Gaspé Adventure

by T&T on August 17, 2014

By Wyatt Thayler

I awake in the middle of a big, soft bed in a room that I don’t recognize – an omen of good adventure that I’ve known since childhood.  The walls are planks of wood that smell of the forest even though they were milled over a hundred years ago.  The early morning light slants into the room through a canopy of trees high above the window.  It occurs to me that I am in a cabin, a lodge actually, in a forest far away from home.  I am at Camp Brûlé, on the banks of the Little Cascapedia, on the Gaspé Peninsula… and I am here to fish for Atlantic salmon!

That I am here at all is stroke of fisherman’s luck, a small amount of cunning and great deal of generosity on the part of Thomas & Thomas Fly Rods and the staff at Camp Brûlé. Two years ago Thomas & Thomas fly rods introduced a new line of spey rods and held a contest to help them pick a name for the new line-up. I won that contest.  Another guy won too.  Both of us submitted DNA as a name for the new rods.  So now here I am a trout fisherman and itinerant steelheader from the west coast, angling for perhaps the greatest game fish the Atlantic Ocean has to offer.

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In the dining room the guests gather for breakfast and to trade notes on the beats they’ll fish this day.  I pour myself a cup of coffee and say my good mornings.  Fresh fruit and pastries have already been put out and I am helping myself to some of these when I meet the kitchen staff. Hostess Sue is a wonder and keeps the kitchen running smoothly, always smiling and laughing. She asks me how I would like my eggs and if I want bacon or sausage or bacon AND sausage. Dee was the evening hostess that week and she’s great too. Lisa, the cook, put out some gourmet meals that had me worried for my waist line. Believe it or not the the adventure gets even better from here.

Three days, three guides and three different rivers.  That’s Joe the Guide, Spey Steve, Capitaine Kevin, and the main Grand Cascapedia, Lake Branch of the Grand Cascapedia and the Little Cascapedia.  Each guide was as different as the rivers we fished yet the waters and the men were familiar in a comfortable sense, like the friends and the streams in my own neck of the woods.  Sadly I didn’t get a shot on the Bonaventure with Big Bert, but everyone that fished with him through the rotation enjoyed themselves.

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I touched fish every day.  My first ever Atlantic salmon, a five pound grilse, came to a hitched muddler on the Lake Branch.  Here the water showed the faintest touch of tannins as it flowed through cobbled pools and boulder studded riffles, a mountain stream by any measure.  Stephen watched my spey cast, told me what was wrong with it and how to fix it.  It took until the end of the trip for his advice to sink in but I think I got it now.

The next day I found myself on the lower Grand Cascapedia.  Joe parked the truck on a gravel bar not far above the upper reach of the tide.  The effects of seasonal flood are evident as last year’s and next year’s channels lay dry and exposed for now, much like the coastal rivers on the Olympic Peninsula back home.  My hitched muddler brought up another grilse here but it came unbuttoned just before I could land it.  “Because you played it like a steelhead,” according to Joe.

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My favorite stream, and as far as I can tell the best river in the area, was the Little Cascapedia.  Its short choppy rapids, glassy pools, rock ledges and air-clear water reminded me of the Sol Duc, a bedrock-confined river back home.  Camp Brule sits on the banks of the Little Cascapedia just a short float down from Jack Louis, the best pool on the river, which as far as I’m concerned makes it the best pool in the area.  It was late one evening, the full moon just rising above the tree tops that I hooked and landed a 15lb salmon.  She took my fly just under the surface, the water exploded at the exact same time I felt the rod nearly pull from my hand.  If  Capitaine or the other sport had been watching they would have seen that the take actually scared the hell out of me.  It was awesome!

I will always remember fishing at Camp Brûlé as an adventure that was a success before it even began.  I learned a few things up there;  slow down on that spey cast, every run should have a hitched muddler swung through it, and always fish as if you are lucky just to be there.

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A New Chapter

by T&T on July 19, 2014

Tom Dorsey gives his thoughts on bamboo tapers to T&T owner Neville Orsmond.

Tom Dorsey shares his thoughts on bamboo tapers with Thomas & Thomas owner Neville Orsmond.

 

Greenfield, MA – July 16, 2014.

CNS Outdoor Technologies LLC, a Massachusetts based company owned by Albert-Neville Orsmond of Stamford, CT today announced the acquisition of fly rod makers Thomas & Thomas, previously owned by Mark Richens of Islamorada, FL.

CNS has purchased both the Thomas & Thomas brand and the extensive rod making facility at Barton Road, Greenfield, Massachusetts and will continue the long-standing T&T tradition of manufacturing premium bamboo, glass and graphite fly rods in the USA. Neville Orsmond will replace Mark Richens as President and CEO of the business.

Commenting on the sale Mark Richens said, “It has been an immense privilege to work with Tom Dorsey, Troy Jacques and the talented team of craftsmen and women at Thomas & Thomas. Their hard work combined with the strong support of T&T distributors, dealers, pro staff, suppliers and customers has returned T&T to a stable and proud position in the fly fishing world. It has been an enjoyable and exciting process but due to family commitments in the UK, I have not been able to spend as much time in Greenfield as originally intended. T&T is well positioned in the market but I feel on-site leadership is essential for the brand to really fulfill its potential. As a serious fly fishing enthusiast, a devotee of T&T products and an experienced businessman, Neville Orsmond will provide this in abundance and I wish him and all associated with Thomas & Thomas a happy and prosperous future.”

Neville Orsmond added, “I am honored to take ownership of this storied rod shop and excited about the possibilities for the future. I would like to thank Mark for allowing me considerable access to the business over the last three months. This has enabled us to work with the rest of the team at T&T to ensure this transition will be seamless for our customers and dealers. The opportunity to work within the fly fishing industry and with the devoted staff at Thomas & Thomas is a dream come true, and I’ll be giving it my all to ensure T&T stays at the top in terms of fly rod performance and craftsmanship.”

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Bass on Bamboo

June 2, 2014

Last Friday Troy Jacques took a break from the bamboo shop at Thomas & Thomas to do some field testing. He’s been working on a new saltwater rod, and took the prototype to Martha’s Vineyard to chase stripers with T&T pro-staff guide Jaime Boyle. Jaime broke out his flats skiff – a vintage Hewes Bonefisher [...]

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