Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tying one on - Miramichi style

Okay, so here's the deal:

I've never been fly-fishing in my life.

I've been fishing with tackle, spin-casting from shore, from boats and canoes; I've been deep-sea fishing in the Florida Keys; but I have never even picked up a fly rod.

That's why the next few days in New Brunswick should be interesting.

I'm staying at the O'Donnell's Cottages in Doaktown, N.B. on the banks of the mighty Miramichi River.

And I'm here to fly fish  - or at least to try to learn how to fly fish. And if my first day is any indication, it's going to be a steep learning curve for Yours Truly.

Outside the Atlantic Salmon Museum.
After settling in at the lodge, the group I was traveling with headed to the Atlantic Salmon Museum to learn all about this fish, the N.B. sport fishing industry in general - and how to actually tie flies.

Greeted warmly by Linda Gaston, the museum's executive director, she quickly introduced us to Bev Gaston, the man who'll be guiding us around the next few days. He in turn introduced us to Kim Mertens, fly tyer. (Hey, that's what her business card says!)

She ties flies. She also runs several programs that teach kids how to tie flies - kids as young as five - to get them interested in the outdoors.

Let me tell you, those kids could probably tie better flies than me.

It's not an easy art to master. Apparently, to be able to make money at it, you have to be able to tie at least 10 an hour.

 Kim shows the art of fly-tying

Well, I won't be quitting my day job any time, soon - it took more than an hour to tie one, as my attempts at parroting Kim's moves were pretty lame - and then only with a lot of patient help from Kim was I able to complete it. By the time she was done helping fix my fly faux-pas, it almost looked reasonable.

My fly - in all it's ... glory?
Yeah, I'd pretty much starve if I had to do this for a living.

But we sure were not starving when it came to dinner at the museum. They re-created a typical fishing camp meal for us, complete with steamed salmon, fiddleheads, fried potatoes, home-baked biscuits, corn bread and molasses cookies. And this was after we'd had smoked salmon and cream cheese canap├ęs earlier.
It's a good thing they'd already caught the fish, 'cause if I'd had to rely on my fly to catch supper, I'd still be out on the river.

At some point, we're supposed to do some paddling, on the Miramichi; too, and I know I can do that, all right ... but for now, I have to focus on getting this fly-fishing stuff down pat.

Up next: We learn how to fly-cast...I just hope I'm better at casting than I am at tying.

Guess I'll find out tomorrow ...

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff, John. I enjoyed tying flies, but learning to cast was my come-uppance.
    I'm enjoying your tweets, pix, and posts - keep 'em coming.