Our Man In Canada
July 17th, 2006

The Sound(s) of Silence
By Chris Chin, Jonquiere, Quebec

I like to arrive on a run or pool and sit back and observe for a while before charging into the water. Who knows, sometimes the fish are holding much more closely to the banks than you might expect.

As I was "observing" the pool on the #47 the other day, I realized that I don't really LOOK at the pool ...but more precisely, I listen to it.

I mean, how many time have you been fishing and WOW... you see a trout rising? Did the actually see the start of the rise? Or did you hear the sound and look over as the ripples were expanding across the water?

From our perch up on the observatory, we could see the likely prospects so we moved down the stairs and waded out into the pool.

André was a First Time Atlantic salmon angler. This will be fun.

To get some flies over the fish with a change up, we try some reach casts.

Working the far drop off, we are in our own world. No faxes, no air-conditioning, no phones.

The current is slow and the sounds of the rapids downstream are muted under the overcast skies.

Off to our right, we hear a soft "whoosh." Not a splashy rise. A salmon had slowly porpoised up and over to the left.

We spool up and change flies. On the very next cast (an across and up marabou Muddler), a tight swirl boils under the fly.

My client asks "What was that, a trout?"

I reply (a tad over excitedly), "No,...that's a [censored by Editor] big salmon!"

We wait 10 seconds and cast again. André puts the fly in exactly the same spot and this time it disappears. A heart beat later and he's doing battle off the reel.

Looking back on the morning, I can't tell you how happy I was at that moment when I realized that I had recommended that André lay aside his trout reel and use some of my gear (including a reel with over 500 feet of backing).

Being a newcomer, André's first impression was to think that the salmon wasn't too big. That is, until he saw it jump! And Jump. And Jump. The salmon must have dove and leapt over 12 times throughout the entire battle.

Thirty minutes into the contest and we almost have the salmon out of the current and into the pool. I suppose that we could have netted him at this point, but I prefer not to net fish which are to be released.

The salmon caught on pretty quickly to our strategy and headed straight for the rapids. Two heartbeats later and we were well into the backing. Miraculously, the salmon stopped in the second rapids and holed up.

What followed was a game of cat 'n mouse gaining ground, palming hard on the reel, and just generally trying to get the beast out of the current.

Note to self: Show clients how to palm a reel so they don't get their knuckles in the way of the handle.

André toughed it out for pretty near 90 minutes. The water was cold, the salmon fresh from the salt and the current too strong to horse him out. The hook on the fly actually bent almost 30 degrees along the shank, but never opened the gape.

He was rewarded with a magnificent salmon, cleanly released.

Congratulations André Marceau on a very first Atlantic salmon. ~ Chris 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 in 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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