Our Man In Canada
February 19th, 2007

The Road Home
By Chris Chin, Bay Comeau, Quebec, Canada

Very few of today's anglers actually can walk from their fishing spots back to their home. For many of us, gone are the days of riding our bicycles out to the local pond on a Saturday morning with friends. A rod in one hand, tackle box in the other, negotiating our way down a snaking trail to the river's edge was child's play. Today, the trip up and out of the valley and back into town is usually done after sunset.

For me, the drive home takes about an hour. The road is windy and narrow. On Sunday evenings there are fewer transport trucks so the drive is fairly relaxing.

After having bid farewell to the week's guests, friends and visitors, I will have broken down the rods, stowed the reels and vests in their cases. The wet waders are in a heap in the back of the truck. The canoe is locked to the roof rack as I'll probably leave it there all week. I climb in and rest a few moments going through my mental check list. Nothing was left on the beach. The propane is turned off in the camps. The gate is locked on the access road to the gear shed.

After a few days on the river (or more), the simple act of sitting on a padded seat with a back rest is a bit of a luxury. In the air conditioned (or heated) cab, there are no biting bugs, no rain, no pounding sleet, nor wind nor blistering sun.

I turn West onto the highway as some blues start up on the CD player.

The Road

I'm tired 'cause whether I'm with guests or friends and family, I usually roll out long before dawn and I'm always the last one to bed (after checking the gear for the next day, putting out the fire and setting the stock for the next day's breakfast).

After a few miles though, pleasant memories of the outing seep back into my tired consciousness.

  • The one that broke off;

  • That perfect presentation (even thought there was NO salmon holding there);

  • The image of Peter stepping into a hole and getting his waders filled with water (at 6 o'clock in the morning!)

  • That perfect cup of coffee at day break on the look out while watching the salmon cueing up at the head of the pool;

  • That "Ah ha!" moment when a newcomer feels the rod loading properly;

  • Those moments: cigars, a glass of Port and a crackling camp fire.

    The memories turn into "what if's."

  • What if I had let that big buck run,...Would he still have eventually broken off?

  • What if we went into the #18 before dawn and set up BEFORE the salmon move up and into the shade? Would they be less leader shy?

  • What if we canoed DOWN from the run on the 38 and beached on the far side instead of wading across the down stream shallows. Would the big trout which laager there at night be less spooked?

  • What if we put some extra old cheddar in the cold smoker at breakfast, would it be ready for after supper Port?

  • As I pull into the driveway, the ideas and "what if's" have evolved into planning. In my mind I'm already getting ready for next week's outing. I'm making a new check list of stuff; I'd like to try; gear to be loaded up; flies to be tied. ~ Christopher Chin - Bay Comeau, 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/.

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