The 22nd(?) Annual North Toledo Bend Rendezvous at North Toledo Bend State Park, Zwolle, LA, begins Friday around 3PM, November 4th and continues through Sunday morning the 6th.
What is the North Toledo Bend Rendezvous? Well, over 20 years ago, a group of fly fishers from Louisiana and Texas were fishing and "conclaving" together in early October at the FFF Southern Council Conclave in Mt. Home, Arkansas. While there, we realized that it was ridiculous for such good friends to only gather once a year in northern Arkansas, when we all lived "relatively close" to each other in Louisiana and Texas. So, we agreed to meet at a "central point" several weeks later. The site agreed to was the North Toledo Bend State Park outside of Zwolle, Louisiana.
Early that November, we met on the shores of Toledo Bend Reservoir. Some of us rented cabins, some camped, and several brought travel trailers. There were several wives and even a girlfriend or two in tow. We tied flies, cast rods, played in boats, and even caught a few fish. Yeah, we had a great time!! We had such a good time that we decided to make it an annual affair.
While "exploring", we found a Group Facility with a lodge and commercial kitchen, 5 bunkhouses, and a central bath/shower facility that could be rented at a very reasonable cost. So, we made reservations for that facility for that next fall and every fall ever since!
We decided to call this annual event the "North Toledo Bend Rendezvous" or just "Rendezvous", and tyers from Federation clubs from throughout the mid-South (TX, LA, OK, AR, MO, MS, and TN) have been attending this top fly tying events in the mid-South for all these years. If you like to tie, or just think that you'd like to learn to tie, this is the one of the very best opportunities that you'll ever get to improve your skills.
While North Toledo Bend Rendezvous has always been a low key event with a very heavy emphasis on "hands on" teaching and learning fly tying, other than gathering for food, there are no scheduled events, no fund raising, and no awards, i.e. no pressure. We don't do "demo" tying; instead, we “tie with friends”. We share many of our favorite patterns and collaborate on and work out new ones. You see, at Rendezvous, you don't just watch others tie, instead you "tie with" which ever tyer that you'd like to sit and tie with. Beginner or experienced, it doesn't matter, just sit down and tie. If you'd like to see your tying to improve, Rendezvous is one of the very best venues in the country! Actually, over time, a very high percentage of the regular attendees have become invited tyers at FFF Conclaves across the country.
Rendezvous was the first official event for the FFF's Gulf Coast Council, and all GCC members are invited to attend, as are members of any of the other FFF clubs. Heck, if you like to tie, come on. You don't even have to be a Federation member or member of a Federation club to attend.
Just come and do what YOU want to do. You can:
tie as much or as little as you'd like;
launch your yak/canoe/bass boat and fish when you want (no launch fees!);
join in with the casters, playing with log rods or giving casting lessons on the lawn;
stroll through the pines of this beautiful park on the shores of Toledo Bend; or
just sit on the porch and maybe light-up a stoggie or enjoy an adult beverage, while joining in the "discussions" on the large front porch or listening to some of the musicians whose instruments just seem to appear. It's up to you.
If you’ve n ever attended a SEC, SOC or GCC Conclave/EXPO, then I'm sure that you'll recognize some of us. Even if you've never been to a club meeting, EXPO or Conclave, don't worry, as every year we have a few "new comers", and history shows that they usually have such a good time, that they to usually become "regulars".
Oh, and this is a family oriented even. So, bring the spouse and kids. There are always a number of "kids" and non-tying spouses who attend and have a ball. This has been an annual family event for my family. As usual, I plan on being there with at least one my kids in tow. Actually, my sons, Liam (12) and Ian (20) are planning on going to Rendezvous this year.
This is a not-for-profit event, where were try to charge just enough to “break even”, plus a covered dish. We each bring a covered dish or two to share with the group. Don't worry, there's always plenty of food at Rendezvous! The family fee is $50 for the weekend or $25 for a day/night, while the single's fee is $40 for the weekend or $20 for the day/night. This includes all your food and lodging from Friday evening, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning. What a bargain!
A number of years ago, Walter McClendon and the Piney Woods Fly Fishers agreed to head up this gathering (and Walter's always done a great job!), and they maintain a website which includes much more information on Rendezvous, along with a map can be viewed at:
If you have any questions about Rendezvous or think that you'd like to attend, please feel free to contact Walter at: email@example.com
, or contact me at the email address listed below.
Oh, and reservations are not necessary! Just show up! You'll be happy that ya' did!
Hope to see ya' there!
FYI - the main park gate closes at 10pm and requires a combination code to open so be sure to have someone to contact to give you that combination should you be late. The park no longer gives out the number in advance but it will be posted in the dining hall.