Tuesday, March 3, 2015

La Pêche à la Mouche

And now for something completely different! This time it was my turn to be the good sport and to find myself vastly outnumbered, gender-wise. Matthew spotted this poster somewhere, and off we went on our trusty Metro Line #3 all the way out to the Porte de Champerret to investigate.

On a tiny scale compared with the yarn/fabric show the previous week, but with not one less jot of enthusiasm from the happy attendees, we found ourselves in another "specialized" world.  (This woman was one of maybe four I saw in the entire show!)

From the moment we walked in, it was clear we were entering the serious universe of fly fishing, beginning with all the necessary gear:

...your "vest" with all the requisite pockets, tabs, holders, waterproof sachets, your "waders" going way up to your armpits and held up with suspenders, the clips around the waist for attaching other gear, and not forgetting the boots.

One of the items to clip onto your belt is your handy net, to safely bring that prize fish close to shore.

But long before you head for the river, there's a whole lot of other vital equipment to buy... or build yourself. This stall had all kinds of raw materials for tying flies...

...brilliant colored pheasant feathers...

...other feathers and fur...

... and a lovely selection of bright-colored silk bobbins, looking so like those silk threads at the yarn show. These have a different function, however...

  ...under the skilled hands of a fly-tying master, all these raw materials are woven and wound around the hook...

...spinning in some sparkly barbules from a feather to add some glitter...

 ...until you end up with this beauty, ready to entice the canniest of fish to "bite"!

 If you were not into tying your own flies, there was no shortage of ready-tied wonders to choose from...

...in packets, or loose..

...extra large or extra small...

...an endless array of colors and shapes to "match" whatever little or large bugs might be hatching on the water at any time.

These gentlemen were definitely taking their time to be sure and pick just the right one for their particular stretch of water!

As if the selection of flies was not wide enough, then there were the rods...as far as the eye could see!

Matthew, looking as though he is ready to head for the river, checked out several, but kept his hands in his pockets.

This fellow seemed a little more serious. (He fit the average age group at the show, by the way!)

In the middle of the space, you could show your grand kids how to cast and feed out your line.

Some of the rod bases were carved and shaped into true works of art!

And for the backpackers, some exquisite portable rods that break down into pieces no more than 18" long, can be rolled up in a linen cloth, and stored in an elegant leather tube.

As well as many many modern, state of the art reels for all size rivers, lakes and oceans...

 we also found dozens from bygone years...

...side by side with old wicker creels and this great battered tin fly holder, just the sort of thing that came to our house from Matthew's Canadian Uncle Ben, what he would call a "pip of a rig".

Uncle Ben would have found good company at these tables near the bar, fishing buddies exchanging adventures and tales of the "one that got away".

As with every fair I've ever been to in Paris, there is always some food, although I can't say I ever thought that strawberry nougat would be something "un pecheur" would take along with him, but here it was, in giant wheels and slabs.

The cheese farmer from the Antan region seemed right at home, though...

...as did this chap at a stand promoting Havana Club Rum and Cuban fishing, where he was happily mixing Mojitos!

He offered us one, they looked pretty darn good, but it was barely 11 am, a bit early even for us lovers of Havana Club!

We left, reminiscing about the many fly fishing adventures we have had, from Scotland all the way to New Zealand and other places in between. Finding the right spot on the river, the right time of day, checking what "hatches" were going on, trying to match them with our flies, all those fish that got away, and those few that we managed snag with just the right fly, and just the right swift jerk of the rod when we felt the fish "hit". It is a magical world, the world of "la pêche à la mouche".

As we walked back to take a long bus ride home, we spotted our first crocuses peeping through, and only last week, I heard a blackbird warbling away in our neighborhood. Maybe spring is just around the corner!

À bientôt!


  1. lovely post Janet! I hope Spring in Paris is glorious this year!

  2. My Dad used to love fly fishing, thanks for the good memories! Susan

  3. All our fields of passion have their quirky paraphernalia don't they?! The old reels and wicker baskets are lovely.