A Fly Tying Story - Why We Tie
If you've been following my antics over
the past few weeks up here in Quebec,...
you know we had a run of major forest fires.
Working out the bugs for the salvage plans,
integrating the recommendations of the
parliamentary committee on resource allocation,
settling a few land claims and generally burning
the candle at both ends,...I wasn't surprised
the other night when I woke up at 3 o'clock
and couldn't sleep.
By Chris Chin
I foraged around in the fridge for a while
and decided I really wasn't hungry. I decided
to quietly sneak into the tying room in the
basement...Good idea, but which flies to tye,
bleary eyed at 03h30?
Sitting at the bench, I realize I better not
try anything new or complicated (well,...that's
what I'll usually tye anyway). May as well do
some old stand by's that I'll need next week
with the family.
I line up the ingredients for a no-name abortion
of a woolly bugger meets Godzilla. As I
mechanically tye up the first few, I'm not
really thinking about the actual tying,...
I'm drawn back 7-8 years to the #27 pool on
my home waters where I first saw this fly.
André Jordan was a long time Guide on those
waters,...his father being a Warden for most
of his life in the same valley. I'd fished
and shared smokes with André for a few years,
...he just never seemed to really open up
before that day.
I cast some (relatively) small dries out into
the seam; André was deep wading in the run. As
I was watching his line control more than my
own fly, I spooled up and had a seat on the
gravel bar to take mental notes. Every third
or fourth cast he was short striking a lunker
trout (picking up BEFORE the trout could take
the fly). I watched in amazement as he fished
for 5 or 10 minutes.
The water was pretty cold and he came out of
the pool shortly and settled in beside me for
a smoke. I passed the fixin's over to him and
he rolled up some Drum. He passed the tobacco
pouch back to me then did something he'd never
done before. André rummaged around in the
oversized pockets of his coat, pulled out his
"special" fly box,...his go-to flies for clients,
and laid it open on the gravel between us.
One by one he pulled out a fly, some of them
tied by his father, others by him and modified
over the years. For each, he explained when,
where and how to fish it. 30 years of experience
on the same river, condensed into 3 hours of
lecture sitting on a gravel bar.
We stopped our impromptu guide's course as the
sun was going behind the mountains. André said
I would remember the form, color and size of
each fly for each pool, water level, time of
year and quarry so he would only give me one.
Funny, .. the example he gave to me is actually
the easiest to tie. He said it didn't have a name.
I'm still looking for a name.
Sitting at the bench, the sun is coming up.
There's a pile of "no-name" flies waiting for
a drop of epoxy. André Jordan left the river
after that season and never came back. I had
some news a few years ago, but nothing solid.
Looking back, I believe he spent the time
that day with me as he knew the river would
be looking for new Guides; he was the very
last of the old school. Whatever the reason,
I'm still trying to master or understand half
of what he taught me that afternoon.
As I wonder where he is, I have flashes of
many who've contributed to my understanding
of this sport, an old high school biology
professor, Brian Chan, hordes of Game Wardens,
some guy on pool in Gaspé, the young kid on
another river asking so many questions, I
realized I didn't have the answers,...And
of course,...the gang at FAOL (LF, RW, JC,
MM, Nate, Brian, Di,...
Next weekend, I continue on with my Vincent.
I guess it's a part of the tradition that
makes this sport so wonderful.
Tight Lines. ~ Christopher 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 last October 2002."
To learn more about the Ste-Marguerite River,
~ Christopher Chin
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