The next item up for bid was a one night stay, guided trout fishing and some sporting clays at the Eseeola Lodge in Linville, NC. My proxy had her instructions and top bid amount. I started the bidding…which made sense since I was the auctioneer. This was of course a friendly auction part of our Triangle Fly Fishers annual pig-pickin’ and fund raising event.
The bidding soon settled into a bidding war between my proxy and one other couple bent on the winning the trip. My proxy said at one point to the couple, “You might as well give up now…that trip is mine.” Did I mention this was a friendly auction?
Ultimately, my proxy won the bidding and the trip was ours; me and my proxy; who of course was my wife. She has grown to accept that any trip I take has to include fly fishing or mountain biking and often both. She has also grown to accept going to resorts that offer wonderful accommodations and fine dining along with their sporting activities.
I have no issue with that…it’s not something we can afford frequently but I have to admit that after a long day chasing fish with the long rod, its kinda nice to get all gussied up and head to dinner. It’s great to have folks cater to your needs and at least for that moment feel like a Rockefeller.
So with our certificate for the trip in hand, we planned our visit to Linville and The Eseeola Lodge. Anytime I win something from an auction like this, whether a day of guided fishing or a night at a lodge, I feel compelled to add a day or two. I feel compelled primarily to thank the folks that donated the trip to help our group with conservation efforts.
In this case we booked two extra nights and I was amazed at how appreciative Alan, the outdoor program coordinator and top guide at the lodge was. He was genuinely thrilled that we booked the extra days and I think that helped grease the wheels for getting another trip donated to our fly fishing club.
Alan was a wonderful guide…very patient with a pleasant demeanor. That’s important because my wife Julie has actually begun fly fishing when we go to these types of places and having a guide that is great with newbies is important. It allows me time to fish, allows us both to be cheerful at the end of the day, and keeps us out of divorce court.
We fished the Linville River, a medium sized freestone stream, which contained a mix of wild trout, stockers and holdovers. The river is divided into beats and only club members or lodge guests have access to the beats. Sure, some would disdain the stocked and managed fish…especially when the tail waters of the South Holston and Watauga are a short drive a way…oh but wait, without the dams neither of those rivers would hold trout. Please…don’t be a trout snob and especially don’t be a fly fishing hypocrite. Catching fish on a fly is plain fun, even if it was out of Uncle Pappy’s trout farm.
Alan taught Julie how to roll cast and she learned fast and did quite well. She caught fish both on dry flies and nymphs, while I spent most of my time fishing streamers with my “patented” techniques. As you can see…we had some success. I’d highly recommend spending a day or even a half day with Alan…he’s a great guide and a heckuva nice guy. We really had a blast…no literally…we did some sporting clays on the five stand which is really well done and challenging. Alan’s a dang good shooter as well, gave us some good pointers and helped both of us hit those clays.
The lodge itself is a great place to stay. It’s not cheap, but the accommodations, food, staff and grounds are in my opinion well worth the splurge. I know this may sound like an advertisement and perhaps it is and perhaps someone at Eseeola will read this and comp us another night…or not. What I really liked about our short trip is the cleansing spirit of the place…with Grandfather Mountain looking over us and Eseeola taking care of us, it’s a great place to just be.
Of course someone asked me if I was jealous of Julie’s fish…I replied, “Hell no…I’m proud. She’s becoming a good fly fisher and is a helluva lot better looking that my other fishing buddies!”