I threw on my waders and stood thigh-deep in the swift current. The rhythm of throwing out my fly, retrieving the line, throwing out the fly, listening to the ripples of the water, had a calming effect. I quickly understood why some of Pond’s clients have returned year after year for four decades — though he noted that the clientele is changing. Sure, he still books many men’s trips, where they simply want to spend the bulk of their time on the river. But he’s also getting a surge in families who want to fish, search for moose, and go mountain biking on the many logging roads.
We jumped in the boat one last time and I switched my fly to an Ally’s Shrimp. A flick of the wrist and I felt a bite. I arced the pole high and then gave him some slack, tilted the pole high again and then let the line go, playing this exhilarating back and forth for several minutes. When the dark-colored salmon reached the side of the boat, Marsha scooped him up with a net. We snapped a couple of photos and let the fish loose to continue his journey upstream.
My memorable day was over, having gone through at least a dozen flies before finding the one that worked. As any angler will tell you, that’s the only one that matters. Next time I will take Amos’s advice and return to the Miramichi in summer . . . with the spoon from my lunch box.
Stephen Jermanok can be reached at www.activetravels.com.