Our Man In Canada
March 6th, 2006

This Never Gets Old
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec

This past week I had the opportunity to mix some out of town meetings with family time. Off to Quebec City for some conferences. The family hung out at the hotel and then we stayed on for a few days to relax, see the sights and shop. Of course, shopping included hitting one of the bigger outdoor sporting goods emporiums in the province.

While many couples would find shopping a conjugal obligation, with my family, it's quite something else. I think we must have spent at least 45 minutes just looking at reels! Renée kept comparing her favourite reel to those in the show case. Was her reel better, lighter, smoother? Luckily the answer was yes on almost all accounts.

We tie all our own flies, so of course we spent close to an hour looking over the bins of flies. As this shop is located a short three hours from several salmon rivers, the offerings included Atlantic Salmon flies as well as traditional and some "new" trout flies. We look over the flies to get ideas for some we'd like to tie and eventually try. (We must finally try out that Club Sandwich).

Over to the rod racks. Racks and racks of rods! Good thing the rod testing area was closed for the season or we would have been there all weekend. Instead, some medium weight trout rods got the 'ole wiggle test (we ALL do that),... we're looking for a slightly better trout rig for Junior. For the price, all the rods from various manufacturers appear to be excellent value. We just can't nail down a choice. (This could possibly turn into a rod building project).

The owner of this shop is a real class act and I noticed him sizing up a young man for a rod. He was giving good advice, knocking 50 bucks off the fellow's budget to make sure he had enough for backing, leaders, a box of flies and taxes.

The Boss called me over to make sure the rod was the right length/weight for the type of water the customer would be fishing. I helped choose some flies and had him buy two spools of quality tippet material, foregoing the knotless leaders. I'll send him some hand tied ones next week instead.

As we exchanged business cards, I couldn't help smiling, remembering that very first rod I had bought. I remember standing by the rod rack at Yosh's. A local legend of fly fishing showing me the difference between graphite and glass. He showed me how the wiggle test really won't show me much. Out back, how to pick up the line with smooth acceleration and how to wait on the load on the back cast. He had me cast several different rods to find one I felt right with.

I don't know exactly where that glass rod and Pflueger Medalist reel have gotten to. I think they are still in the forest service cabin on Adam's Lake (if the cabin is still there). I do however remember the feeling of riding my bike home with that new baby. I wonder if I would have been more exhilarated, had I know then what it was, with a Wulff, Kusse or Taylor bamboo rod. I doubt it.

I guess it never gets old. I mean, we weren't the only ones in the shop looking (drooling) over new rods. There were youngsters, baby boomers and some older folks there.

We finally left the shop with only a new pair of fishing glasses for our son. Looking back on the thrill of getting a new rod,...your very OWN rod, I think we'll build one together for him. ~ 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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