November 20th, 2000
The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .
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.
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.
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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