Our Man In Canada
September 24th, 2006

The Aha! Moment
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec, Canada

I get the wonderful opportunity to fish with all kinds of folks. Some are extremely well accomplished casters. Others are even more skilful anglers. There are also those who are intermediate or rank beginners.

This latter group are a blast to fish with. Many of them spend the day or two with us simply to hone their casting skills or to learn a bit about angling. It never ceases to fascinate me when fly fishers move a nudge along the learning curve.

Case in point, my Girlfriend Renée. Now Renée has been fishing with me for about 5-6 years now. She actually takes more pleasure from simply being on the river for a few days than actually casting and fishing. That is until this past weekend.

We had driven down to the river mid morning Saturday. Just the two of us (plus the Dawg). It was POURING rain. The river had a total of 3 other anglers (Hans and his wife plus Luc - Small angling community here and we know pretty well everyone).

We settled our bedding and stuff into the tent, had a leisurely lunch and then signed in for a half day of trout fishing. The salmon season was on its last day, but with the high water conditions, there just wasn't any sense in fishing the runs (which had been turned into raging rapids).

Renée setting up on the bank of the #37

We drove up to the #37 and set up to cast to some trout on the far side of the pool. Renée didn't fish much last season and her only other day out was with Frank V. and José back in late June. IMHO, the time off probably helped her casting technique because she had forgotten a few of her bad habits.

After starting the season off right watching Frank and José (two excellent anglers and casters), all the pieces fell into place and she was comfortably casting to the trout close in to the bank. We saw a few rises out farther 10-15 feet. That same old story,... just another 5 feet.

I knew she was up to the task so I explained to her how to do a single haul. On the first cast she had it down pat.

With a very slight movement of her line (left) hand, line speed hit overdrive and her casts improved greatly.

The thrill of seeing someone get one of those Aha! moments is simply magical. Smiles all around (even in the driving rain).

The smallest adjustment can often lead to leaps and bounds up the learning curve. My top 3 are:

  • 1) A nice solid and high "stop" to the rod on the back cast
  • (thanks Deanna for finally explaining this to me);

  • 2) Keep your line hand low so as to maintain tension on the
  • line when lifting the rod to the back cast and;

  • 3) Initiate the lift from a low rod angle.

    This last point helps to keep the line loading the rod from the very start of the back cast and all the way through. (I finally found another digital camera, so ya'll might get photos of this next week.

    So take some time to go back to the basics. We all get those Aha! moments. Yours is probably just waiting for you to find it. Christopher Chin, Prouxlville, Quebec ~ Chris Chin, Jonquiere 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/.

    Our Man In Canada Archives

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