By Beccy Fortin, Program Lead, Bay Pines Florida
Bay Pines Program had its second trip to South Holston River Lodge, an outing which has become an annual event. The majority of the participants traveled from Saint Petersburg, Florida to South Holston River Lodge in Bristol, Tennessee. This trip was the result of a lot of hard work throughout the year. This year we had the pleasure of two married couples joining us: Jill and Jerry Stephens from the Johnson City Program and Helena and Bill Bouley from the Bay Pines Program. Jill caught the first fish of the trip and Helena caught her first fish on a fly rod. Helena in particular had a banner trip, landing both the smallest and the largest fish of the trip.
For some participants, this was a return to South Holston River Lodge. For others, it was their first opportunity to stay at the lodge as well as their first overnight outing. Participants made new friends, enjoyed some great home-cooked meals, and both heard and shared loads of fish stories. Two days of fishing the South Holston River was chilly and windy but it didn’t stop the fish from biting.
The hospitality of the Host, Jon Hooper, and all his guides cannot be matched by any other. From the moment we arrive at the lodge until we leave, we have the best accommodations and service. A special thanks goes out to Jon Hooper, Host at the South Holston River Lodge, and his guides who donated their time and expertise: Braydon Wilhoit, Preston Vance, Brandon Barbour, Sam Presutti, and Andrew Bright. We would also like to thank Larry Kendzior and Fish With a Hero for sponsoring this year’s trip.
Further thanks to our other sponsors that continue to support us throughout the year: Bass Pro Shops, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Winn-Dixie at Paragon Crossing, Captain Anthony Corcella, and Captain Dan Condron. With the help of our supporters, we were able to give these participants the trip of a lifetime. We are already looking forward to returning next year!