HARD LEARNED LESSONS
In French we have a saying, "Cordonnier mal chaussé". Or A Shoemaker with worn out shoes!
When I'm out with friends and visitors, I make it a point of looking after the gear. I usually tie up new leaders, clean the lines and check all the knots beforehand. During the day I'll constantly check and re-check lines, flies and knots.
This past week, I finally got out to the river. The spring run is starting, water conditions are perfect! It was also a first outing for Joelle. A newcomer to fishing of any sort, she was excited to see what all the fuss is about!
We explored a few runs in the lower sections then moved up into the middle section of the river. I can't remember exactly when, but I seem to remember that as I swing a few streamers through the #45a, my leader scrapped over some rocks!
The 45a is a shallow rapid
Late in the afternoon, we dropped into the #48. This pool is a smooth deep slick which holds salmon as well as sea run Brook Trout.
Salmon hold at the head of the 48
And 15 feet up from the tail out!
Since the sun had been out all day I figured that the salmon would be up for some dry flies. A nice bushy #6 Bomber!
Two drops on the upper end of the pool gave no results so I turned my attention to the tail out. I had earlier spotted some salmon holding in the middle of the water column there.
I scooted back to the beach and walked 40 feet down before wading back out about 40 feet from the pod of salmon. On the very first drop there is a boil, the fly disappears, I draw the rod back and strike with my free hand. Connected!
Jo is 25 feet behind me spooling up her rod so I waded over and handed my rod off to her. She has good rod control and fights well left and right to get the salmon back towards the beach.
5 or 10 minutes into the fight I figure the salmon is ready to come to hand. I reach out and take hold of the leader. On the first pull towards me, Pop! The fish was gone!
I check the leader to see if a knot had let go and I saw that the tippet had broken 10 inches down from the connection! No knots failed there. With a 15lb test fluorocarbon tippet, the only explanation would be that the line had been weakened as it scraped over some rocks earlier in the day!!!
I would have liked to have been able to get the salmon into Joelle's hands for a first ever salmon (first ever fish for her), but I'm positive that there will be other opportunities in the future.
So a quick reminder; check your gear regularly during the day. You never know what surprises are in store for you.
Christopher Chin – Proulxville Quebec.