Relax, It's not just about fishing
I ran across a thread this week (or was it last week?) about
fishing vacations; the excitement of that first day, fishing
from sun-up until sundown. Just generally beating yourself to
death the first few days until you realize you should relax
a bit. After all, this is supposed to be fun and relaxing.
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec, Canada
I didn't get a chance to follow the thread, but it got me
thinking. I guess I don't act that way. I've always been sort
of an observant type (the slightly analytical side of my brain
usually dominating the emotional side I suppose). Then again,
the river I fish lends itself well to contemplation.
The simple act of ambling down the trail to one of my
favourite haunts is enough to make me relax. After
stringing up in the pull out, I load up my vest with a
few fly boxes, a snack, smokes etc and head down for
the short three minute walk to the run.
When I come up to a run, I like to pull up short and have a good look.
Finally, I'll see if I actually want to cast into the run
just yet. About half of the time, I won't even start fishing
right away. I'll prefer to drop down onto the beach and
lounge around a bit, waiting. (It is amazing how comfortable
one can be while taking a nap on the river worn round rocks
on some of our beaches).
- Are there any anglers already there?
- Can I hear any trout or salmon rising?
- How's the light coming into the valley?
- Is the sun shining towards me?
- Is my silhouette going to be hidden by the background forest?
- What kind of casting positions and presentations are
possible with the given the day's river level?
The #43 run on my home waters
I may lay out my fly boxes in the morning sun so that they
can dry out (after having waded a tad too deep the day before.)
This summer I came down to a run and saw that there was
already an angler there. After watching him cast for a
while, I came to the conclusion that he was seriously
under gunned for the big dries he was casting into the
Once he backed out of the run to change flies, I approached
to see what rod and line he was actually using. A medium
weight trout rod with a level 6lb test leader just won't
do against a #6 Brown Bird. I had him try a few casts with
my rod so he could see and feel the difference.
Being new to salmon fishing, but quite determined to give
it a go, he mentioned that he was actually starting to look
for a new rod, rigged for Atlantic salmon. What else was
there to do,...I trotted back to the truck and pulled out
a few rods, strung them up and brought them back to the run.
We waded out into some dead water at the tail of the run
so our new found friend could feel the difference between
7, 8 and 9 wt rods, as well as the performance of DT and
WF lines. In no time he was comfortable fully loading the
rods; unrolling the line up and out.
I sat back on the beach and watched him casting for another
30 minutes. He worked his way up the run. A smooth rhythm
was working its way into his muscle memory.
Cast, mend, drift, drift, mend, drift out. Pickup, 2 false
cast and cast.
I must have sort of nodded off, because a while later, a shadow
loomed across my eyes, our newest adept at the sport was about
to hand one of my rods back to me. I said the wind was going
only going to pick up even more during the day. He may as well
use that one for the day if he was comfortable with it in hand.
We arranged for him to leave the rod behind the wood shed on
another run when he was done. I'd pick it up some time over
the weekend. Bidding him a quick farewell, I gathered up the
extra rods and headed back to the truck.
Pulling onto the road, heading up river to another run, I
realized with a chuckle, that I hadn't cast a single fly
into the run.
Later that night, I stopped at the wood shed and retrieved
the rod. There was a note clipped to the fighting butt:
"No salmon, but a wonderful day on the river anyway. Thanks. J"
~ Christopher Chin - Bay Comeau Quebec
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,
Our Man In Canada Archives