Category Archives: Fishing with SOTTO


A new year ahead of us…everyone talks about and posts messages about hope and happiness and good wishes. I believe that we, fishermen know a LOT about HOPE. We always hope to catch a bigger fish or more fish…sometimes only one fish 🙂 We always hope that the next spot will be better or the other shore will give you us our PB (personal best catch) 🙂

From a fisherman’s perspective I can tell you that HOPE is not always the only answer. Yes we need hope but along with that goes knowledge, experience, patience.

In my fishing tournaments days I used to have a battle plan for each venue and hard preparations were done ahead of time. Maps were put to work, specific flies were tied, rods, reels, lines were all prepared for that venue. Sure the hopes were high and even some expectations were to be fulfilled….

And even so,  with all of that,  the weather can turn and everything changes in a blink of an eye. And maybe the plan includes that …or maybe not. Either  you have all the equipment there, maybe not that very specific jig you could use in that dirty water…but you have yourself with all your knowledge, experience and patience so you can improvise, you can adapt to that new unpredicted situation…and you have the HOPE with you too.

Or sometimes you put yourself in …not so good situations 🙂 like this one time when I was foolish enough to go up north at the end of April, to hike and camp deep in the woods to fish a long forgotten lake. The weather was extremely warm and the prediction was good but… it did not happen like that. A snow storm came overnight and continued the next day too. Temperatures were deep in the freezing range. I remember my waders were standing up by themselves in the morning … 

Obviously we were not really prepared for that and the return trip was not really easy with all the landscape changed overnight. But the experience took over, the knowledge helped and we made it back safe and sound.

I even got a trophy picture that I framed , not only because of the beauty of the fish specimen but to remind myself that this could’ve cost me more than the gas money and a day off work. And here it is, I am sharing it with you:

My HOPE was to catch a monster fish in that far and forgotten lake and I did and now I have this memory as a reward. 

All I want to say my friends is that… even if this last year was not the best, even if these Holidays were weird and somehow a bit nostalgic,  even if so much negativity is  still around us…keep your HOPES high!

But don’t just hope … use your knowledge… use your calm and patience to fish in the muddy waters of today. 



Mind Battles

We all have our own “demons”to fight. Hard to keep sane in these times of uncertainty and misinformation but it is very important to stay afloat.  For me nature does it. More exactly it is fishing that helps me immerse into nature.

Once you step into the waters of a river at just above freezing temperatures you feel the “Force”. Of course the right equipment helps 🙂



Catching a fish is just bonus at this point. All it matters is that you are there in that very moment, you feel the river flow pushing against your legs, get your feet in a good grip of the bottom and at the same time keep casting.

Nothing wrong with this bonus:


The never ending battle battle between the Jedi and the Dark Force’s Sith happens right here on the frozen banks of this river. For those who don’t know…the fly fishermen using double hand spey fishing rods are nicknamed Jedi Knights.


Hehehe 🙂 you are probably thinking now that I’m nuts, gone in the

“cuckoo land”. Nope! not yet anyway. This is just me getting deep into this controversy between these two styles of fishing. More exactly for this outing I chose to use a spinning setup fishing downstream a 1km river section. Then after a shore lunch continue to fish the same section but moving upstream with a fly fishing setup.

Shore lunch preparations:



While waiting for the water to warm up for my hot chocolate I did some casts in the river:


Rainbow residents were present but no steelhead was to be found that day. The clear low water conditions are never good for catching them in such small rivers.

And here is my shore lunch…in my mind this was a king’s feast:


The fly fishing easily won the day. Maybe it was the mood or the knowledge or the water conditions … or maybe just luck. I’ll let you be the judge of that. 🙂

Beaty colours and fierce attack from these future steelheads.

But this brown was sneaky and had a finesse in his attack of the #10 pheasant tail nymph.

If you got to this point in this article please hear me out on this one:

We live in times where panic and fear are spread easily by people who know or don’t know what they’re saying…mostly the latter…

Don’t underestimate the power of the mind…keep yourself sane and strong by doing stuff that you enjoy. Keep your spirit strong and your will even stronger by immersing yourself in nature…in whatever way you like it. Run in the forest, fish in the rivers, hike in the valleys or even drive through the park with your windows down.

It will give you the strength you need… I guarantee it!

No more “back at”

No more thinking “back at” just forward, this is I woke up this morning.

Living in these Covid times makes us (or most of us) think twice how much we appreciate what we have around, with the most precious  being family and friends. But that is not all. It makes me think about how I spend my time…especially the little free time I have. Usually this “me time” is spent fishing, or researching new fishing spots or buying new fishing “toys”.

I am blessed enough to live in times of peace and have more stuff than I need and I also know that many of you can relate to this  too.

At the same time, I  have started thinking more about the future. I got to a point in my fisherman life when I have gathered so much information and experience that is not even fun anymore unless it is shared.

I share plenty when I am with friends on the water but most of them are like me, at an age when not too many things can change the way you think or analyze things around you.

So then I changed my attention to the new generation, to the future fishermen and fisherwomen. That is in fact what we should all consider.

The earlier in life they get to know about nature,  the better.

It is an easy way of looking at life itself, makes it easy for them to understand things and struggles in general. Like this one time when my daughter saw an insect on the water being eaten by a fish. Easy for me to explain that the bug made a mistake not staying on the ground in the grass where it was easy to live…the bug made a mistake and paid for it. 🙂 Sounds harsh but I believe it is effective to use these examples from nature as life advice.

