fish to keep one motivated. Over my head, bobbing like a
cork, the cool water refreshed my body as i struggled to unsnag my leg from
the tangled roots but all i had wanted was a bit of water for my bottle! Steep
banks, drop-offs, thorns, cross current swimming across rivers with a 30' bag
 seine in tow, stinging neetles and a Water Moccasin lounging in a dark
retreat. I tried to keep up with my siene masters Peter and Dave but about the
most i could do by the end of the day was hold a plastic bag open. We probably
hit 5 or 6 unique spots and viewed many different species. I was finally worn
out after crossing a rickety wire fence topped with barb wire. I had a pretty
good picture of what would happen if that fence wire snapped just as i swung
my last leg over!
After a serious demucking and a refreshing shower the three of us fellow
riders along with the Ranger's Betsy headed to the local Lizard Thicket for
another meal of southern cooking. We three Tennesseans had Pierre's very much
deprived yankee roots in mind. As i remember he had a plate of country fried
steak, blackeye peas, collard greens, fried okra and corn bread. (?) That is
southern cooking! A much needed relaxing and socializing meal topped with a much
needed sleep got us ready for the next day.
A hectic morning loading ice coolered drinks, moon pies, signs and banners
for the trip to the zoo. Ive learned to ask for help and am so glad that i
recieve it! Several folks readily chipped in with this hurried activity. We got
everything up and settled into some wonderful talks. All were interesting and
entertaining. Having the gathering-in-the zoo provided a great place to
wander in and out of between speakers. I especially enjoyed Tyler's talk, learning
of Ditch Crickets from Brian, seeing some cool 12 volt video of the Robust
Redhorse, listening to Fritz's described descriptions forays, Dave's "I love
sculpins... please dont eat them" and Gerald's colorized shiners expose. A
lunch break in the midst provided the opportunity to revisit the Lizard Thicket
with Todd, Ranger Bob, Betsy, and Nick and Steven. Ive always enjoyed reading
Todd's stories on the list and Nick described a new one from another
perspective. It was a turtle's encounter with a car driven by Todd who was following
and peering out the side window ( as we all do when crossing bridges! ). The
scene from Nick's rear view mirror is permanently etched and splattered on
Nick's mind. We also got a prolonged viewing session of some of softball's
youngest and finest players. Lots of abupt mid sentence stutters and slack and
bumble bobbed jaws all the while with Betsy giving us the knowing look! Back
to the zoo!
After the speakers we had a couple hours to relax and socialize with members
new and old. Dave showed me the new Alabama book... and im saving my money!
Some of his excellent illustrations were included within. Mark and i wandered
along through the zoo eventually enjoying the cool AC and freshwater
native's tanks. Lots of other folks were arriving and taking in the excellent
exhibits and surroundings. The banqueteers were setting up round tables in the salt
water aquaria hallway and i found a table up against the blacklighted UV
glowing jellies. The word was eventually called and i made a mad dash for the
front of the line but big Phil blocked me reminding me of proper manners for but
 just a second or two as i twisted pass. Boy was that meal good. I liked
everything especially the musterd sauced BBQ and low country boil all topped
with ice tea and finally pecan pie with whipped cream. We had a nice table and i
enjoyed catching up with Phil, Mark and Susan and Pat.
The tables were cleared and i underwent a red faced bashful from a glowing
review presented by our fine editor Chris. Speaking in public creates a case of
 lock jaw stutter for me especially when i'm overwhelmed, suprised and
blindsided! Chris, more deservingly, shortly afterwards received his well earned
fellow fella acknowlegment. NANFA is such a fun, inspiring and knowledgable
organization. I want to urge everyone to contribute the best they can to this
entirely voluntary school of fishheads. We have something valuable between all
of us. Lets each and all work together to make NANFA the best it can be!
A trip deep into the amazon was presented by Dr. Goldstein. Jungles, rivers,
exportation dodges, new fishes, lodging, carnival, waterfalls and aireal
views. A neat trip. There are so many places to see on this earth... but so many
are right here in North America, and NANFA, Chip and Dustin provided all of
us an opportunity to explore South Carolina. Thanks guys!
Phil wrapped up the evening with another one of his skilled and entertaining
auctioneering marathons. Lots of good deals to be had and fun to watch the
scrambling. Thanks to Jan for the seine donations and his many bid wins. I
should have busted my fifty dollar limit on the Blue Sucker! An artistic copper
hewn finned fish that i was yearning to show up-in-Scott Mettee's door with!
Hats off for Phil's SRBD artwork and Klaus's engraved plate. Everyone should
come up with something unique like that for next year's auction. I was
reminded of Peter's purchase of Betsy's cutout "missing" fish plaque... "The one
that got away!" froma few years back.
I was able to visit with a few more folks between the bid wars and a few
good byes were said but i was keen on the next day's plan.

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: Fri Dec 31 2004 - 12:42:49 CST