What attracts anglers from all over the world to Kamloops? Maybe it’s the numerous lakes that surround Kamloops. Or maybe it’s the rich stock of trout in its lakes? Well, in this adventure, I’m about to find out first hand from author and renowned expert fishing guide, Brian Chan.
The first thing I learnt was that “fly” fishing actually uses real flies. As soon as I got into the boat, Brian talked about “collecting” insects to use as bait. We ended up using a light lure that resembled a fly. The fly is supposed to mimic the bugs that fish feed on in the water and on the surface of the water. There are many different types of baits that are made with natural or synthetic materials, usually feathers. If you want to save money, you can always make your own flies out of inexpensive materials.
I stood on the edge of the boat and let out 30 feet of line. I kept my thumb on top of the grip with my wrist facing down. Brian wanted me to imagine that I was standing on a clock and straight ahead is 9 o’clock and behind me is 3 o’clock. So when I snap, I should be snapping my rod in the 10 o’clock position and the 2 o’clock position. I repeated this several times and eventually got the hang of it.
I brought my forearm up while keeping the rod in a straight line. I stopped my arm when my rod was vertical in the air. I snapped my wrist back and forth, until there was a smooth rhythm for me. I realized that it was important for me to pause on the back cast, or else I might accidentally snag myself with the hook as it came forward. There was a fine balance of applying enough forward power in order to hit the target. Again, this motion is suppose to mimic the fly (or insect) moving on the water’s surface.
As I was sitting in the boat chatting with Brian, he noticed I had a bite, so I set the hook and started to reel in my treasure. There wasn’t much of a fight because it was a juvenile trout. Brian was surprised I was able to set the hook on such a little fish. I released the juvenile so he could live to be an adult. The next trout I caught was average size but I felt as though I wanted this adventure to be a “catch and release” day. So I let that one go as well. I love the sport of fishing especially when I could release the fish.
As a beginner, I appreciated Brian sharing his knowledge and experience humbly and willingly with me. I was lucky to have not only a fly-fishing guide but an expert, advocate, teacher, speaker, and writer. Here are some conversations I shared with Brian:
Q: Why do you love fishing?
A: Each time is different. I love the challenge of figuring out where the fish are and what they are feeding on. It’s investigative work. I enjoy being in the outdoors and especially the feeling I get when a fish pulls the line!
Q: Where is your favorite place to fish?
A: There are many places in the world. But if I had to choose one…it would be Kamloops. That’s one of the main reasons I moved out here. The lakes here are filled with a healthy stock of trout, and there are a lot of lakes to choose from. So fishing is abundant and rewarding.
Q: What is the biggest fish you’ve caught?
A: I hooked a Striped Marlin, when I was vacationing in the Sea of Cortez. The Marlin weighed around 145 pounds.
Fly-fishing, in my opinion, is probably the most challenging type of fishing due to the craft of casting. For a beginner like me, casting can be a bit tricky. But the best advice Brian gave to me was to have patience. That’s great advice for life as well. As with many things in life, it takes time to master something. It took Brian over 35 years of fly fishing experience to bring him to the level he is at. It involved many years of learning, making mistakes, discovering, and having patience. As with anything, determination and passion will reward you richly in the end. So stick with it, whatever it is that you’re pursuing.