Our Man In Canada
July 18th, 2005

With All Due Respect
By Chris Chin

Confrontation \Con`fron*ta"tion\, n. [LL. confrontatio.]
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 storage lairs.

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

    - Downstream dries

    - Drowned dries

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).

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 foods!

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.

    - 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.

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 new."

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

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 last October 2002."

To learn more about the Ste-Marguerite River, visit Christopher's website http://pages.videotron.com/fcch/. ~ Christopher Chin

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