A Fishing Journal
When I got back into fly fishing a while ago, after several
years of misguided priorities (work), I found that I would
quickly forget stuff. Not that I'm getting senile or anything
like that, it's just that the memories would sort of merge
into one blur of events, punctuated by some stand out flashes
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec
I mean, I would start mixing up who I was with that afternoon
when the salmon woke out of their summer slumber and came to
the surface to smash any floating offering bigger than a #8
on Glass Pool (or was it Dam Pool?). More so, I would start
mixing up dates. Now that's not good.
When is the best time to hit the adult salmon as they arrive
from the salt? Well, at least I can remember that one as I came
down with lock jaw the day after I released 4 in the #8.
So anyway, I figured I'd better start writing stuff down.
If you've noticed in my writing as I've rambled along for
the past year, I'm not the most organised "journalist" in
the world, so I reasoned that I shouldn't use one of those
pre-printed ledgers that one can find in many fishing shops.
Instead, I found a nice hard covered blank book. I liked the
way the paper feels in hand. Real linen bond paper is a joy
to browse through. (Sorry, forest products background there).
As I'm holed up here in Quebec City when a winter storm has
closed down all my escape routes back home, there's nothing
on the "tube" and the wi-fi card in the 'puter is dead, I am
leafing through a journal, 2002.
The entries speak of driving rain, sweltering heat 'n humidity,
a roasted caribou feast on the #49, "the one that got away"
when Peter got spooled on the #43. Lots of smiles.
Flipping back and forth through the pages, I notice there is
actually not a lot of numbers. Fish caught, fish released etc
are not the main theme of these journals. We don't match the
hatch here either, so observations about bugs and stuff aren't
I guess the "memories" preserved in this book are more about
the people I've met and fished with.
I'll look though my journals quite often. Usually while in camp
or when I'm on the road. As I get to the last entry of 2005, I
turn the page to a fresh blank one and write "Opening day 2006."
There is no date written next to it yet, but that'll be fixed in
about 3 months time.
- Charles who met the biology summer student in camp
(and married her a year later).
- The newcomer, William, who connected to a monster salmon
alone on the #23 and held on for 45 minutes before some locals
helped him land it.
- Jack, smiling from ear to ear with his first ever salmon.
- Sabine, cute as a button at 29 years old bundled up in 4
sweaters drinking cocoa beside the fire. (We went to her funeral
10 months later after a 6 week battle with cancer).
- Gilles, … a monster of a man, over 6'10", giving a bone shaking
bear hug to his Guide and jumping for joy after landing his first
ever trout, and on his fathers antique bamboo rod.
- Eddie, the camera man for the series Great Canadian Rivers
uttering, "OK, the light is just perfect, catch a salmon NOW!"
There are also many empty pages still in this one, waiting for
Here's hoping that some of you from FAOL will be in them. ~ 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
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,
~ Christopher Chin
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