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NEC 8 - Lake Placid, New York

From: Eli Robillard
To: FlyFish@
Subject: NEC VIII, Wilmongton Notch NY
Date sent: Mon, 4 Jun 2001 14:33:47 -0400

It was a damn fine weekend.

I bust a lantern, the tent had holes, my air mattress didn't hold air, it rained and blew, my neoprenes leaked, I didn't catch a fish over 10", and I wouldn't trade it all for a damn thing.

Arrived on Thursday. Heard about Wednesday's snow and strong winds. Prepared for a cool night and more strong winds which came on cue. Fished a fast section that afternoon, no luck but spent some time watching a local wade some crazy fast water and learned a whole lot. Particularly, how to Kreutzer intentionally to reach a good spot downstream. It's hard to explain but usually when you see an angler you think "guy in water" as though one doesn't naturally belong in the other, unlike "deer in woods." But once in a while you see someone on such intimate terms with the water it's as natural as a duck coming through or a hatch coming off. I don't know if I've seen it more than once, but it's sure something to aim for.

Stayed up late, drinking and soaking up time with old friends at this home away from home. Got a tarp on the tent to keep the water out, proper clothes (two layers of thermals, gloves and a toque) did the rest.

Friday was the Saranac. Andrew and Sophie got into some fish, Blake found a nice one and soon after I got one too. Later it was the Iron Bridge but the fish were MIA, apparently they had a pounding that morning and were resting up for a busy evening out.

The chili cook-off rocked. I missed out on Agust's winning entry but based on the runners up the judges had a tough job and in the end complexity and character won out. Thankfully the night was a shade warmer, as sleeping outdoors proved a necessity. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Somewhere between 4 and 5 it was safe to wake and head to the enclosed surroundings of a warmer, drier tent. Rain hammered through the night.

Saturday was lazy. Found some cooperative brookies in a place I can't wait to work through again. Fished with Tyson and Ken O'Brien that evening but we couldn't solve the puzzle. The day before each took some fine fish but tonight they were being real picky. Next time.

Then the potluck. This meal is giving Christmas dinner some real competition as best of the year. Drendel's oxtail, the burritos, Bersted's stout, Black Richard's Kim Chi, the seafood stew, the chicken rice, the carrot cake, Agust's marinated steaks, the Roberts' Tandoori chicken, what a feast. I ate until I couldn't, and then I ate some more.

Sunday was pull-out, packed before the rain came. I was lucky enough to stumble into the Swamp seeking coffee as a dutch oven fulla Mountain Man was being served. I'm pretty sure Kim had a lead role in its production, and it was a worthy sequel to her delicious chili (the world needs more feta cheese). I dunno what's in this breakfast treat but damn it's fine. And Splinta provided the best cup of coffee of the weekend.

Fished the St. Regis on the way out. Found a nice section below a beaver dam where I could fish from the grassy bank. There was a nice drizzle on and fish were rising to a Cahill through a sparse hatch.

Hooked a nice little brookie and fell forward on my knees to be close to the water where I could let him go. Them undercut banks fool ya, the next quarter second happend in slow motion. My left knee kept travelling forward through the grass as my upper body rotated forward in a half somersault to the water. My left arm reached back and out for the bank to pivot me around as my right arm swung around, my right hand sliding up the cork grip in time to trap the reel flat on the bank. Somewhere in the middle of that was the deep splash of the rest of me hitting the water. My jacket and vest were soaked up to the neck but the jacket kept most of the water out. I swung for a second against the bank, let go, found my footing and landed the fish. Later I got one a little bigger from the head of the funnel below the dam. I'm not sure if it was a Kreutzer, I fell in from the side and the waders didn't fill up. I put it to the judges for the official decision.

Thanks to Chris and Luis for another great weekend. There's a reason people look forward to this all year.

Damn fine weekend.

Take care,
Eli.

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada