September 24th, 2006
The Aha! Moment
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.
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec, Canada
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
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
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
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