It’s confession time again: I’ve spent a lot of time in the company of men, mostly in fishing camps on the Gaspe, and I love it! We fish all day, and at the end of the day we sit around the deck or fire, drinks in hand, and talk. We don’t talk about politics or health of kids or recipes – we talk fishing. What fly did you use? How far out were you? How many rises? And on and on! Another confession: I listen more than I talk. To me there are few things more satisfying than the sound of a gang of male telling stories and laughing. It’s addictive! I don’t want to burst the magic bubble by injecting my own voice.
My memory bank is filled with echoes of fish raised, fish hooked, fish lost or released…and jokes that males enjoy, sometimes at the expense of females! Trips on several rivers of the Gaspe also take up space in the bank, many along with buddies Sandy Young, Gary Anderson and Bob Tilden. The Petite Cascapedia was a special river for us; in fact Sandy created a fly called “The Petite” that worked like a charm, better than any other in our fly boxes. Its body was a special shade of green/blue and my fly box was filled with Sandy’s creation in various sizes for various water conditions.
In 2000 I was a guest at Camp Bonaventure. Sandy couldn’t join me because he was in the later stages of pancreatic cancer, but he wished me well. I was reminded to take The Petite with me. One day the Petite Cascapedia was on my rotation, but I was warned that it might be a wasted trip – water levels were abysmally low. I used the Petite and, you guessed it, I hooked a fish to the surprise of the guide. Lost it, or should I say ‘it set itself free”.
I tried to phone Sandy to tell him about the miracle, but there wasn’t cell coverage at the fishing pool. Later we went to another spot on the river for lunch. While the guide laid out the repast I fished the bend in the river…again with The Petite. A few casts – no fish – then another cast and the fly landed in the tree behind me. Lousy cast Katharine! Rather than attempting to climb the tree I pulled…the line came free but the fly stayed in the tree. I was desolated!
When I returned home I discovered that Sandy had travelled to the Great Salmon Pool in the sky (died) at the same time as I lost my ‘Petite’.
The rivers of the Gaspe hold many memories of fish and fishermen hooked, released and lost. The memories and the ashes float free! I treasure my own….what about you?
Katharine Mott, raised in Northern New Brunswick, had two husbands and four sons in Nova Scotia, and a career in education. A long time volunteer on behalf of the Atlantic salmon; former President of the Nova Scotia Salmon Association, on the Boards of Atlantic Salmon Federation and Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation. Salmon fished most rivers in the five eastern provinces including Anticosti. Constructed and co-owned The Rifflin’ Hitch, a fishing lodge in Labrador. Retired and spends as much time as possible casting a line on moving water. She is a regular contributor to our news letter.