In the several days prior to the One Fly Event at Blue River it looked like this tournament might be a miserable and wet affair. Come late Thursday afternoon though, I knew for some reason we had received a blessing. The coming rain had slowed on it's course and wouldn't arrive until later on Saturday.
Ralph Fullenwider had hit the river mid-week and established a base camp for the event. Chris Adams hit Friday and established an anchor point in the corner. I arrived around 7:30 on Friday to throw up a tent. Soon, Charlie Wright and Mercurio would do the same. It wasn't long until Byron Dowd, Matt Harrington would also pitch tents.
When John Haney arrived we begin to make plans on all of us breaking bread together. But of course before doing that we had to fish just a little. Never in my thirty plus years on the river have I seen a more gin clear river than Friday. It was almost surreal in a way. The small mouth bass seem to be quite active now with four of this entourage capturing this species.
Our menu called for apple-wood bacon wrapped chicken breasts grilled over mesquite by Michael Mercurio, two Dutch oven creations - roasted vegetables along with a chicken pot pie, and a salad.
While waiting on the good eats to cook, we sit around the campsite shooting the breeze, laughing, and having a most wonderful fellowship.
The eats were excellent and I do mean excellent. After cleaning the Dutch ovens it was time for this older fellow to begin to settle in.
Now, let me tell you a recipe for a long night in a tent. First you run around all day long trying to get stuff done in preparation for the next day. Then add a little fishing time in with that and come mid-afternoon you still haven't drank any water. Of course as the time to eat approaches you decide to have a couple of beers to relax. Then you think you should drink a cup of coffee to counteract the beer and afterwards it's clear the beer tastes much better so you have a couple of more. Now, you get to thinking that water is a good idea in order to stave off the dehydration that surely is setting in so you hit the water bottle. After successfully carpet-bombing your bladder, which also puts extra pressure on your worn-out prostate, you mummify yourself in a sleeping bag that has absolutely no room to stretch the legs.
Of course within an hour you're up having to pee and after that you mummify yourself again. It's not long until the Charlie horse cramps hit you - Charlie horse cramps that are so severe there is no choice than to fly out of the sleeping bag. We've all seen football players rolling around and cringing on the turf from leg cramps and that was how it was for me Friday night.
Sitting on the cold vinyl floor of a tent, surrounded by 32 degree air that has set up hard inside said tent, you try to find ways to amuse yourself. Ways such as pretending you're Puff the magic dragon while you blow air from your mouth that magically turns into smoke puffs due to the frigid temperature.
They say misery likes company and without knowing it I had said company in the fashion of Charlie Wright. It seems Charlie also had a long night.
Around the wee hours of the morning I heard Charlie rustling around outside his tent. I was still sitting up, and in listening to Charlie I figured he was just looking for something. It wasn't long until the sound of Charlie gathering firewood, along with the sound of coffee brewing was rather detectable.
Looking at the travel clock I'd brought it showed 4:30, so I decide to get up and join Charlie around the campfire. Sometime during the night, however, the set button on that clock must have been bumped because it wasn't 4:30... it was actually 3:30.
So there Charlie and I sit while watching our supply of firewood slowly dwindle away, hoping that it would hold out for the four hours we had to go until the start of the One Fly.
Day 131 - The Event Takes Place
At six Boone Mehrman would arrive and this wasn't surprising because he always gets to the river early. Slowly, one by one, the contestants pulled in and amazingly everyone was on time. We did learn early that one of the old salts of Blue River, also a contestant, had been hospitalized. Prayers and thoughts were given for Jamie Webster and we all hope he has a speedy recovery.
Teams were paired, directions given, and it was then revealed that Jason Williams had successfully guessed the mystery fly in the form of a size 14 Partridge and Orange. Jason won the six pack of Carpolo Charlie carp flies.
|A trout taken by Ralph Fullenwider on Partridge and Orange|
As Michael, Charlie, and me got the guys off to the river... we kicked back and did much of nothing.
Check in time was 12:30 and ever single contestant made it back on time. The plan now was to add up the score cards while lunch prepared by Ralph was served. Many thanks to Ralph Fullenwider for lunch - this guy worked his tail off making sure none of us perished from starvation.
|Ralph Fullenwider - our lunch chef.|
Here are the winners.
Coming in third was Michael Boger of Durant, Oklahoma. Michael received a Spirit River rotary vise. Presenting the award is Charlie Wright.
Taking second place was Wyatt Spurgin of Sherman, Texas. Wyatt received an Okuma Sierra 5/6 reel for his placing. Presenting the award is Michael Mercurio.
And the winner of the first ever One Fly tournament at Blue River was Mike Littrell. Mike recorded eleven trout to hand. For his achievement he received a $100.00 Cabela's gift certificate presented by Michael Mercurio and Charlie Wright.
We had the random drawing next and by 1:30 we were saying our so-longs and telling everyone we'd see them at the next event.
Ten minutes later... it begin to rain. How very blessed we were during this event.