Our Man In Canada
January 19th, 2009

As Simple as it Gets (II)
By Chris Chin

I'm getting ready for the 2009 season! The new boat from Dave Scadden should arrive any day now. A new 6 wt is waiting for me at Boris' new shop. The fly bins are slowly filling up. The Forum in Granby is in 2 weeks.

New this season too is teaching some of the basics to my new girlfriend Liliane. The gear is spread out on the floor as I want to sort out stuff to be cleaned, stuff to be repaired and stuff to be replaced. There are over 12 reels, 10 rods, 15 lines, dozens of leaders and thousands of flies! (right – the travel case for the workhorse reels and spools.)

While I am showing her some of the differences between wets and dries, drags, lines etc…I come to the shocking realization that this can all be fairly complicated! How to bring it all back to basics?

Actually, our fishing here is really simple as we only usually fish for Atlantic salmon and sea run brook trout. This means that we don't match the hatch (these particular fish being in the river to spawn…they don't eat all summer long).

I pull out two flies to explain the difference between wets and dries. In essence, dries are tied so that they will float and wets usually will not float. Sure, there are special cases where we want them to do just the opposite of that, but why complicate things right now? This also means that the "products" we sometimes slather in the flies must be kept straight too. Silicone or "float" is for dries (to help them to float) and "Gink", sink or dishwashing liquid is for the wets (to make them sink).

Basically, there are just two casts here too. Dries get cast up and across the current to get a nice "dead drift" straight down with the current. Wets get down and across presentations to make the fly swing back towards the near bank. There 'ya go… no mending, reaching or anything.

We're also looking over the program for the Fly Fishing Forum which is taking place in a couple of weeks in Granby, Quebec. Some of the workshops are quite interesting. A nice touch (IMHO) is an emphasis that many of the speakers seem to be putting on simplifying the sport.

Over the years, I've run into quite a few anglers. Some seem to be quite caught up in the "technical" side of the sport. The perfect cast, the perfect balance of rod, reel and line. The perfect leader taper for a #22 dry on a 2 wt medium action rod … This is all fine and dandy. There is a certain satisfaction at excelling in the mechanics of casting. However, one should make sure that they aren't scaring away newcomers with some of the finer points of the sport. (or even worse, missing opportunities to connect to a fish 'cause we're too caught up in the techniques of it all).

I've picked out a setup for Liliane to learn on. A simple one. TFO Axiom 6wt 9 ft with a WF floating SA Line and a bomb proof (older) Lamson reel. Easy to cast, this rig will turn over even the biggest salmon fly. We'll keep this simple for a while to come. As soon as the weather warms up, we'll move out to the park and start some casting lessons.

Getting ready for a new season is a real thrill for me. I hope that it is for you as well. Just try to keep it simple. ~ Christopher Chin, Three Rivers 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 44 years old as of this writing. He is of Chinese origin although his parents were born and raised in Jamaica.

To learn more about the Ste-Marguerite River, visit Christopher's website. You can email Chis at: Flyfishing.christopher@gmail.com.

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