Our Man In Canada
May 15th, 2006

Home Away From Home
Planning and preparation goes a long way
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec

It never seems to amaze folks, the amount of gear that we can pack into the truck for a weekend of fishing. Then again, we go back to the river every chance we get to have fun and relax. Roughing it isn't really in the cards for us.


Home away from Home - Roughing it on the #23 pool

After several seasons fishing as a family, the weekend ritual flies pretty well on autopilot now. Once the season starts, the end of one outing is really just the start of another.

Around Wednesday evening, … I'll do the grocery shopping for the week, including any special treats we want for the coming weekend. Unpacking the perishables, we'll freeze meats in individual portions (makes them easier to thaw out). The dry goods go directly into their "Rubbermaid" box.

We have over 10 plastic bins. Depending on the temperature we mix 'n match boxes of gear. The "standard" boxes are one each for:

  • Cooking gear and dishes
  • Dry goods (conserves, junk food, bread, coffee)
  • "Wet" box for waders, gravel guards, belts and wading boots
  • Outer gear (jackets, sweaters, hats, vests, gloves and scarves)
  • First aid (kit, splints, headlamp, water, rope etc.)
  • Clothes and toiletries.

These all go in the truck box with a cooler for drinks and a cooler for food, along with the stove, 3 landing nets, lantern, fire starter, dawg food, fly tying kit and kit bag of fly boxes.

We use "Baja" bags to put the (extra) tent, pillows and sleeping bags on the roof. On the roof rack also go the folding chairs. Outboard on the roof rack go the canoe paddles and on the other side 4 rod tubes with 5-10 rods. On top of all that goes the canoe.

As you can imagine, we can easily know if we've forgotten something, there's space in the truck!


The extra box of cold weather gear goes on the deck

Inside the truck, there's room for the box of reels, the 2nd First Aid Kit, the Dawg and the family.

Loading all this up takes less than 45 minutes. As I like to sneak away from the office a few minutes early on Friday's, we're usually locked and loaded by 6 o'clock in the evening. With a pit stop on the way out of town for snacks, we usually pull into camp around 7 o'clock.

Here, setting up camp usually runs like a well oiled machine too. While Renée sets up the bedding, I'll set out the "kitchen" and set up the lanterns. Vincent will usually set up the camp fire and gets the wood stove going. Kenny (the dawg) doesn't really help. Maybe moral support.

It's pleasant to do a bit of preparation ahead of time. This way, we get settled in for the evening, relax by the fire and snack a bit.

Lounging around the camp fire, we'll plan out what we'd like to do the next day. Maybe we're feeling a bit tired. We'll sleep late, the trout and salmon will always be there in the afternoon.

It may sound like we pack along EVERYTHING, well, not really. The tent is always set up and the BBQ is there too. We also don't have to bring along the kitchen sink. *G*

So if you're ever in our neck of the woods, drop by the #23. The coffee is always hot. ~ 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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