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PHWFF Trip Leader, Deputy Regional Coordinator, Program Lead, and fly fishing guide extraordinaire Phil Landry recounts a recent PHWFF National Destination Trip to Arkansas’s famed Little Red River below. 

September 11th 2017, that’s right 9/11, six of the 2017 National Rod Building Contest winners were scheduled to fly into Little Rock, Arkansas to begin a 3 day fishing adventure on the Little Red River.  Cruz Omelas, Robert Misiaszek, Steve Tegtmeyer, Terry Fiala, Connie Bundrick and Bill Boyce not only flew on 9/11, but all of their connecting flights were scheduled to go through Atlanta  and Hurricane Irma!  All but Terry Fiala still managed to arrive in Little Rock that evening after some flight transfers and patience on the tarmac in Atlanta.  Terry made it river by 11:00 am on Tuesday and within about 15 minutes had already caught his first fish of the trip.

Volunteers Joshua Fleeger (Memphis VAMC program) and Shawn Walters (River City Memphis program) helped us in numerous logistical ways to help the participants have a smooth, free and easy stay during their trip.  The Cabins At Lobo Landing gave us all front porch views of the river and very comfortable living arrangements for the duration of the trip.  Beau & Renee Saunders and Brannon Ball were very gracious hosts at the resort.  Every morning our group would gather down on the marina for breakfast and the beginning of that days adventure.

Professional guides, Phil Landry, David Hudson, and Beau Saunders provided their watercraft, and guiding expertise on the Little Red to keep rods bent religiously.  Hundreds of fish were caught during the three days.  The Little Red’s bigger fish didn’t come out to play during our fishing hours, but a few monster browns were seen by several people.

While we did not use a tournament type format we did have a little competition of sorts and some prizes.  Prizes were awarded to whoever caught the largest Brown Trout, and Rainbow Trout.  Terry Fiala received a 9’ 4wt TFO TICRX blank for his Brown Trout and Connie Bundrick took home a 8’9” 6wt TFO Finesse blank for the best Rainbow.

To say “a great time was had by all” doesn’t do this justice.  All the guides, volunteers, participants and our hosts were continually laughing, sometimes at each other’s expense!  Some truly wonderful bonds were created amongst all of us and we were all sad to see the journey come to end.  Everyone had a much more relaxing travel experience on the way home though, and that was welcomed after the logistical struggles and stresses that Irma gave us to begin this adventure.

A huge thanks to all involved

Phil Landry – Trip Leader
Deputy Regional Coordinator (Tennessee Valley)
Program Lead (Memphis VAMC)