Friday, July 19, 2013

SEOPA, Specks, Redfish, Crawfish & Boudin

The Outdoor Journalist Education Foundation of America recently announced Nathaniel Samsel, my 15-year-old son, as recipient of the third annual Lindsay Sale-Tinney Award, which provides Nathaniel a scholarship to attend the 2013 Southeastern Outdoor Press Association fall conference. 

What that means in practical terms is that in early October, Nathaniel and I will climb in the truck and point it toward Lake Charles, Louisiana to enjoy some of the nation's best inshore saltwater fishing, tremendous Cajun cooking and four days of fun and learning with a whole bunch of industry friends. The SEOPA conference invariably provides great benefit to me as an outdoor writer, and I can't think of a finer place to gather than Southwest Louisiana.

Nathaniel has been to Louisiana once -- redfishing out of Venice last fall -- and that was more than plenty to make him eager to return. He also has attended the most recent two SEOPA conferences as a student member and knows how much he is able to learn and how much he simply enjoys hanging out with other folks from the industry.

Although Nathaniel only turned 15 a couple of months ago, he has demonstrated great initiative in the outdoors field while traveling with me and helping with photography and videos. He developed a YouTube channel featuring how-to fishing videos last year, and he produces all the videos for that channel. He also maintains an outdoors blog and music website and has published a couple of magazine articles. Through those efforts, he has increasingly been viewed by event hosts as a media attendee.

It's a long drive to Southwest Louisiana, so of course we'll have to do a little fishing while we're there. The plan, as of now, is to spend a couple of days either before or after the conference fishing on Lake Calcasieu, which is considered by many as the best destination on the Louisiana coast for big speckled trout.

Congratulations, Nathaniel, on the well-earned scholarship, and thank you for your work to ensure that we would be able to attend this year's conference.

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