Salmon fishing & fly tying on the Miramichi...

Saturday, 11 March 2017

A Fishing Story - as ripped from the pages of NSFLYGUY..

In lieu of a properly written blog post, here's a story about a 42" fish that Paul & I met on the North Pole stream last September with the details ripped from the pages of the **NSFLYGUY forum.

(**NSFLYGUY is the BEST salmon fishing discussion forum in Atlantic Canada, owned and operated by Mark Willigar - usually found here:

A couple videos of the event:
Paul's original edit: (if for some reason this doesn't play in HD - go to youtube and watch there:

Howie's edit - contains the battle, release & pleasant music:

A picture of Paul doing what he does when he's not coaching or photographing salmon battles:

An epic brookie caught by Paul (just because):


(Posts from other forum members have been removed so in case this "discussion" seems 1 sided - that's the reason!)

........Thanks a lot guys - I've still got a good buzz after that one.

DH (Jason), I know exactly the rock and alders you speak of - you used to be able to wade around the corner a little bit while hugging those alders but a lot of the sand has washed away and it drops off quite abruptly... I was standing as far and as deep as I could in the alders holding my rod "around the corner" when I hooked her - luckily it was deep enough that she cooperated and allowed me to work her back to the top of the pool and get better positioned before the fight really began.. we had no idea what we hooked until she jumped and then things went crazy... she was dogging down deep at the top of the pool when Paul said "make it jump" .. so I used the old tap the butt of the rod trick and about 6 taps in she started to lift off and then made a crazy run into my backing ... Paul said "you better make her work for that line" judging by how much backing I had left on my spool and luckily I was able to slow her down and turn her around. If that pool wasn't as deep and as long as it was it may have been a different story as she would come back each time. About 10 minutes in (I know this because Paul was videoing the whole thing) we made a tailing attempt as we had no net because we were backpacking for the day and beer seemed more important when we left the camp that morning - a no brainer, right? Anyhow, I handed Paul the rod because he wanted this fish landed or lost by me - and I can't say as I blame him. So as she got closer I got my first clear look at her silhouette against the sandbar ... I was excited before but now I was shaking, literally .... so with shaking hands, I reached for her tail - trying not to make a ripple (which was damned near impossible) and I gripped her by the "wrist" as firmly as I could and that's when she proceeded to thrash my arm, shoulder and entire upper body for what seemed like an eternity but was actually only about 3 seconds during which time I yelled "She's landed, this counts!" - and then off she went, somehow miraculously still pinned! I credit the large #4 ironed **"Faux GP" for this and the fact she was hooked perfectly in the scissors ... (**"Faux GP" which is actually a version of a General Practitioner by Emmett Johnson with a simplified wing arrangement - 3 wings is overkill and a waste of time and material, in my humble opinion)

The most important ingredient of the day was a shit ton of luck... So the battle continued for another 10-12 minutes, during which time Paul was offering encouragement while assuring me she was well hooked and that we were doing her no harm because the water temps were perfect for an extended fight, if necessary. Towards the end of this second 10-12 minute period she finally showed us her side and briefly submitted - a sign to NEVER be ignored when trying to land a fish. So Paul and I quickly did the rod hand off and this time she stayed in my firm grip as I held her under water, facing upstream for the entire duration of her captivity. I have to admit, I was "slightly" emotional while holding this beautiful female full of ripening eggs... So many thoughts went through my mind and I was flush with respect, admiration, gratitude and most of all bewilderment over how anyone could kill such a magnificent creature? And to be lucky enough to hook such a fish while having the kind of guy like Paul in my corner who really knocked it out of the park on camera/coaching detail.. that S7 phone of his is some piece of technology.. I have no words to describe how lucky I was that day, that more than any other factor led to me being able to share these pictures and this story with you guys - sorry for sounding corny but the entire experience has been truly humbling.

She was tagged!

Tag info. from DFO:

Gary (Tanner), you'd have been proud - as close as I got to an actual green machine on that trip was a "Some Ugly" - A fly I have caught ONLY salmon on - no grilse, including a small salmon about a half hour earlier in the same pool and a fish of the same class as this one (broke off on a snag after a 15 minute fight) a few weeks earlier.

Thanks a lot guys, It's been a great season for me, my best in fact - we've had some tough days on the river when you really had to earn that 1 rise and we've had days where we raised and hooked a dozen. Landing percentage hasn't been terribly great but then again when having the action we've been lucky enough to have, landing them seems to matter less. I've seen some new water and fell in love with another river and a different style of fishing. Lightening up on smaller water has finally taken it's hold on me and I'm planning to add a 5/6 or 6/7 switch rod for next year - although I was some happy to have the backbone of my 8wt last Sunday.

The places we get to see, as salmon anglers, that average people have no clue exist is another amazing bonus to what we do. I feel I've learned a lot and swing or drift my fly more confidently but I know I have SO much more to learn about this sport and  species.  The craziest part of all of this, as I'm standing at the head of a pool before my first cast, pulling the fly line up through my guides, checking my leader for knots or nicks, wondering what fly I'm going to show them first - my hands shake with excitement and anticipation EVERY SINGLE TIME.