Article by Andrea Crobu
Verona is a wonderful city in northern Italy located at the foot of the majestic Italian Alps. It was there, a long time ago as a happy teenager who watched all 109 episodes of Tsurikichi Sampei on television, that my passion for fishing took hold.
The city was founded in the early Iron Age by a Celtic tribe in what they called a “vern”, or as the Italian to English translator suggests, a bend in the river. It was an easily defendable position that helped a lot in the growth of the city. When the Celts decided to join the Romans around 89 BC, the city grew even more and it soon became evident the need for a clean and dependable water source, capable of sustaining the demand of a growing population. The Romans were an organized people, so they found a clean and abundant spring, big enough and not so distant from the city center. Today, the Roman aqueduct is still carrying water to the city.
The Fibbio spring begins here, in the middle of what now is the village of Montorio Veronese. It pours out of the soil in a calm fashion at the bottom of the hills that eventually grow into the Italian Alps. It flows smoothly across the plain, between vineyards and corn fields. Most people would not consider it the ideal tenkara river, but as a happy teenager then, and at thirty-nine years old now, I was not and am not most people.
Thanks to its historical heritage, Montorio is like Venice, but smaller and with freshwater instead of saltwater. There are channels instead of streets and you must wear waders to walk around the village center. As in Italy there are way too many people and you have to go where others don’t, if you want to find something good.
The most incredible feature of this urban situation is that the current is stronger between the houses than it is in the lower fields, so you can find incredible fishing spots in the most unexpected places.
I went fishing there on the last day of the season with my new River Peak Kiwami Tenkara 3.3m, and the fish I found made me enjoy it to the fullest. The rod is sweet, and it has this very enjoyable parabolic action that starts from the handle – it is not a soft rod and I’ve had a good sensation of being in control, even when fighting bigger fish.
The weather was cloudy, and a little bit of rain kept me company all day long. However, casting a floating brown fly upstream made my day. Trout were rising continuously, giving me more and more chances as they were in full competition for my fly. Passing under bridges and sometimes entire houses is always an emotional journey. It takes me back to my youth, when I used to do it without waders (too expensive), and it is always rewarding. It’s nice to fish under the same windows where I was fishing in the nineties, smiling at the people who still look at me with a surprised expression on their faces. Fish after fish, my day ended at lunchtime, when I’d reached the spring and no more upstream fishing was possible.
Fighting a fish here is easy, as there are no tree branches to snag your line, but you must keep an eye on balconies and low-hanging drying tablecloths. When I was young, I used to give away trout as gifts by passing them to the people who were watching me fishing through their windows. This allowed me to fish more because you couldn’t have kept more than five per day. It was a simpler time.
If you happen to visit Verona, give me a call and I’ll take you to some places you’ll hardly see by yourself, with or without a tenkara rod in your hands.
The rod is the river peak Kiwami 3.3, as you’ve seen, with a #3 Nissin pink level line. I begin fishing with a brown sedge on a #10 hook, because I like to see them jumping a bit, and decide not to change it until it stops catching fish. But that typically doesn’t happen, so at the end of the day I end up fishing mostly with a shapeless brown blob. To be honest, I really love the Kiwami and fish it everywhere I can as long as I think that there are no fish above 1kg (2 pounds).
I normally use a Daiwa Expert Tenkara LTH36 (7:3) in the River Adige, because of the larger marble trout. When there is an occasion to be ultralight, I use the wonderful Suntech Kurenai GMH33R.
Andrea Crobu is a photographer & video maker for big and small fishing brands, great tenkara enthusiast, and also very tall person. Follow his fishing and photography at crobupics.com or @crobupics on Instagram.
This article originally appeared in the Winter 2021-22 issue of Tenkara Angler magazine.
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