Our Man In Canada
January 30th, 2006

Good Enough
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere Quebec

I've been fly fishing for a while now. Long enough to have fun anyway. Long enough to know I have lots to learn.

Just like in city life, fly fishing is a continuous learning experience. Our waters here are exceptionally "easy" to fish too as there is no hatch to match and the summer run of Atlantics and anadromous Brookies don't eat anyway. That leaves only presentation, casting techniques and reading the water (well and the tide charts, the moon phases, the weather, the water level, the light, which socks you are wearing...)

I guess not everyone thinks this way.

I had a particularly strange chance meeting with another angler this past season. I had some clients with me and we strolled down to a run. There was a fellow working the run on a downstream swing. As we were going to work dries, we waited for him to spool up at the tail out.

As we pre-stretched our lines on the beach this fellow came out of the run and came over to chat. I recognised him immediately as I'd seen him around for a few years. An ex-world champion caster to boot. Introductions were made and my clients were thoroughly impressed with this figure.

Clients, "You get any hits on that swing?"

Angler, "No,...none at all,...there don't seem to be any trout up from the estuary yet."

(I'm thinking, "Thanks a lot Sport for encouraging these folks.")

Looking a bit unenthusiastic about trying the run, after a legend in the sport got no hits, one of the clients waded out to try his luck on an upstream dry. I coached him a on a few aspects of the run and where and how to get a nice drift straight down a lane.

After a few casts close in, he got a nice splashy rise 30 feet out. The hunt was on.

I scrambled out of the run and up the beach to get a better look at the trout holding out in the run. The client was wisely gathering up the line in loose coils in his left hand, getting ready to cast, waiting.

I could see the trout milling around in the run, having trouble holding station in the flow. I got my bearings straight and walked back the 45 feet to the clients. Explaining how the trout were agitated and looking for holding lies as the river level was dropping. They could easily spool up a few yards and cast shorter distances.

We repositioned and started casting big #6 hoppers and bombers down lanes.

With barbless hooks and some nice rod work, the two clients released several trout each in less than an hour, keeping two for supper. (One each being quite enough for a feast).

Back on the beach, watching the sunset over the rapids, they asked how come we had so much fun when the other, very experienced angler, got skunked?

A bit sheepishly I explained that (in my honest opinion) some folks get so good at something, they just start believing that they have it all figured out. I also explained that I spent two years fishing the same run (the #43 on the Ste-Marguerite River) on downstream swings until one day I watched a young fellow "get lucky" on upstream dries.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with knowing that you are good at something. Good enough means you can have fun doing something. Just remember to keep your feet on the ground and realise that there is always someone around who can show you a thing or two.

I like to think I learn something new (or old) every day at work or on the river.

An old friend once likeed to say every night around the wood stove, "Well, I learned something new today. That means I won't die in my sleep tonight."

Well,...I don't plan on dying in my sleep. ~ Chris

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 in 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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