Our Man In Canada
August 29th, 2005

First Time Fishing Story
By Chris Chin

I got a phone call yesterday from a good old friend. Pierre Poisson (yes "poisson" means FISH is French) called to say that he and the family would be up for a week for some quiet time and lots of fishing.

Schedules couldn't jibe, so I unfortunately, couldn't arrange to meet with them. Not really a problem for Pierre anyhow. I've been guiding him and his family for several years, and frankly (I explained to him), he doesn't need a guide any more.

We chatted, caught up on family news and I gave him a river report. Further, seems they went Salmon fishing earlier in the season in Gaspé and his daughter, Isabelle has caught her very first Atlantic Salmon. I was extremely happy for her and asked Pierre to pass on the congratulations.

After our phone call ended, I reflected back on the progression that Isabelle has made over her years as a Fly Fisher.

Way back when, Isabelle started fly fishing in the same way (unfortunately) as many women have. Her husband Jacques and her father were going fishing, so might as well bring along the wife and an extra pole (sound familiar guys?)

Now, seeing as her father hadn't fished the Ste-Marguerite in several years, he hired a Guide (me) to scout out the water and give some pointers to his daughter. First thing I did when I met up with the gang was string up one of my spare rods, lighter and more 'forgiving' for a newcomer to the sport (versus the super fast top of the line 'loaner' her father had brought along for her).

After sending Hubby and Dad off to another pool, we set up on a nice pool to start on the rudiments of casting. A quick learner, Isabelle was soon quite comfortable with her casting stroke.


(and very patient with the usual hang-ups)

We worked a few pools all morning, got some nice rises, but most of the really 'interested' trout were hanging just out of range. Our newest addition to the sport wasn't frustrated, just anxious to connect.

We setup up for lunch in front of the warden's cabin. I keep looking over my shoulder to see if there was any movement in the pool. After a leisurely shore lunch, the Boys went off to another hole wishing Isabelle luck. Isabelle asked me, "Well, where else can we fish where the trout aren't too far for me?"

"Well, I think we'll stay right here on the #4 and cast 30 feet out behind the picnic table."

"You mean there are trout here and we never knew!"

"Yup."

Now that her confidence had ratcheted up a few notches, I knew Isabelle would be able to cast a smaller fly on a longer leader. We strung up an even lighter rod and I tied on a nice #16 Red Tag. I sat up on top of the picnic table and set her about casting a long upstream drift into the pool.

After the first drift, Isabelle just KNOWS something will happen here (a woman's intuition?) From my vantage point, I can SEE the trout following her fly, but I don't say anything so as not to get her over excited. A bruiser Buck has followed the fly, but lost interest as soon as the leader put drag on the fly.

On the next cast, I get her to lay the line a tad more to the right so the fly will get into the 'kill zone' more quickly and not start 'dragging' quite so soon. Like a Pro, her cast lays down gently on the pool exactly as I'd wanted.

15 seconds into the drift, the fly disappears with a "Slurp," on instinct Isabelle lifts her rod tip and feels for the very first time in her life the satisfying weight of a 4 lb trout on a 4 wt rod!

The current in the #4 is almost non-existent and brook trout don't run like salmon, so the battle is short but exhilarating (for both of us). A few minutes later and the trout is on the bank. As it's her VERY first, it's a keeper.


Isabelle Poisson (and daughter Marie-Fréderique) with her very first trout on a Fly - August 2002

I'm not sure what was more gratifying for Isabelle, her first trout, or the look on Hubby's face when they got back to the camp and he saw the Trout in her hands!


Grandma and Marie-Fréderique look on as I prepared a replica brooch fly for Isabelle's exploit.

For her accomplishment, as with all my friends and clients, Isabelle got a replica fly of the Red Tag on a brooch pin. I see year after year that she is very proud of it and has it pinned to her fishing hat.


Isabelle at home in a run - August 2004

~ Christopher Chin – Jonquiere Quebec

About Chris:

Chris Chin is originally from Kamloops, British Columbia. He has been fly fishing on and off ever since he was 10 years old. Chris became serious about the sport within the last 10 years.

"I'm a forest engineer by day and part time guide on the Ste-Marguerite River here in central Quebec. I've been fishing this river for about 10 years now and started guiding about 5 years ago when the local guide's association sort of stopped functioning."

Chris guides mostly for sea run brook trout and about 30% of the time for Atlantic Salmon. "I often don't even charge service fees, as I'm more interested in promoting the river than making cash. I like to get new comers to realize that salmon fishing is REALLY for anyone who cares to try it. Tradition around here makes some of the old clan see Salmon fishing as a sport for the rich. Today our shore lunches are less on the cucumber sandwich side and more toward chicken pot pie and Jack Daniel's."

Chris is 42 years old as of this writing. He is of Chinese origin although his parents were born and raised in Jamaica. He has a girlfriend, Renée. "She and her 12 year old son Vincent started fly fishing with me last October 2002."

To learn more about the Ste-Marguerite River, visit Christopher's website http://pages.videotron.com/fcch/. ~ Christopher Chin

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