Scroll back to August 2013, for only my second fishing adventure from our Cote d’Azure home!
My first, was with Guillaume (Durand) on the Gordalasque near Belvedere, and his help, encouraged me to fish with him again. So my second would be in the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence which is where he happened to live…in the beautiful town of Castellane.
The journey from Theoule, on a part of the historic Route Napoleon in our convertible Mercedes, top down of course, was memorable, and was as great a contributor to my enjoyment of the day as our fishing was. The pretty villages en route, the winding roads; high in the mountains, the distant Mediterranean behind and so far away as to be a hazy blur; the sheer drops (a hatred for one averse to heights) to one side at one point, and then the other; the colours; the clear blue bright sky…the southern French Alps in summer are just splendid. I felt a planet away from London.
The Verdon flows through Castellane.
Perhaps a swarm of teens in the town carrying swimming gear was a little off putting, and his description of ‘kayakers’ (note to DSF) and ‘canyon-ers’….a new one on me, but these foolhardy souls, apparently climb the steep cliffs, then dive into the swirls below. Hhmm!!
But Guillaume knows his river, and promised me uninterrupted fishing.
The Verdon is over 100 miles long. It rises 9250ft above sea level in the south western Alps and joins the Durance at Vinon sur Verdon. But it is known for the spectacular ‘Gorge du Verdon” a limestone canyon some 12 miles long and nearly 1000 feet deep, its name coming from the green appearance of the waters in the canyon.
Our afternoon started at 3pm, for it was boiling hot (29c), and the water felt ‘warm’. My first view of our beat had the impressive ‘Giant’s Seat’ named after, well, who knows, as a back drop.
I opened with a orange plumed parachute Adams and a trailing nymph, and disaster! I had a take with my first cast, but luckily I missed it.
It was so hot and with only one fish to my name after a couple of hours, some refreshment was needed.
Back in the town, Guillaume showed me his open fronted fishing emporium/open air fly tying set up/ and, clearly a likely fellow, I was rather impressed by his popularity with the femaledom of Castellane, and lost count of the ‘kissy-kissy’ greetings he enjoyed. But I was happy with my Heineken.
Back on the water at 645pm, there was some early action on small upwings, but it was Guillaume, who spotted before his client, that fish were rising under overhanging branches in the margins, and we switched flies to ant imitations…and guess what!
It was dark at 830pm when we left this great fishery, and we were never pestered by kayakers, nor canyoners!
(Guillaume now ply’s his trade in New Zealand….spreading French love and enjoying many Kiwi kissy-kissys, no doubt)