Our Honeymoon

All you need is love... Lennon / McCartney

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In August of 2006 Pam and I spent our honeymoon in Cape Breton, 22 years after we'd tied the knot. It was the first time since we'd known each other that we'd gone away together with no kids or worries. On our wedding night, seeing as we were movie fanatics, we'd decided to go to a movie at the Hyland theatre (which no longer exists). We saw James Stewart and Grace Kelly in Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window. It hit the silver screen in 1954 and is a classic murder/mystery.

Anyway, back to the honeymoon. We planned on just lazing around doing nothing a third of the time, shopping a third of the time, and fishing the last third. Well, we finally got around to the fishing. We walked two-and-a-half miles to a pool on the North River. Much to my surprise we discovered we were second in line. There were two right some nice old-timers standing in the river. They told us they'd hooked a 12 pounder just before we arrived, which was too bad because I would have liked Pam to see a salmon on the run. They packed up and left after about fifteen minutes (I guess they'd been up there since daybreak) so I stepped in and flicked a fly. Just then a salmon jumped. Well, you should have heard Pam. "Did you see that?" she said. Her eyes were like saucers. "Give me the rod," she says. Well, I'm not one to argue with her so I gave her the rod.

Now I should point out that Pam has maybe only fly-fished twice in her life before now. She beat that river into a froth. The big orange bomber was snapping on the rocks on the backcast and hitting the water like a cannonball on the forward cast. Now and again though she'd make a perfect presentation and I'd hold my breath hoping one would rise. We didn't take waders so she was as far out as she could get on the rocks. I was loving every minute of it. I was really proud of her. She'd not shown much interest in taking up fly-fishing, mostly because she had so many other things on the go. Mind you, she's always been the one to say that I should fish as much as I can because she knows how good it is for me. And if it's good for me it's good for her. I think it was much more than seeing a salmon though. It was the scenery, the peacefulness, the sound of the river and the fact that we were together. I only got the rod back because she was tired and needed a breather.

Salmon had been moving all the time she was fishing so I went upriver and cast a yellow tailed brown bug well above them and let it drift. I did this in different spots for about ten casts. Then, as my bug was floating along, a leaf drifted down, underwater behind my bug. I was so interested in the leaf, I took my eye off the fly, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a salmon take the bug. By the time I reacted he'd spit it out. It's always the way with me, there's other goings-on that distract me when I'm on a salmon river. I'll watch the eagles, the trees waving in the wind, and other people fishing more than I do my fly. It's fun though! Of course, that salmon never came again.

We concluded our honeymoon with a trip to the magnificent Margaree where we only saw one fish but had a great time visiting the pools and staying at Brown's. It also gave Pam a chance to catch up on her knitting.

Since that time Pam has been on to me about going fishing together again. She tried on my waders this morning. I guess she wants a pair for herself. If this keeps up I'm gonna be taking up knitting. I really do love having her fishing with me. We're going tomorrow morning. I've already told her the river will be dry (we've had no rain for six weeks) and that the salmon won't be taking. She doesn't care. All she wants to do is be on a river of some kind and have lunch on the bank.

Our youngest son is still in High School but he has a part time job up at the Esso gas station. This morning we had planned to get up at six, drive him to work so's he could open at seven, and then keep going to the river. Well, we overslept and woke up at six-thirty! Didn't have time for breakfast or nothing else. Luckily I had loaded up the car the night before so we just brushed our teeth and headed out.

I was in a daze. I'm not an early riser and the sight of a huge orange sun rising over the horizon made me think I was on another planet. I can't say as I've ever seen the sun that colour in the morning. It was foggy too. Right after we dropped our son off we stopped at McDonald's for breakfast. I had an Egg McMuffin which I'd swear is made from bleached, recycled car tires.

Pam drove for the first hour, which was just as well because my eyes weren't in focus. Then I drove for the next hour. We got stuck behind a gravel truck on a little country road and couldn't get by. Suddenly there was a loud bang as a piece of gravel flew from the truck and hit the windscreen. That's the third time that's happened. Each time it's cost me over $300 to replace, makes for an expensive fishing trip.

At about nine, we finally got to the river. But, as far as I'm concerned, there weren't no river. It was about two to three feet below normal and I could see bottom wherever I looked. And there weren't no fish! We didn't need waders or boots so we flicked a fly for a while and then headed to another spot. No fish there either. We then drove upriver to one of my favourite sections. We didn't bother with waders but slipped on our wading boots and headed down this little brook which feeds into the main river. As we waded along we drove little trout and minnows ahead of us, sort of like a cattle roundup.

There are trees growing on either side of the brook and the main river so it was lovely and shaded and really peaceful. We came across schools of suckers in two of the big pools downriver but no sign of a trout or salmon. I'd just about had enough by then, it was getting warm and I was hungry, but Pam wanted to go upriver. So up we went. Every pool was empty but as we rounded the corner and came to the second last pool on the river a huge brown trout came out from under the bank and sat at the end of the pool. My guess is he was over eighteen inches and Pam thought he was more like two foot. We stood there and watched him for about thirty seconds and then I thought I'd take a try at hooking him. The second I lifted my rod he shot back in the hole and wouldn't come out for love nor money. We went up to the last pool and then tried him again on the way back but he wasn't moving. He made my day though, it's not too often I see a brown trout that big. We got back to the car, dried off, had our lunch, and took our time, stopping at a couple of country stores on the way back.

Pam's planning our next trip but she knows we're gonna have to wait for some rain.

p.s. Three days later. She's gone and ordered herself some Orvis waders and a pair of wading boots that will fit her.

From my logbook...
October 26. 2006. 7 - 2. Water temp 6.
There is more to fishing than just catching fish (Piscator non solum piscatur).
Guest editorial from "FishGirl" Pam.
Fishing. Well, it started with a star-studded sky in the wee hours of the morning. We're getting up earlier all the time. Soon we'll start driving at bedtime. We ran into a snow squall at Nuttby Mountain and could not stop laughing. It was gorgeous.
The river was high and we walked many kilometres. I'm finally getting used to what a "bite" feels like - staccato jerking of the line at which time I yell, "Pat!" and then fail to catch the fish. I had two bites today. It poured with rain at one point and I was happier than you might ever imagine.
Wading is an acquired skill and each time we go fishing (three of the past three days) feels more and more secure to me. Remind me of this when I step into a nine-foot hole someday.
We saw a lot of bear poop. This bear had maybe five or six little poops and the last one was beige instead of black to so I figured he ate something that disagreed with him. I tried to find him to give him rx counselling but he was hiding.
Orvis women's waders rock. Great fit and five stars for comfort level. Simms wading boots have been excellent as well but whoa, I have really large feet. All the better for wading.
I have to work tomorrow. My urge is to take every single distressed customer up river and say, "Get in that 6 degree water and walk for three hours. I swear, it cures everything." I'm a believer.

Tales Casting contest I Tangier River I Boyhood memories I Newfie salmon I Muddler's memories I Does a bear? I First ever salmon I The Tickmobile
U-Fish I 4 a.m. I Lyin seasun I Anecdotes I Fishgirl salmon I A natural fly I Main Event I Honeymoon I Vernon I Leslie I Coyote? I Newfie trout I Fantasy

Pat Donoghue, Canada, ©1997