Mike Carey - 5/3/2016
It was a weekend of firsts for me. First time having our Chelan Get-together at Lake Chelan State Park, and the first time taking out my new boat! The only (major) bummer was my wife JoAnn came down sick with what I had just recovered from. So as I was feeling human again Thursday evening, she was off to bed with a fever and chills. It bummed me out that she and our dogs weren’t along to take the first boat ride in our new boat.
I arrived midday Friday and put my new Thunderbird Luxor in. The lake was glassy calm and I decided to get a few hours of fishing in. It was actually good to be alone and start the journey of learning about my boat and how best to set everything up. The fishing was secondary; however, I got no bites after a couple of hours of trolling and called it early, enjoying dinner with co-NWFR owner Aaron Borg, his fiancée Casandra, and their friend Noah. One delicious teriyaki meal later it was off to an early bedtime in order to get up bright and early and go after those addictive kokanee again.
Saturday morning I met our Sales and Marketing VP, Rob Holman and his daughters at 6am. We headed out to a glorious morning, fishing from the State Park down lake to Monument. We hooked a fish immediately at 60 feet deep and my guests graciously let me catch the first fish in my boat. So the boat was christened with kokanee blood, not a bad way to start!
Unfortunately for us the rest of the morning was a tough one. We got one more bite but it came off. Randy and his wife Karen, our event Chefs, had arrived at camp, so we headed in at 9:30am to start setting up for the day’s events. Rseas and his wife Karen, daughter Aubrey, and friend Haley had driven out from Bellingham just for the day to run the kitchen. And what a kitchen they run! Fish Tacos are Randy's specialty and much in demand by event guests!
If you’ve never been to Lake Chelan State Park, do yourself a favor – go! It’s a beautiful park, with sweeping waterfront property, a nice two lane ramp, and plenty of dock space. Despite over 70 guests and lots of boats there was plenty of space for all. New for this year, the park now has overnight mooring docks where campers can tie up their boats and either sleep in the boats, or, sleep on shore in a tent. It’s something JoAnn and I will definitely being taking advantage of next year.
The event picnic shelter and amphitheater couldn’t be better, and the support of the park rangers was outstanding. They went out of their way to make us feel welcome, checking in on us as we set up for the day, pointing out electrical outlets and other necessities.
As the time approached 5pm dinner I admit I had a certain level of anxiety. Where were all the people that had RSVP’d? It seemed like a small number of guests at first. But after busying myself with some last minute details I took another look and saw a great crowd of people, laughing, making new acquaintances and reestablishing friendships that have taken on a yearly cycle. Aaron and I looked out over the crowd of new and old friends, all brought about by the commonality of a fishing website. We expressed our profound sense of satisfaction and fulfillment of a dream started long ago, to create a community of anglers that shared a like goal, that of sharing information and helping each other to be better anglers. It was a humbling moment to be sure.
The event was a huge hit. Randy and Karen had once again satiated our appetites with fish tacos, and members brought a cornucopia of potluck items. Pepe of kokanee dance fishing fame even sent out four pies from Blueberry Hills Farms in Chelan – yumm!
One of the highlights during the day was free boat rides from Life Proof Boats on their 30 foot convertible boat. Zero to sixty in a matter of seconds and incredibly tight turning radius makes this the most nimble boat I have ever been on. It’s like being on a jet sled, but with the stability of a prop. With its safety collar, this boat just screams off shore tuna trips!
After dinner the group retired to the amphitheater to hear sponsor talks.
We heard presentations from Mack’s Lure, Greys Harbor Unders, Sand Sinker, and Kekeda Tackle, learning about the newest gear and innovations coming out for 2016.
All the event participants were given gift packs, and the grand finally was a drawing of ever more valuable prize packages, culminating in an over $500 packet of items to the grand prize winner!
With that, the evening came to an end, and people slowly filter back to their campsites or hotel rooms. Another NWFR Get-together in the books. Fun, family, and comradery - it’s what our event is all about. We hope that next year you’ll mark the calendar and join us!
Thank you to our sponsors for their support and help in making this another successful and fun event!
Life Proof Boats
Grays Harbor Unders
General Store, Ace Hardware, Spokane
Super Dipping Sauce
Columbia River Knife and Tool