by Lura Somers
Atlantic Salmon fishing is a big event on the Miramichi. Every year fishermen come from all over North America to fish and enjoy the river. Growing up in the area, I was vaguely aware of this taking place every spring, but it never occurred to me that I too, could become an avid fan of the sport.
Every spring the locals watch the weather and even take bets on when the river ice will run. You will see them building and painting boats in anticipation of working as a guide for the many visitors who come to angle. To be a guide you must know the river and obtain a guide’s licence.
Last spring my husband launched his trusty boat and motor and convinced me that I should try my hand at fly fishing. As this was something that I had always wondered about, I agreed to accompany him to see what all the hoopla was about.
It was a beautiful, bright, sunny day with just a slight breeze stirring. We backed the boat trailer onto the shore and unloaded our boat into the water. One pull of the motor and we were away! As we sped across the waves, I could hear the hum of the motor and feel the spray of the water on my face. How exhilarating!
Reaching our destination, we picked out a spot where we thought the fish might be biting. There were several other boats around the area. I couldn’t see any signs of anyone catching any fish. After several casts and coming up empty, I began to think it was shaping up to be a boring adventure. I just couldn’t see the fun in sitting there for hours on end if there were no fish taking. I swung my line back over my shoulder and cast the fly out again.
All of a sudden I felt a strong tug on my line! I pulled tight to see what was going on. I couldn’t get my hook up! Then the fun began!
“Reel in slow, not hard.”
“Bring him in slowly, just play along!”
These were the instructions of my husband and guide as my rod bent and my arms held tense. I reeled in slowly, then WHIZZ went my reel as the fish would swim away with my hook. Reel in again, let out again. This went on for a good 30 minutes with me pulling one way, and him, pulling the other. Then I could see the fish under the water attached to my line!
“Play him out.”
I reeled him in closer to the side of the boat. Up he came to the surface, back and forth, back and forth, at last I got him in close enough and my guide scooped him into the net. There he was! What a beauty! My first catch! Nearly as long as I am! What a trophy!
Even though I had to put him back, I now know the reason grown men act as they do every spring! Now, I too, can hardly wait for the ice to run and the boats to be launched–I’ll be out there right along with the rest-trying to catch another big one!
Lura Somers lives in Halcomb, NB. She was born and raised on the Miramichi River and has lived there most of her life. Lura lived in Ontario for close to 10 years but she and her husband returned to the Miramichi to retire four years ago. They have five children and lots of grandchildren. Lura enjoys writing poetry and short stories. She also enjoys fly fishing.