Dottie and I flew to Madrid, Spain this month to visit Catherine, our oldest granddaughter, who is finishing a college semester abroad at a university there before she returns to finish her freshman year at Claremont Mckenna College.
To make it even more interesting, her other grandparents, Larry and Natalie Nonn of Pleasonton, will also be going. We’re sure Catherine has far more interesting things to keep four grandparents entertained, but she graciously accepts our presence nonetheless.
Wherever I go in the world, I always try to research where I could do some fly fishing if for some reason I find the time. According to Pescatravel, a fishing tour company in Spain, there are opportunities to fly trout on a day trip from Madrid on several rivers, including the Tormes, a freestone river known to have a healthy population of large brown trout.
But knowing I wouldn’t have time for such a long trip, I tried to find something I could do out the back door of our VRBO apartment, which led me back to the World Street Fishing website. Yes, there is such a thing as “street fishing”. It has become a thing in many European cities, especially in France, England, Germany, Luxembourg, Holland and Belgium. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any WSF information for Madrid.
But after we leave Madrid, we go to Paris, and I know there are a lot of itinerant fishermen.
Street fishing is defined as fishing (in any available water) in the middle of a city with traffic around. You won’t see people in Orvis suits, fishing vests and waders. Instead, they’ll dress casually in jeans and T-shirts and walk, bike or take the Paris Metro to their favorite spots along the Seine or any of the many canals that connect to it. They will be easy to spot among other Parisians because they will be carrying spinning rod and reel combos and small bait purses.
According to some sources, there are thousands. The sport has become so popular that a series of street fishing tournaments were launched in 2014 with paid sponsors, media coverage and valuable prizes. These tournaments continue today.
There is a long list of rules. Most importantly, the fish must be caught in the designated urban areas for the specific competition. Second, there is a strict no-kill (catch-and-release) policy. No wading or fishing is allowed from a boat, only from shore.
French Touch Fishing, a business based in Paris is the pioneer of street fishing. Born in Paris in the 2000s, the sport has spread widely across Europe.
Every year, they organize a fishing tournament, the FTF Open in Paris. Unfortunately, it was held last month and I missed it. But it looks like an exciting event.
Several hundred contestants fish at designated docks on the Seine between two bridges, the Pont de Bercy and the Pont Mirabeau. It ends with an awards ceremony under the Eiffel Tower followed by a celebratory evening on a barge. Maybe next year.
There is even more serious competition under the auspices of Angling Spirit (angling spirit.com), a company that owns, organizes and hosts international events, such as the World Street Fishing Championship, which is being held this year in the Netherlands.
There was a time when I thought I had to travel to a distant mountain stream to practice my favorite sport. Street fishing opens up all kinds of new locations.