My experience of fly fishing was limited to the chalk streams of Hampshire and Wiltshire in England ..the River Test ,the Itchen the Nadder and others where supposedly the water is “gin clear” and the fish are stalked and presented with a dry fly .. upstream only..
In truth , over the last few years I cannot say that the chalk streams have been particularly clear or that I have limited myself to the use of only dry flies as more often than not the fish would not rise and so an emerger or nymph would be the order of the day in order to entice the fish …
Chalk stream fishing is most pleasurable, it is relaxing and the water flows very gently and more often than not you are fishing in wonderful meadow land surrounded by the odd grazing cow or sheep…
Now I come to my introduction to fly fishing in the Italian Alps with my good friend and great fisherman Ferdinando dal Pozzo …
Techniques on the mountain streams are very different to those of the gentle English Chalk Streams..
The water is fast running and footwork is challenging … you need to have your wits about you as things can turn dangerous quite quickly if you are not careful.
Ferdinando is a patient guide, he shows me how to cast in places where you can expect to find a fish.. hiding behind a boulder … in the parts of the stream where the current is not too strong .. he shows me how to sight a fish in the clear cold mountain water.. the technique could not be more different than that used along a chalk stream..Ferdinando teaches me to cast downstream and to make the fly dance and bounce gently on the white water as you draw in the line … he chooses the flies carefully in accordance with what is hatching ..everything is perfect.
I am so grateful to my good friend Ferdinando for introducing me to the delights of alpine stream fishing. Not only is the fishing excellent fun but the trout are beautiful and bright in colour .. the picture of good health and strong fighting fish.
The fish are returned to the water to fight another day.
In truth fishing is not only about catching fish .. it is about the joy of friendship and sharing a special moment with people whose company you enjoy … it is about sharing things that you have in common ..the love of the fresh air – the beautiful mountains – the incredible fast running streams, the glorious food and wine found in those little Trattorie, which , if you do not have an intimate knowledge of where you are, you just wouldn’t find.
I have met many wonderful local people during my days fishing with Ferdinando, and that makes the moments so much more pleasurable because if you meet and talk to local people it feeds into the whole experience and enjoyment of the locality in which you find yourself and Ferdinando has a great way with people, they warm to his kindness and to his enthusiasm and they really enjoy meeting the people he introduces to their fishing locality..
I must say, I have many wonderful memories of my days on the water with Ferdinando and I look forwards to many more in the coming years.