Spring has finally really sprung (even though Montreal got
plus six inches of snow this past week). A true sign of this
is that a patch of grass at the local park has appeared from
underneath the burden of snow. Not a big patch of grass, but
a long one. 10 feet wide and 120 feet long...enough to
By Chris Chin, Bay Comeau, Quebec, Canada
I strolled over to the park, an 8 ft 5 wt in hand with
an old but serviceable DT line. A level leader of 10 lb
test and a fluff of wool completed today's rig.
The sun is high and there is no wind. I unlimber my arm
slowly and work short casts along the grassy strip. I
practice laying the line down slightly curved and tucked
up against the (snow) bank, just as I would to drop an
upstream dry tight into the bend on a favourite run. As
I work my casts farther and farther up the "run," I'm
concentrating on the big trout which are sheltered in
the gentle current.
The trout like to move out of the #3 pool and spend
the day amongst the cobbles and boulders at the foot
of the rapids. They seem to feel more secure here as
the broken surface of the water must provide more
protection from overhead avarian predators. I have
also found that in flowing water, the trout are more
prone to taking a fly than when they are schooling in
I have left these trout alone all day, concentrating more
on the long distance casts off of the grass and across the
#3 pool. The moment has come. The sun has moved behind and
under the trees lining the shore. I move up the trail than
pick my way back to the river's edge. I have to wade deep
out into the run to clamber up onto some sunken boulders.
With the sinking sun, the air temperature drops swiftly
in the early September evening and a thin mist forms over
the rapids 100 yards upstream of me.
I strip out only about 10 yards of line. This will be close
in work. I have to false cast out over the water to get the
long leader to unfurl properly, then quarter in and up to
lay down my #14 Red Tag. From my perch, I have a perfect
angle to present the dry fly back towards the bank and the
deep seam where the trout are hiding.
My first few casts get no reactions. I know I'm landing
the fly 2-3 feet behind the trout. I strip out another ten
feet of line and cast farther up the seam. The dead drifting
fly looks perfect (in my mind's eye), half sunken in the film.
I more imagine than see the dark shadow detaching itself from
the bottom. It rises urgently up and forward. The big buck
lunges the last 18 inches and takes the fly in a perfect nose,
dorsal fin, tail, display. Before he can turn, I set the hook
and he darts left into the current. The slack line I have
accumulated in my left hand gets fed through the guides and
in ten seconds he is onto the reel.
Now I have a serious problem. I'm perched on a sunken boulder
and can't get back to shore in a hurry. Even if I could, I
can't wade around the trees on the shore in order to get
back to the small beach.
There is nothing else to do but put pressure on the rod.
I believe that the hook is properly set into the hinge
of the trout's jaw. My little 3 wt will be hard pressed
to pull this trout out of the current. Then, of his own
accord, the trout moves out and across, slowly unspooling
thirty feet of backing (I love the sound of these click 'n
pawl reels). He is straight across from me now and I know
I can lean into the rod without pulling out.
Fighting the pressure from the line the trout moves farther
up stream and I know the battle will be soon done. I let
off pressure for an instant and the trout turns in the
current and sails back towards me. I frantically strip
in line, not bothering to reel.
I will rarely fight a fish until he goes belly over. As
the trout drifts back into his lair, I lean the rod tip
ver to the right again and grab the line. Cork handle
between my teeth, I hand line the trout back towards me.
I follow the line down to the leader with my right hand.
Left hand under the trout which is still in the water, I
quickly back the fly out with a pair of haemostats.
I spool up a bit of line and go back to presenting my fly
to the pod of trout in the seam. I have a old habit of
leaning forward while I concentrate on my short casts
(just as LadyFisher takes a small step forward with each
cast). The small of my back is getting a bit tensed up so
I stand up straight to rest a second.
Looking for Rises on the #3, Ste-Marguerite River - Quebec
I look around and realize I'm still on my grassy strip
in the park. The neighbours are all out on their balconies
watching. ~ Christopher Chin - Bay Comeau, 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 in October 2002."
To learn more about the Ste-Marguerite River,
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