Vacation Almost Over

I’ve been relaxing the last 10 days on vacation. I toured spring creeks in Pennsylvania for eight days. Got into some big fish on private water near State College, Pa., also toured Gettysburg with a retired Army Ranger with some real expertise on the battle. He studied Gettysburg for several years. He’s also a fly fishing buddy so we did the evening hatch, then spent the middle of the day rolling around the historical parts of the National Park.

I’ll post some pictures later, maybe with a column on the trip. The highlight was a 26.5-inch rainbow – caught on my 63rd birthday – in the famed Spring Creek. The fish weighed 14 pounds. It is easily the biggest trout I’ve ever caught. I’ve caught several that length before (never anything that measured 27) but I’ve never caught a fish of that girth or that poundage. It was truly a trophy. Caught five or six more that were close to that including a big brown.

I was fishing in what is called the Sheep Farm area of Spring Creek. That’s where guides like Joe Humphrey took President Jimmy Carter fly fishing. It’s a neat place with true giants lurking in moss beds. I fooled them on my hand tied midges, a real treat. There was also some dry fly fishing with hoppers, but nothing beats catching a 14-pound trout with one of your own tiny midges. I did that.

You guys may not even be interested in seeing my trout pics, but I’m probably going to do it anyway!

I’m ready to get back to work. It was a great trip. The only sad thing was not being around my family on my birthday, but they released me to have a special trip.

Bring the pics Clay!

Headed to Norfork next week

That sounds like a great trip. I’ve been to Gettysburg several times, the most recent were in 2013 and 2016. My visit to the battlefields was interrupted by a dog show last year. I will go again in 2019. It is always very moving to stand on the battlefield and visualize what happened.

Your fishing trip sounds wonderful too. I do enjoy your stories about fly fishing.

A good friend of Clay’s from Cotter told me the other day that he thought Clay had become good at playing editing pictures of fish. I don’t know, but this person is very close to Clay. The pictures sure looked real to me, but who knows what a publisher type can do these days.

…a retired West Point instructor named Gordon, I think, whose theory was that when Lee launched Pickett’s Charge, JEB Stuart’s calvary were supposed to hit the Union line in the rear and that would let Pickett’s charge succeed. Some Michigan calvary units, one commanded by Custer, got in the way and spoiled the plan. Lee took the blame for the defeat and never mentioned Stuart’s part. I like this theory better than the “Lee just had a bad day” one that Shaara wrote about in Killer Angels. That is a great book about Gettysburg if you haven’t read it. Newt Gingerich co-arthured an alternative history fiction book where Lee went along with Longstreet and moved away from Gettysburg and forced the Union to attack him on his high ground. It resulted in a disaster for the Union. The South still lost the war, but it was an interesting story.

Hope you have been able to enjoy your vacation from start to finish as it sounds like a very successful fishing trip. Hopefully our Razorback sports will be as exciting to cover this fall as catching that nice trout had to have been ! WPS

Gingerich’s book. Great read. He is a good historian. Big mistake there was attacking Washington. Lee was best at hit and run as he was mostly out numbered and gunned. Win at Gettysburg and sue for peace. Fun stuff to play over a very serious topic.

Matt will tell you, I’m no good with Photo Shop. I can crop photos but that’s about it. These photos didn’t need enlarging anyway.

Only a desperate commander divides his army in the face of a larger opponent like Lee did at Chancellorsville. He knew his opponent well and got away with it but it was a huge risk. Lee knew from his victory at Fredricksburg what happened when you just threw troops at entrenched defenders with artillery firing canister. He had to know Pickett had no chance of breaking a larger number of defenders with lots of artillery with a frontal attack only. He made another desperate decision to roll the dice again and hoped that Stuart would get loose in their rear just as Pickett attacked and they would break. I like to think he felt this was his best and last shot at a decisive victory that would force the North to negotiate for peace and encourage the Brits to support the South more enthusiastically. With the loss of Vicksburg at the same time, he was probably right that Gettysburg was the last chance for the South to survive.

Back to work today. I dabbled on some things last two weeks – like the Roundtable stuff for Jimmy and the Louis Campbell column – but it’s pretty much been vacation the rest of the time. I don’t know if you can be fished out, but I’m close to that. Need a few weeks of work before I can go back again. I’m sure I’ll want to a day or two before football practice, but I’m ready to work. Thanks for the good workers (Matt, Dudley and Jimmy) who held down the fort while I was gone.