community noun, plural -ties. |
3. a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing
common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving
itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within
which it exists
Well that sounds pretty dull when we look up in the
dictionary. The again, mere words are sometimes
inadequate to express "a feeling". (especially when
it's me trying to express it).
I had a chat with our publisher Deanna a short time
ago and we noticed that the Community of fly fishers
was quite a pleasant lot. Not just those of us who lurk
around here on FAOL, but the whole group in general.
Deanna, like I, has been in several communities over past
few decades. For her, they have been tennis, archery, hunting,
music and many others. For me they've been alpine and Nordic
skiing, ski patrol, cycling and S&R. We were in agreement that
the folks who gravitate towards fly fishing are in general a fine
I mean, where else can one wander down to a run, by chance
meet another angler on the beach and he offers to let you do a
drop while he changes flies. That would sort of be like coming
up behind a hunter, seeing a nice four point and he says, "Oh, you
go ahead 'n shoot".
Actually, I have come up to a similar esprit de corps in the
paddling community. Maybe it has something to do with the
non-competitive nature of most fly fishing (and paddling).
So why is being a community so important that I have to write
about it? Well, as the definition points out, a Community is
defined in part by the way we are perceived by others.
I had an unpleasant run in with a group of 12 fly anglers from
another region several years ago. They were visiting for a three
day stint on my home waters. I and the rest of the locals just
"assumed" that they were with one of Eastern North America's
oldest fly fishing organisations. (they were not).
After two days of putting up with scattered beer cans 'n bottles
on the beaches, Powerbar wrappers on the trails and fish guts
on the rocks, I finally packed up and left (as did several other
anglers as soon as we had cleaned up the garbage and hauled it
back to the pull-outs). Then I sent a few (dozen) letters to the
editors in the metropolis (in English as well as in French) asking
the general population not to bother coming up 'cause we didn't
need that sort of visitor. For two years afterwards, I refused clients
from that region, saying that we were booked.
Imagine how this group was perceived by the families of canoe
campers who were on the river that same Labour Day weekend.
As you can see, I built up my perception of "city slicker" fly fishers
based on my observations of this group. How do you think YOU
are perceived by the locals when you travel? (or by the paddlers,
"bait chuckers", visiting anglers and private land owner in your back yard).
A few of my personal guidelines for staying off of the brown-list on any river:
In counterpoint to the group of drunks that I ran into in 1998 (so
you know who YOU are), I ran into a smaller group a few years later.
- Even on your home waters, you are a visitor;
- If you can pack it in, you can pack it out;
- Leave closed gates closed and open gates open after you pass;
- You WILL be treated in the same fashion as you have treated others;
I was napping on a picnic table waiting for the wind to die down
when two SUV's with NY plates pulled up to the auto-registration
kiosk. Not wanting to impose, I let them read through the registration
instructions. They seemed to have everything in order, even policing a
bit of litter up off of the counter. Then they went to string up. Classic
- One of the group "OK, where are the rods and reels?"
- Another "Billy packed them in the back."
- Billy "Oh-oh, no I didn't."
- Fourth angler "You mean
- First angler "Yup,
we got no gear."
They didn't cuss, nor swear nor jump up and down.
They calmly cracked open some sodas and started
looking for a solution.
At this point I just knew I couldn't let them waste a weekend.
The salmon season was closed, so the office was closed. No
rentals available there. Further, this late in the season, the nearby
hardware store was packing more birdshot than 5wt rigs.
I introduced myself and asked if they needed any help. They
readily accepted. It took me 15 minutes to find two spare trout
rigs in the pickup. A friend pulled up about then and we had two
more extra rigs quickly laid out on the picnic table along with an
assortment of "local" flies.
A wonderful weekend of fishing ensued. I made four new friends
and got an invite to explore the Lake Placid region. Our new
found friends salvaged a weekend out of possible disaster and
got to try out some new rods (as well as a fine caribou steak BBQ).
So remember that we are ambassadors of our community where
ever we are. You never know when it may come in handy. We
represent our sport, our home waters and our regions while we
travel. The same is true when we are at home.
~ Christopher Chin Three Rivers, Quebec, Canada
(1) American Psychological Association (APA):
Community. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved May 31,
2008, from Dictionary.com
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,
René. "She and her 12 year old son Vincent
started fly fishing with me in October 2002."
To learn more about the Ste-Marguerite River,