Our Man In Canada
December 4th, 2006

Just a Simple Angler Plodding Along, (but loving it)
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec, Canada

I got a chuckle this week. An associate was looking for two books: One on fly fishing and one on management skills. He was surprised when he noticed that in my little library, most of the books were published well over 15 years ago.

He asked if I didn't have any of the newer ones on technique, tools or equipment (speaking of management as well as fly fishing).

I sat him down in the corner of my office and gave him my usual Management 101 lecture.

You see (for me), professional management, like fly fishing, is a long distance endurance shuffle. The methodical attention to details, the repetitive nature of actions and the constant adjustments to change will all pay off (eventually).

The only difference being that fly fishing is a whole lot less boring.

He pulls out a dust covered volume. A hard cover on soft hackle wets. Flipping through the yellowed pages, I can see the gleam slowly fading from his eyes. "Doesn't look as "sexy" as in "the Film," eh?" I chided him.

I asked how he spent his last day of the season on the river. He related how he dropped into a couple of runs, tried some flies, popped over to another river, same thing...No luck and he got home exhausted.

Well, I guess we've all done that at one time or another.

I then explained how I spent one of the last days this season. Clients were in for a half day starting at noon, so I drove down early to try a run.

I hadn't fished the 8a for years, but with the high water this fall, it was one of the only stretches of water that would be fishable and I wanted to check it out.

In the early morning light I strung up a light rod; a 15 year old Cortland and an old Martin reel (well,...a 4 wt 7 ft rod is light here). I changed spools to a floating WF line and chopped the leader back to 12 feet, the very thing for short casts into the raging river.

As I'd only be fishing one single run on downstream swings, I didn't need the usual arsenal of fly boxes. I pulled a simple leather streamer wallet, pre-loaded with a dozen of so feather or hair wing streamers and tucked it into the top of my waders. No vest, no Gink nor sink, no net, no lunch, just a pair of nippers, one small spool of extra tippet and some smokes. This was going to be fun.

I scooted down the bank from the road to the river's edge and stripped out a bit of line. I have often mentioned that folks work runs too fast. There's no hurry here. I cast out and down. Just a slight mend to let the leader swing out when the cast is missing a bit of oomph.

I cast, swing, fish it out and cast again. Side-stepping down stream a bit between each cast, I'm going to need most of the morning to do the 300 yard long run. That's all right. The repetitive motion of casting and fishing the swing is almost hypnotic.

After watching a few videos of my casting, I realized that with each cast, I make subtle adjustments to each presentation. It is a pleasure to fish runs like this. One looks at the lie and the fly swings properly by. The mending, stripping and rod work simply executing what our "mind's eye" has foreseen.

I'm coming to the end of the run. The river is properly blown out with this week's rain, but there is still hope at the very tail of the run. I continue working my way down.

From the end of the run I start casting farther with each cast, stripping out a foot of line on each cast.

Methodically.

Finally, swinging through a mid stream lie, a trout takes to my offering, pulling hard, out and away. I love these reels; the trout is sailing out with the strong current, the reel is singing like those old Hardy salmon reels. I'm so intrigued by the sound that I almost forget to palm the reel.

Recouping 150 feet of backing takes a while without my large arbour reel, but the big Buck still comes to hand after several minutes. The big (barbless) Black Ghost is easy to remove and off he goes.

I related to my colleague that I probably never would have seen that trout if I hadn't worked the entire run, and then some. Somehow, I have this feeling that he didn't believe my story, thinking that the old guy was trying to put forth some kind of metaphor for diligent work paying off in the end.

Well, I guess that life does imitate fly fishing sometimes. ~ Christopher Chin - Bay Comeau Quebec

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/.

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