Last week's column on cane poles promised a follow-up look at how to use these versatile tools in fishing, but an upcoming local event has led me to postpone that sequel until next week. That event is the immensely popular Quest for the Record Book sportsman's dinner sponsored each year by Oakdale Baptist Church.
This year's gathering, scheduled for Aug. 10, promises to be what one of my aunts used to call a "real doozy." For the ticket price of $20 ($25 at the door), those in attendance will get a filling and satisfying barbecue dinner, with meals being served starting at 4:30 p.m.
From 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., those in attendance, in addition to eating, will be able to enjoy two other opportunities. The Blazing Bluegrass group will be playing traditional bluegrass music, and a bunch of vendors will have displays set up, including the Upper Palmetto YMCA, Christian Sportsman's Fellowship, several area insurance agencies, Striper Addiction, Stratton's Taxidermy, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, Red River Specialties, Gold Rock Kennels, Cornerstone Ranch, Performance Honda, Briar Patch Outdoors, and Hank Parker.
The latter individual, one of the biggest names in professional bass fishing (Parker is a two-time winner of the Bassmaster Classic) and a noted television personality, will be on hand to sign autographs and shake-and-howdy prior to presenting his message as guest speaker.
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After Parker's presentation, there will be drawings for an impressive bevy of door prizes, including two ATVs, a variety of hunting and fishing trips, 10 rifles and shotguns, a Fred Bear bow, a Genesis bow package for youth, tree stands, knives, Carolina Panthers sporting apparel, and many other items.
All of this is linked with Christian outreach, and gatherings of this type have become increasingly popular throughout the area. They promise fellowship, a chance for sportsmen to mix and mingle, involvement of youth, and in general, a good time in a religious atmosphere.
Tickets can be purchased at CIF in Newport, Nichol's Store, or at the Oakdale Baptist Church offices at 1249 Oakdale Road. They are also available at the door, but you'll have to shell out an extra $5 if you wait.
These gatherings are interesting and inspirational, and I wish I could be in town to attend. However, I'll be in the cool of the North Carolina high country celebrating a truly special event -- my father's 98th birthday.
Rest assured, though, that just as will be the case at Quest for the Record Book, there will be sporting tales to be told and memories to be shared at the birthday celebration.
Along with attending events such as Quest for the Record Book, the intense heat of summer's dog days lend themselves to another simple pleasure -- reading. I've been a keen reader all my life, but if you asked me to pick out the one most important book in American sporting literature, it would be a simple task. I've read every story in Robert Ruark's "The Old Man and the Boy" at least twenty times, and in my studied opinion it is THE book on the outdoors everyone should read.
Much the same holds for a sequel to the work, "The Old Man's Boy Grows Older." They contain tales of a youngster growing up on the Carolina coast with ample exposure to hunting and fishing through his grandfather and others. If you haven't read these books, a rare treat awaits.
I'm truly privileged to have been asked to edit a forthcoming biography of Ruark written by his longtime secretary, Alan Ritchie. The biography, which is being published by Live Oak Press and "Sporting Classics" magazine, is scheduled to appear in October. If you would like to be notified when it appears, drop me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or send me a note through my Web site (jimcasadaoutdoors.com).
Summer's dog days have arrived with a vengeance, with temperatures climbing into the 90s every day and the humidity weighing down on you as soon as you step outside. Still, for those who don't mind the heat, there's fishing action to be found, with catfish and bream being your best bets. Or you can, as I will be doing, retreat to the comparative cool of the high country for some trout fishing. Don't overlook night fishing on area lakes. It's comparatively cool, and the fishing tends to be better than in the daytime.