With All Due Respect
Confrontation \Con`fron*ta"tion\, n. [LL. confrontatio.]
By Chris Chin
Act of confrontating. --H.Swinburne.
n 1: a bold challenge
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
Getting ready for a big week of guiding clients
and friends, I started laying out gear on the
front porch late last evening. The Dawg is
following me back and forth from the shed to
the front of the house as the various boxes,
sacks and stuff get pulled out of their
I have the standard "kit" of heavier rods
for this time of year. 7-9 weights. We're
going after bruiser sea run trout (anadromous
Salvelinus fontinalis) as well
as fresh from the salt Atlantics. That's
what I proposed to the folks coming up,...
that's what they want to try. I also pull
out several smaller rods I want to have them
try in a few "special" holes.
As the evening draws on, Junior comes out
and starts poking around in the pile of stuff
(probably to see if I've forgotten anything)
...He notices the 4wt 6 1/2 ft rods and
looks up quizzically.
"Why are you packing along the light weight
stuff?" he asks as he notices the extra long
leaders on the old Martin 4wt reels.
I explain that the folks coming up are all
very experienced anglers. They have already
been out on several trips and probably have
started to develop a good idea as to how to
go about the job. As Vince has started to
know how I function (in my head) he frowns
and shakes a finger at me.
"Be nice and don't go breaking down too many
perceptions", he warns me sternly...
I looked up with a bit of a surprise, then
saw that he was grinning from ear to ear. Ya'
see, Vince has been following me around for
a while now and he has seen how I work.
One of the things that I have impressed on
our son is to keep an open mind to new (and
old) ideas. In my real job, managing forest
resources, as well as on the river,...I come
across a lot of opportunities to confront my
"perception" of how things (should) work.
As I continue to pack up the boxes, Vincent
asks me which techniques I want to show the
group. I think on that a bit and come up with
my list of oxymorons:
- Upstream wets
That'll be enough for 2 days I figure. I'll
add in a mix of new casting positions for
shorter casts and then some long rigs with
22-25 foot leaders. My "clients" expect this
from me (at the forest management group as well,
as on the river).
- Downstream dries
- Drowned dries
I mean, hey,...how many times have you gone
out with a guide and the day just sort of "was."
You had a pre-conceived idea of how things would
go,...you arrive,...spent a pleasant day,...caught
some fish,...and that's it!
Then,...there are those other days,...
You meet up with your Guide,...things go well,
...but there is more. The Guide has you try
new tactics, new flies, shorter casts, longer
leaders, bigger flies, smaller flies. Different
colors, no indicators, different retrieves. New
Trying new tactics and techniques can lead
to some wonderful results.
So,...back to Vince's "concern" that I might
be breaking down some "perceptions." He has
also seen that when I start moving clients
onto new grounds (or waters),...the idea is
best served up with a side order trio of tact,
consideration and respect.
- A simple "suggestion" can be misread
in a flash.
As I go to close up the tail gate, Vince tosses
in another box of flies. I reach in and look
over the dries he means for me to take along.
They're all originals and over sized. He must
have tyed them up during the week. With a wink,
...he says, "You're in a rut too,...Try something
- A fellow angler could interpret a
friendly comment on improving a cast as an
attack on his technique.
- A "comment" is always received in
the context of the "receiver"...The Guide,
teacher or writer must take the responsibility
to KNOW what that context is, to understand it
and to act accordingly.
I had once told Vince to not be afraid to let
others confront their ideas,...as long as
everything is done in an environment of
dialogue, openness and respect.
With a laugh, I slip the box into the upper
left pocket of my vest and button everything
up for the night. ~ 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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