NANFA-- GA Region - Year End Summary

Rose Lawn Museum (
Tue, 31 Dec 2002 11:36:01 -0500

Hi All

This final day of 2002 is a quiet one, giving me a few moments to look back
over my notes from this year. To say that my life is busy is a huge
understatement. Nevertheless, this peculiar fascination with fish has
provided me with an almost therapeutic escape from a "too busy" existence,
and has led me through some of the most beautiful land in the country.

January found me responding to the invitation of the guys over in SC,
Dustin Smith and Chip Rinehart. Along with our excellent guide Fritz Rohde
(Wilmington, NC), we began at the lowest point in SC and traced a path up
along the western border of the state.

In March, the GA Region hosted the first of many planned assaults on the
Okefenokee Swamp. This successful journey drew seventeen participants from
seven different states, included a nice on-site fish swap.

Spring comes early to the South (thank God!), and with the month of April
came the Seinerama at the TN River Gorge, engineered by the Snorkelmeister
himself, Casper Cox. Our TN Rep. gave us a wonderful slice of nature and
local culture, with great accommodations.

In May, I always look forward to a Memorial Day weekend with NANFA
President Bruce Stallsmith. This year he took us to Little River near Ft.
Payne, AL. A paradise for snorkelers, this site featured crystal clear
water with an incredible submerged canyon and areas of current that rival
any theme park ride.

In June, I was back over in SC with Chip Rinehart, near historic Edgefield.
We sought and located Christmas darters and even found a stream named for
me. How cool was that?

By July, the GA Region was ready to host another outing. This one centered
around the spectacular Tallulah Gorge, making a circle through the borders
of GA, NC, & SC. Along the way, this memorable trip included dense fog,
torrential rain, local folklore, an ambitious lady of the evening, and a
close encounter with law enforcement.

Later in the same month I had the pleasure of entertaining refugees from a
huge cichlid convention in Atlanta, including South Carolina Rep. Dustin
Smith, his friend Dan Hagley, Charles Ray (Auburn, AL), and Michael &
Clarine Gaines (Kansas City, MO). We chased rainbow shiners in a creek near
my home. Later we visited Long Swamp Creek near Tate, GA.

Early in August, I made a solo trip across the border into AL, chasing the
elusive Fundulus bifax in the Tallapoosa River system.

Also in August, I was cordially received in Southern Ohio by NANFAns Mark
Binkley, Eric Massengill, and Nick Zarlinga. Geoff Kimber and his family
made the trip up from Lexinton, KY, and Kathy Duffey, who works with Nick
at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, came along as well. After liberating
Mark's car from temporary embarrassment, we explored the Mad River and
parts of the Little Darby Creek. On the trip home, I stopped briefly at
Eagle Creek near Sadieville, KY.

In September, MS Rep. Martin Moore summoned us to Tishomingo State Park in
the NE corner of his state. The fish chases were great, providing me with
some of the finest SRBDs I've ever seen. And, despite Martin's dire
predictions, they are all still alive!

October found me over in AL again. This time a group of the usual suspects
(the TN Valley Gang) met at the Birmingham home of Stott Noble. This trip
saw young Dave Neely's return from exile (actually, he's completing his
doctoral dissertation). We sampled parts of the Little Cahaba River,
snorkeled in Turkey Creek, and found the secret home of the rare rush
darter. You really haven't lived until you've eaten some of Stott's "beer
can chicken!"

Okay, let's see...if I counted correctly, that's eight states in the same
year. Not too bad for working two jobs and traveling much of the time in
borrowed vehicles. I really tried hard to make it over to Texas, but it
just never happened. Sorry, Rob, I'll try harder in '03!

I can't say enough about the wonderful people my association with NANFA has
brought me into contact with this year. Everywhere I went, I was treated
well. All of these folks, in their own way, taught me something and freely
shared fishlore, food, lodgings, and a comraderie of the highest order.

If you get to come to GA in '03, give me a shout. Otherwise, meet me at the
convention over in Huntsville.

Thanks, NANFA! Happy New Year!

All The Best,
Steven A. Ellis
NANFA GA Regional Representative
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