November 20th, 2000

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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Paris Thoughts

By Old Rupe

This year my wife won and we went to Paris for the summer. No trout flies and rods, just guide books and museums and outdoor cafes. I almost became cultured. I had a Bloody Mary where it was invented for Hemingway, and managed to eat in several of his favorite restaurants. I sat in the park and watched the pigeons that he caught and cooked for dinner, so much for culture. I always thought that pigeons were nasty birds anyway. I spent a month there so I saw most of the sights. No one ever sees all of Paris but I can honestly say I saw all I wanted to see.

River Seine

I could tell I was in withdrawal as I would find myself walking to the Seine river in the morning at 4:30 a.m. or so to watch the fishermen fish for a little six inch fish that no one seemed to catch enough of to eat. It got so that the resident winos that slept by the river got to know me. I was referred to as the "wandering American" and other nasty titles as I walked the banks at that early hour. One wino would offer me a drink of his harsh brandy as I would cross the Notre Dame bridge each morning. He introduced me to the serious fishermen on that section of the river. He was a likeable fellow and an introduction from him would guarantee acceptance. I could ask my dumb questions and I would get thoughtful answers. I never really understood whether I was taken for a serious fisherman or not.

The top rod on the river used a mixture of cheese and champagne to place 4-1 above his competitors. It appears that fish and fishermen like their drinks.

Grindlewald, Switzerland I noticed that every time I crossed a bridge I would look at the water to evaluate its fishing potential, a sure sign of fishing addiction. I remember staring at a tidal stream for three hours from a cafe in the castle on Mt. St. Michael looking for fish. I finally gave up. Maybe the tide was wrong. The streams near Grindlewald, Switzerland carried so much sediment that fishing was a waste of time. They were only a mile or so below the glacier. Bern, Switzerland had a beautiful river that ran through the center of the town that no one fished. I never did understand why this was so. I spent one afternoon in Cologne, Germany on the Rhine River, with some bait fishermen catching bait fish with maggots which they used after dark to catch monster catfish. They were from Romania I believe.

The fly fishing that I investigated cost two hundred dollars a day. There is nothing like two hundred dollars a day to cause one to appreciate the free water near his home. Even if I could afford the price it would still ruin my day. My fist car didn't cost much more than that.

I observed hundreds of rivers and streams and lakes from the window of my train as I crossed France, Switzerland and Germany. I saw four fishermen on a pond in France and several boat fishermen on a lake in Switzerland. What happened to the fishermen? Do they shoot them like we do rabbits? It's obvious that the Euro isn't the only problem in Europe.

I talked to several hundred people in the cafes in the three countries I visited and never once did I chance across a person that had ever caught a fish.

In retrospect I must have frequented a lower class of establishment, and the train must have avoided the good fishing areas so as not to disturb those that fished.

Sometimes even my wife was unable to console me. ~ Old Rupe


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