Fishing in the Wilderness

Meeting our ancestors

Blera (VT) - Panorama
Blera (VT) – Panorama

Fishing in the wilderness is, for many, not the best choice on the opening day of the trout season.

This a sort of ritual in Italy that I haven’t been in for many years.  I am disgusted by the vision of the hordes of Huns, who often fight for a fishing spot (pretending to be the owner).

This year, once again, I skipped the date and chose to start from one of the many small rivers. Too small for the beloved open spaces where casting is not a big problem.

Not a river of trout, of course: this guarantees the absence of the last Huns looking for trout surviving the robbery.

As usual, catching big fish is not my ultimate goal and I often choose to have my camera ready instead of the fly box.


Down through the mistery

Entering the “gorge” (a deep and narrow valley engraved by the action of the river flowing on a tufa bed) is not that easy. Those who love double hauls and very long casts are warned…

At the end of winter nature is still silent even if you feel that spring is around the corner. Fish (only cyprinids) are still under cover and the surface activity is almost zero. The trip is but an excuse to exercise the legs and the still sleeping muscles after long missed walks. So why go?

Etruscan text - Blera (VT)
Etruscan text – Blera (VT)


I read your thoughts and, quietly not to disturb your considerations, I smile… You don’t know what you are missing …

Here, among these deep “ravines”, you are so much immersed into the nature that you cannot help looking around and discovering a dimension that you would never have imagined.

All flyanglers (no, not all, only a part) have a cultural and historical background that makes us dream of a past time that we consider a golden age of fly fishing. An era transmitted to us by the great men of gone days.


…into the history of flyfshing

We all dream of following the paths of fly fishing by placing our feet on the same steps as Halford, Skues, Ritz, Francis Francis. Plus  many others along the banks of those rivers where our passion has deep roots.

The same happened to me, when I had the pleasure to fish along the banks of the Test and some other chalk-streams of  Wales. There I felt the same emotion, never dormant.

I found myself putting my feet where the great names of flyangling had walked a few centuries ago. A sort of journey back to the origins.

But I’m Italian. Proud to be Italian, proud of my history and my predecessors. 

Devil's bridge along "Via Clodia" - Blera (VT)
Devil’s bridge along “Via Clodia” – Blera (VT)

Of this I was thinking when I decided to go fishing in the wilderness. 

When I crossed the Ponte del Diavolo (Devil’s Bridge), along Via Clodia (Clodia Road):  along Via Clodia,  gotta it??!!  

The same road used by the Romans two centuries before Christ!


Did Romans fish here?

Who knows, I wondered, if any of those Romans had ever tried to catch some fish with a fly? Aelian was supposed to be born a few centuries later… But I can’t help imagining that before him a local farmer could have considered the idea of ​​putting a feather on a hook and…

A few meters from the water, I noticed a series of holes on the rock  which, carefully examined, turned out to be ancient Etruscan houses and tombs.

Here the remains of a mill, a little farther an ancient tower or a cave at the bottom of the shore … 

What an emotion! You feel like you are fishing surrounded by your ancestors. The whisper of the wind brings the voice of those who inhabited these places to your ears.

All this is fishing in the wilderness…



Some fish – very small, I admit it – have reacted to my offers in impossible points (there is very little space for casting).

I missed all of them, being confused between my thoughts so far from reality. For a short time I felt completely free, part of the territory, part of the river and the environment.

Over there, the darkness comes early, especially at this time of year and the return to the car cannot be delayed too much.

Fishing in the wilderness is wonderful but asks for caution and respect of nature’s cycles.

I went back along Via Clodia to the town imagining myself with a sword, the typical short Roman sword, instead of the wading staff and a centurion helmet instead of the fishing hat…

Here the sun is still high in the sky and I can use the remaining time for a sightseeing tour.

The village is small but offers very interesting points of interest to those who can read and appreciate them.

I pass through narrow streets delimited by tufa and observing and taking photos, my mind returns to the first consideration. Today I made a real dive into the depth of history.

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