The Dawn of a New Season!
We're slowly gearing up for the 2007 season. The fly
bins are (slowly) getting filled. No new gear needs
to be bought, so I'll be cleaning stuff and repairing
and mending existing stock. The first pieces of equipment
to get inventoried though are the first aid kits.
By Chris Chin, Bay Comeau, Quebec, Canada
Huh? I get asked, "You have multiple first aid kits?"
Actually, when I'm on the river, you can find me with
three separate kits. Picture this:
You're on the dream vacation of a life time or just
simply out with the family for a weekend off from the
Rat Race. You're in a bit of a hurry. You let your
friend sleep for another hour and you slip out of
the cottage at day break to get in a few casts before
breakfast. The excitement of the first day has you
literally skipping your way down the well maintained
trail to the beach.
Wearing your felt soled waders, you slide off of
an exposed cedar root and take a spill. Plop!
Good, ...didn't break the rod and all the bones seem
to be straight. You do however have a small two-inch
cut on the back of your left hand because you turned
your wrist in to protect the rod while you were falling.
Ha! Didn't even spill the coffee from the Travel Mug.
Not too bad. Just some oozing blood and the cut appears
to be fairly clean. There are no embedded foreign objects
in the laceration. You pull the small first aid kit out
of your vest pocket, clean the wound with some wipes,
snug the edges of the laceration together with some
Steri-Strips and cover the whole mess with a bandage.
You police up the litter from the packaging and ten
minutes later you're on the beach trying to spot some
rises. You'll inspect the wound for signs of infection
at noon when you change the dressing, for now, there's
fishing to be done.
Of course, the scenario could play out much differently.
You take the same spill, PANIC at the sight of your own
blood, forget your rod on the trail as you scurry back
up to the car. In the car you succeed in staining the
seat cover as you drive back to the cottage and wake up
our friend so that he can drive you back to town. Four
hours later, you're back at camp wondering where your
rod has gotten to.
So how does this all pull together to explain why I
have at least three different first aid kits? Well,
a first aid kit isn't really handy if it's not at
hand. The smallest of "off the shelf" kits will be
well enough stocked to handle 99% of the bumps and
scrapes that we encounter in a season. I have some
Band-Aids, tweezers, needles, alcohol-wipes etc. in
a compact container in my vest.
I can't remember how many times we've removed splinters
and such right in the run, ...not even taking (or needing)
the time to return to the beach.
The second kit has the same stuff, but we added some
of the more bulky items such as bandages, dressings
and absorbent pads. This stays on the beach in the
kit bag or in the canoe. This kit is used to improvise
splints, treat bigger problems temporarily and stabilize
The last kit is stored in the truck. I cheat here,
because this kit is actually a First Responder's
Trauma Kit and I added more speed splints, more
bandages and more blankets. Of course a well stocked
first aid kit is pretty useless if one hasn't taken
a few basic first aid courses.
A few years ago I was napping on a picnic table when a
frantic stricken tourist ran up to ask for help. It
seems that his child had tumbled down the embankment
and had a nasty gash on one knee.
By the time I got to the scene of all the commotion and
gloved up, his buddy had the first aid kit out of the
Nissan AND WAS READING THE INSTRUCTIONS OUT LOUD TO THE
Poor child was paralyzed with terror. It only took me about
two minutes to reassure the kid then go about dressing his
wound. It took another 30 minutes to calm down his Dad.
So go out and get ready for the 2007 season. Looking for
an activity for your local club or Chapter? How about a
few evenings of first aid courses?
You're looking for a winter or off season activity? ...try
volunteering at the local sports arena as a first aid
attendant (hey ...you get to see the hockey tournaments
for free). Better, your child is getting their first aid
badge from the Cubs, Scouts or whatever, ask if the parents
want to take the course at the same time.
Drop by a pharmacy the next time you're on your way to
the local fly shop. An "off the shelf" compact basic
first aid kit will cost you less than a dozen flies.
Mail order; a medium sized kit is less than a new fly
line. Even a top of the line first responder's trauma
kit costs less then a mid range fly rod! A first aid
course is priceless.
Play hard and come home safe. ~ 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