November 12, 2021
Old Friends & Big Fish … PLUS
OK… this IS a “another damn fishing story” but it is A LOT MORE. I hope most of you “get” the LOTS MORE.
On August 20, 1965 twenty-eight UNC college football recruits checked in to Ehringhaus Dorm. Many/most were wearing their high school monogram jackets.
Yours truly (1) assigned them a room, (2) handed them a urine specimen cup and (3) strongly recommended they bury those “High School Harry” monogram jackets in the bottom of their foot lockers.
Four years later… of those 28 starry-eyed recruits in August 1965, ELEVEN “survived” as “Carolina Junction Boys“.
Of those eleven survivors … “three plus me” gathered this week in Plaquemines Parish Louisiana for the fishing adventure of a lifetime in The Redfish Capital of The World. 3,000,000 acres of salt marsh where The Mississippi empties into The Gulf of Mexico.
Our host was Clinton’s own “Dr. Tommy” Dempsey … nationally-renown pediatric orthopedic surgeon (retired) – certified fly-fisherman extraordinaire AND …
… The Next To Next To Last White Running Back at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill!
As the only member of the Suburban Gun & Rod Club who (1) knows whats in “Boudin”; and (2) still despises his backfield coach from 1967 …”Dr Tommy” was the perfect host.
NOTE: The Suburban Gun & Rod Club’s sleeping quarters are somewhere between “the bunkhouse in Yellowstone” and new recruit barracks at Parris Island … without a DI banging a garbage can at 5 AM. It did not matter one bit.
“Dr Tommy” is also the only “Carolina Junction Boy” who has made 22 trips to The Amazon for peacock bass … and one trip to Mongolia!
Rounding out our fivesome was Tom “Bear” Renedo originally of Coral Gables FL and Curt Wynn originally of Natrona Heights PA
… and “Bear’s” buddy “Big Bobby from Boulder” who, to my knowledge, harbors no ill will whatsoever for any of Bill Dooley’s staff from “those halcyon days of yore”.
In the pantheon of Good Guys both Bear and Curt would be on the front row. They were “good guys” back in ’65 and even goodier 55+ years later. If you don’t like Tom Renedo and Curt Wynn it’s a “You problem”.
Ever how many times UNC has beaten Duke in Football … the one in 1967 was attributed to Curt Wynn. Outlined against a blue gray November sky over Wallace Wade Stadium, Curt barreled his way for a crucial first down sustaining the final victory drive.
NOTE: UNC sure coulda used Curt last night in the closing minute versus Pitt… OUCH!
There are too many “Bear” stories to try and pick one. Maybe 50% are true. There were UNC teammates who never knew his real name. For sure Jim Carmody never knew it. He was simply “Bear”. I’m not sure Rita, his sweet wife of 52 years, knows her last name is Renedo.
I defy you to pick four guys at random from your distant past … who you have not spent 10 minutes with in 50 years … spend three days with them in a Louisiana fish camp … and NOT ONE pulls out a bag of “pot” and suggests doing whatever one does with “pot” … NOT ONE suggests “lets go to a strip club” … NOT ONE gets pie-eyed drunk or even tipsy. There was a bottle of Bourbon on the kitchen counter but I never saw anyone pour from it.
There WAS, of course, the obligatory discussion about Salma Hayek’s “snake dance” in Dusk To Dawn.
Despite No drugs … No liquor … No skanky wimmen … the five of us had as fine a four days together as you could orchestrate if such things were orchestrate-able.
What about “the fishing” BobLee?
You mean the eight “Bull Reds” I caught between 15 and 23 lbs … the 26 lb Black Drum … the 10 lb Sheepshead … and the 32 sea trout? Each of the other guys had similar “success” in The Redfish Capital of The World.
Catching that 28 lb Black Drum was like trying to drag a refrigerator across 75′ of water … and the refrigerator not wanting to go.
Our guides were straight from “central casting”. I’ve used enough fishing guides to know good and not so good. Jimmy and Jerry were AWESOME!
Brad Schmidt’s Fishmasters Charters is THE one to call if you have the Louisiana Delta on your Fishing Bucket List. “Dr Tommy” has used Brad’s team for 24 years … must be pretty good. Huh?
Ever gone 55 mph across a salt marsh in a Skeeter? Suggestion – hold on to your hat!
Wednesday afternoon I’m pulling in 2-3 lb sea trout as fast as I can cast and retrieve … I look back and “Dr Tommy” and JerryTheGuide are swapping Scarface quotes.
“Dr Tommy” does a better “Tony Montana” than Pacino and not just “me and my leetle friend”. The scene where Pacino first meets Michelle Pfeiffer … You HAVE to hear “Dr Tommy” do it … both characters.
OK … I know what some of you’ans are wondering. Was there “diversity” of socio-cultural-political points of view within our fivesome? LOLOLOL … No siree. Not one iota of “diversity”.
Maybe we’ll gather again next year … maybe we won’t … maybe some of us won’t be around then … We’re all of the age when “but he was so young” ain’t gonna be said upon our passing on.
But we “did it” this week at Plaquemines Parish Louisiana … and It Was A Good Thing!
Here’s hoping each one of you have had or will have such a special time … with or without the fishing … or the Salma Hayek discussion.
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