A quieting hush in the gray birch leaves, brought me to reality, a
noticeable break in the low overcast above, demanded my immediate
attention, the time ,-- the
season --and the unknown,
my blood tingle with excitement.
The old dog
sitting on the rear seat of my canoe, with her ears piercing the damp air for a sound
in the bushes which aroused her attention moments before, is my companion. A
Shepherd Husky mix, a Doaktown dog, her name is
We were in the
midst of one of Mother
Natures natural arenas, the Main Southwest Miramichi, between Upper Blackville
and Boiestown. An area where the Miramichi begins her natural climb to the
higher elevations, and her source. The gravel bars, and gradual drops in
level, make excellent stopping places for Salar to rest and refresh himself, on
his annual migration to the upper reaches of the river. This is the most productive salmon river in
the world, I take a moment to reflect on my good fortune to be able to fish in
such pristine surroundings.
We had been continuing this practice for
14 years, Shebah and I, familiar with each others ways as only two close friends can be. She would
travel to this area with me as a companion and spectator, I would draw her
attention to things she missed which were few, and she would draw my attention to
things I would not be aware of.. Some day old dog I will miss your
presence, but today we will enjoy our outing as we always do.
After losing my long time fishing friend, to a sudden illness, I could not
immediately take up with another, or find someone that shared the same feeling
for fly fishing as he, thus the old dog is my companion for now.
As the canoe oscillated from north to south,
in a subtle
motion, the ears and eyes of old dog deceived her. I immediately saw the change
which was demanding her attention. Just below the gravel bar, was the
un-mistakable wake of a rolling salmon. A movement salar makes on his trek to his spawning grounds, which gives his
location away to those that know .
Dog, I said, you may be old but you are not stupid, at least another has made
the voyage to this great river for its survival . "Lets see if he is interested in
some fur and feathers we have attached to this hook last winter in the
I studied the leader where it was attached to the line, checked the knot
where the fly was tied to the leader and scanned the length between for wind
knots. Everything was in order, my heart picked up a couple of beats as I
studied the swing the fly would make, and if it would be going fast enough to
entice the fish to chase the fly. I decided I was too high in the pool for
a suitable swing, so I dropped the canoe down another 30 feet, and a bit to the
north. This would give me a seventy five degree swing, which would make the fly
move fast enough for the fish to chase it.
Attaching the anchor rope to the thole pin, I noticed my hands which were
trembling, I thought back to the days when I first fished for Salmon with my
dad. Although time makes one a bit steadier and sure of his activities,
the sign of a salmon in the river sure unravels ones nerves. Nothing has changed
in the 64 years I have been alive, Salar is still king and he excites my
emotions more now than before.
Picking up the rod, undoing the fly from the keeper, my eyes glued on the
ripple where the first sign of the fish appeared. I make several false casts to
the opposite side of the canoe, judging distance and getting everything just
right. I then take a deep breath to steady my nerves , I cast to the
spot. The fly lands 3 feet above the lie, I lift the rod up and mend the
line, as the tip descends to the level of the water, that old familiar swirl
and the tug that one dreams of, before, during, and after every salmon fishing
trip, happens. I lift the tip there is a heavy pull at the
end of the line, my heart returns to normal . I drop the tip to see
if the fish will release easily. The sting of the steel is too
strong, he fights the rod for a moment, then the line slackens and he
is gone, the barb-less hook releasing its hold.
Satisfied with the outing, I lift anchor and start a silent drift downstream
towards the camp, the old dog sitting on the seat with ears still piercing the
damp air, still
trembling, knowing we are in for another good season. Some fish will not
be as easy to release, some will fight for their lives, not knowing their
destiny, until released to their river where they were born.
The slap of a screen door in the distance testifies that we are returning to civilization, the un-mistakable sound of a car on the gravel
road, releases us from natures hold once again and we arrive back to
reality. Do not worry old dog, we will make this trip many more times in
Several years have passed, my old
companion Shebah has gone to the great stomping ground, many changes have taken
place in life since those exciting days on the river.
Salar still plies the
stream,-------------TO BE Continued.
This Page Edited on
November 11, 2006 01:44:10 PM