When you’re sweating under your shirt and imagining the pleasant breeze out there…
When you’re dreaming and thinking of the pleasant landscape of our rivers…
When you’re busy trying to follow the intrigued paths of the web…
and an email pops up grabbing your curiosity…
“Hi, I would like to go fishing… are you available…?”
Suddenly the breeze becomes reality. The paths of the web vanish in the midst of memory and the shirt immediately gets dry and you are on the move.
“Yes, I am. Where and when shall we meet…” and the discussion develops through a quantity of questions, information and details.
We meet two days later. The first choice being one the most famous trout rivers of the area but then switched to another river, due to lack of time and distance.
River Ente is not a second-hand destination. Its water – in spite of the lack of rain and very very low levels – is gin clear and reveals a lot of small to medium sized finned creatures.
Jack – this is the name of the angler who decided to spend a fishing day in this area, apologizes for not being fully equipped but I explain him that service is to be considered taylor-made, and tackle and flies are always available upon arrival.
The sun is red red hot. The thermometer is fixed to 43°C. Inside our waders we’re going to slim down very quickly.
Fish are not active – it’s normal under these conditions – and catches are null. Jack’s casting skill – in spite of his short experience with a fly, is surprisingly pleasant. No doubt, he has a good sense of the water and this makes things very very useful and simple.
He’s pleased to see that this river looks like the ones he’s used to fish.
“There is a difference” I say. “In our rivers there are no crocodiles and we have no kangaroos jumping all around while we’re fishing”
Yes, Jack is Australian and decided to spend his honeymoon in Italy, making Jessica – his bride – probably a little furious when he decided to take a day off (well, I understand him… honeymoons are a rather laborious and tiring job… 🙂 ). But they’re both young and his wife will surely understand that you can’t keep an angler’s heart too long far from water…
Only small fish rise to the fly. No catches. The sun is getting stronger and stronger… we are both very tired and hot. We decide for a stop and go back to the village dreaming of tons of water…
Unfortunately the “bar” of the small village – only 5 minutes from the river – is closed and shops open at 5p.m. We have to move to a bigger village, some 10km away.
After lunch, we’re ready for a new session. I’m trying to disentangle the flyline from the reel while I hear Jack screaming. Has he perhaps fallen into the water?
He’s behind a rock and I can’t distinguish the scene: he’s bent, the rod tip forming a very narrow arch and trembling under the pulls of something attached to the end of the line.
Jack’s still screaming… a crocodile, perhaps? No, we‘re not in Australia… It must be a fish, that’s for sure.
And a fish it is… not a small one but a good sized trout…. some 45+ cm who accepted his fancy fly cast right below a small waterfall… The fight is not long but strong, punctuated by Jack exclamations A photo, a kiss and is immediately released.
Let’s move a little downstream… there are others waiting for us!!!
And many are waiting: tenths of small trout attacking the fly in the riffles, in the pools, under the branches and the trees… but none of them bites the fly with confidence.
It’s time to go back. Jack has to return to Florence and it’s a rather long trip. On the other hand, he can’t leave the wife “unattended” during the honeymoon ( 😉 ) and has to find some “excuse” to make her forgive him.
We shake hands. He’s happy with the results: one huge trout and 23 missed. I lower my voice and whisper… “What if we say on the media that you got 23 and missed only one? It looks much better… “.
I’m sure he’s already dreaming of the other 22 waiting for him. He’ll be back to Italy soon, I know it. I feel it.
And the next time he’ll be with his fishing companion. He’s not going to wait for his second wedding to pay us a visit…
(My apologizes to Jessica. You surely know that we flyanglers are often out of mind. I promise you that the next time Jack decides to come over again I’ll organize a big party in your honor. On the river bank, of course… )
River Ente is in the souther part of Tuscany, not far from the border with Latium and within easy reach from Viterbo. It contains good sized trout, stocked by a local fishing association when they’re still alevins (9-12cm).
Casting is not difficult due to the absence of big obstacles along the banks but requires precision and delicacy. The water speed is not excessive and waders are recommended even if not compulsory (during low water summer levels). Suggested patterns range from big attractors to tiny midges. In summer, best periods are early morning and very late in the evening.