First Time Fishing Story
I got a phone call yesterday from a good old friend.
Pierre Poisson (yes "poisson" means FISH is French)
called to say that he and the family would be up for
a week for some quiet time and lots of fishing.
By Chris Chin
Schedules couldn't jibe, so I unfortunately, couldn't
arrange to meet with them. Not really a problem for
Pierre anyhow. I've been guiding him and his family
for several years, and frankly (I explained to him),
he doesn't need a guide any more.
We chatted, caught up on family news and I gave him
a river report. Further, seems they went Salmon fishing
earlier in the season in Gaspé and his daughter, Isabelle
has caught her very first Atlantic Salmon. I was extremely
happy for her and asked Pierre to pass on the congratulations.
After our phone call ended, I reflected back on
the progression that Isabelle has made over her
years as a Fly Fisher.
Way back when, Isabelle started fly fishing in
the same way (unfortunately) as many women have.
Her husband Jacques and her father were going
fishing, so might as well bring along the wife
and an extra pole (sound familiar guys?)
Now, seeing as her father hadn't fished the
Ste-Marguerite in several years, he hired a Guide
(me) to scout out the water and give some pointers
to his daughter. First thing I did when I met up
with the gang was string up one of my spare rods,
lighter and more 'forgiving' for a newcomer to the
sport (versus the super fast top of the line 'loaner'
her father had brought along for her).
After sending Hubby and Dad off to another pool,
we set up on a nice pool to start on the rudiments
of casting. A quick learner, Isabelle was soon quite
comfortable with her casting stroke.
(and very patient with the usual hang-ups)
We worked a few pools all morning, got some nice rises,
but most of the really 'interested' trout were hanging
just out of range. Our newest addition to the sport
wasn't frustrated, just anxious to connect.
We setup up for lunch in front of the warden's cabin.
I keep looking over my shoulder to see if there was
any movement in the pool. After a leisurely shore
lunch, the Boys went off to another hole wishing
Isabelle luck. Isabelle asked me, "Well, where else
can we fish where the trout aren't too far for me?"
"Well, I think we'll stay right here on the #4 and
cast 30 feet out behind the picnic table."
"You mean there are trout here and we never knew!"
Now that her confidence had ratcheted up a few notches,
I knew Isabelle would be able to cast a smaller fly on
a longer leader. We strung up an even lighter rod and
I tied on a nice #16 Red Tag. I sat up on top of the
picnic table and set her about casting a long upstream
drift into the pool.
After the first drift, Isabelle just KNOWS something
will happen here (a woman's intuition?) From my vantage
point, I can SEE the trout following her fly, but I
don't say anything so as not to get her over excited.
A bruiser Buck has followed the fly, but lost interest
as soon as the leader put drag on the fly.
On the next cast, I get her to lay the line a tad more
to the right so the fly will get into the 'kill zone'
more quickly and not start 'dragging' quite so soon.
Like a Pro, her cast lays down gently on the pool
exactly as I'd wanted.
15 seconds into the drift, the fly disappears with a
"Slurp," on instinct Isabelle lifts her rod tip and
feels for the very first time in her life the
satisfying weight of a 4 lb trout on a 4 wt rod!
The current in the #4 is almost non-existent and
brook trout don't run like salmon, so the battle is
short but exhilarating (for both of us). A few minutes
later and the trout is on the bank. As it's her VERY
first, it's a keeper.
Isabelle Poisson (and daughter Marie-Fréderique) with
her very first trout on a Fly - August 2002
I'm not sure what was more gratifying for Isabelle,
her first trout, or the look on Hubby's face when
they got back to the camp and he saw the Trout in
Grandma and Marie-Fréderique look on as I prepared
a replica brooch fly for Isabelle's exploit.
For her accomplishment, as with all my friends and
clients, Isabelle got a replica fly of the Red Tag
on a brooch pin. I see year after year that she is
very proud of it and has it pinned to her fishing hat.
Isabelle at home in a run - August 2004
~ 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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