Monday, October 16, 2017

Sarca River Italy. Brown Trout Hunting

Recently my-self and a group of fishing buddies headed over to Italy to fish the fabulous Sarca River. The Sarca is a river rising in the Adamello-Presanella mountains, in the Italian Alps and flowing into Lake Garda in Northern Italy. We went there for five days to fish this region and take in the Italian river competition called the "Pialla Cup". The river itself has similarities to that of the rivers I grew up on in the Wicklow Mountains, the water flowed over Granite bed rock and as it made its way through the rocks and boulders it created beautiful pocket water ideal for brown trout and pocket nymphing. 
This river will host three sessions of next years Fips Mouche World
Fly Fishing Championships in September and as the Irish Captain I was eager to see as much of it as possible. We practiced for two days on the river before the competition and we weren't disappointed. While the fishing was not easy; it was very rewarding to the angler that took notice of the runs and pockets where the fish might sit, getting the right angles to attack the fish lies. 
The scenery here was exceptional and the hotel we stayed in was right on the banks of the river. Hotel Belsit was a lovely friendly hotel at very affordable prices. It was around a two and a half hours drive from Milan airport were we flew into. Our good friend Alessandro Freschi had all our arrangements made for our trip and competition. He also kindly tied us a stock of his lovely Sarca Nymph. 
The competition was ran on a team approach where two anglers fished the same beat for one and a half hours while being stewarded by another team. Following that session the anglers who fished would watch over the other team on a different beat. This allowed us the opportunity to witness some of the great Italian anglers in competition mode and see how they would approach this style of river. The scorning couldn't have be simpler, once you hook the fish and net it then it is counted on your card, all sizes count. A good measure taken by the organizers in keeping the competition open till the final session was, which ever team topped their group in their first session would get the worst beat in their next sector depending on the results that came in from that sector. The
competition as a whole was very well organised and very sporting. A total of 56 teams entered the competition and they were very friendly and welcoming to us Irish lads. 

With the possibility of some rising fish the dry fly rod was always on hand but for the most of the trip Nymphing was the most successful method to hook up with fish. My-self and my good friend David O'Donovan teamed up again and we were first on the water in session one on beat 1. The mornings were cold enough till the sun managed to find gaps in the mountain tops to peak through and warm up the water so fishing the early sessions was a bit slower. However we crawled our way through the rocks and took a good second place for the morning with 15 fish.
After lunch we moved down river to the second hardest beat in the next sector. We again found nymphing up behind the rocks and in the noticeable pockets of water the most productive places to catch fish. Following day one, two of the four Irish teams were very well positioned with Damien Walsh and John Willis lying in 5th place, me and Dave sitting in 7th place over all on 4.5 place points. 
All to play for on the second day; a tough draw for the morning saw us slip down to 10th over all with only four fish in our beat. For the final session we managed to get back up to second place in our group again which secured us 7th place over all. With some of the other Irish teams featuring in the top 20 and winning sessions along the way, not a bad result out of 56 teams with some of Europe's top river anglers in the field. 
Looking at the other teams during the competition we were set up very similarly, fishing light rods and fine leaders. The nymph selections ranged from small back nymphs with sliver beads to fine thread bodies and large beads, gold and copper; all adopting a very simple style to their dressing. For me my top nymph was a red butt pheasant tail nymph on a size 16 Dohiku jig with 3mm gold bead, it also had a black CDC hackle on it, this along with the Sarca Nymph did the business. What I did take from being a steward was how the Italians were switching from up stream nymphing to down stream nymphing in the same cast.  Not that this is a new concept but the way they executed the movement of the rod was interesting and was producing fish for them in the final sessions when fishing gets that bit tougher. This is something I look forward to trying out over here next season. 
The well deserved winners with a stunning bag of fish of 138 was Edgardo Donà and his partner Alberto Vignati winning 2 of their 4 sessions.
This was a great trip and certainly a right taster of what is to come for the World Championships next September. This part of Italy is easily accessible for anglers from here and if you would like any information on going to fish this fabulous river please feel free to give me a shout for more details. As always a Pleasure to travel with my fishing pals who make every trip full of adventures and mishaps. 
Thanks for reading and hope you enjoy the blog, my website link is to the right if you are looking for Dohiku Hooks, Tungsten beads ect. Also make sure to give me a shout at the coming Fly Fair in Galway this November to check out the amazing Syndicate rod range and much more.