I’ve held many fishing schools with kids and I was always surprised by how many things they know … in theory. All this new technology helps a lot of course. They see a lot of things on the TV and on their tablets but it is not the same like when actually get  their hands on things.

Another fun story from just a few days ago when I got a phone call from a young fellow whom  I used to teach during one of my fishing schools. That was years back when he was just a boy. I remember clearly how afraid he was  of the hooks, just because of an unfortunate little accident he had previously. I kept his hands firm and steady in casting as he was closing his eyes every time the fly line would pass forward. And I encouraged him all the time, showed him tricks he  could use, I kept his imagination up by showing him pictures from my adventures. I even managed to bring him in a fly competition as a team member, dragged him (and his father) on a few kilometers river stretch for the full sessions of the  Fly Fishing Championship day.

And now after more than 6 years he called me to let me now that he spent this summer as a fishing guide in the Far North. And he plans to do the same  the next summer. And he wanted to thank me and hopes to fish together one more time.

Needless to say how proud and blessed I felt that I made a tiny contribution in this boy’s fight to overcome his fears and follow his dream.

And with these stories that I share with you, all I want to say is that we need to focus on the NEW GENERATION.

Help them become stronger and better than us, teach them how to be resilient especially during these times!  The journey will make us  better and will unite us as a strong team  in Life’s fight.




Back to the Dark Side?

Next subject in this “back to” series is the Dark Side 🙂

Just my way of using the great Start War’s saga analogy towards the fishing. There is no good or bad in fishing it is just fishing…or is it?

Different styles of fishing? Or just different approaches? Or maybe fly fishing is the real fishing and everything else is a joke, or for that matter any other style of fishing.

We could probably open this philosophical subject and talk about it in a few hundreds of pages… and not even get close to the end. But maybe we can put it out a bit more simple. I believe it’s about people!


After so many years I’ve spent fishing, I’ve been lucky enough to experience many fishing styles and meet lots of people passionate about it. But no matter in what fishing group(style) you are going to be, you’ll feel this strong belief within the people that this is the REAL thing, this is the BEST fishing style, this is the ONLY style that is for real. And you might feel that too. I know I was.

What I am talking about here?

Let’s take for example carp fishing. Ask anyone in North America about carp fishing and in 99.9% of the cases you’ll get a grim answer that reflects a stomach-turning feeling. Meanwhile in the UK, Europe and rest of the world carp is the top game fish. In fact they have huge carp tournaments like the bass tournaments in NA.


Fact is that most of the people against carp fishing never even caught one, at least not by intention. Carp is a really strong fish, not super easy to catch.

Then why this attitude?

But there is more… let’s take conventional fishing and fly fishing.


Many of the conventional fishing guys think that the fly fishermen are arrogant, elitist people. On the other side the fly fishermen think that the conventional fishing guys are just some beginners and they don’t know what real fishing is and don’t really understand it .

So what is better??

Left or Right?


What about jigging?


I can already feel the rage… “Oh but euro-nymphing is NOT jigging!” Or “how can you even compare a plastic with a fly?” 🙂

Okay, let’s take a look at the surface lures:


“Oau! You can’t even compare them!”Yes you can  🙂

I think we are the ones creating all these barriers. Somehow the humans like to put names and tags to everything…this is white this is black…this is good this is bad…these are cool these are not.

While in reality there are indeed differences and guidelines that help us to be civilized, help us to be kinder and pursue the greater good… in fishing I believe it is more simple. It is the time we spend TOGETHER. It is the joy of battling the elements. The smile landing a good catch or sitting around a fire sharing a shore lunch.

These simple things are making us happy, everything else are just illusions and mind barriers we are imposing to ourselves.



Hope this helps!



Back to Summer

Let’s continue this “back to” series by actually going back to summer time and enjoy some blue&green colours.

Seems like it is never enough summer, but without winter we could never really appreciate the beauty of those 3 months.

Because it is so short we try to squeeze as may fishing trips as possible in this period. Usually we take a 2 nighter up on French River like last year but this 2020 was special as you all know so that did not happened but I managed to get myself and my family on Nipissing Lake and Erie Lake both trips were a week long and we stayed on islands just to be 100% isolated 🙂 
Fishing was good…
…with excellent parts when I got out on my own in the kayak.
Kayak fishing gives me the same thrill like wading in a river, an absolute experience in close contact with the water and the fish.
After 3 years since I started kayak fishing I can say that I fish by far better from it than any other boat type and yes that includes big open water lakes. 
This boat probably help me transition more into the “Dark Side” as it gave me opportunities to try new things and new water types.
We will talk more about the “dark side” in a later post, I promise, but for now let’s stay focused on the summer part 🙂
Summer time is topwater action with big lures and aggressive tactics. Many of my fish come out on top water but the biggest ones are still eating better under the surface.
River fishing for me in the summer is drifting on the kayak or raft boat fishing with two setups one for the surface one for the deep. The oversized nymphs were the absolute best all-around ers.
Single or double 5mm tungsten beads, no #6 or even #4 jig hooks in four basic colours. Chartreuses worked good with stained water, brown with clear water, white more closer to the river mouth or in the big lakes and black is best in ANY type of water. Black is best in muddy conditions and even in the super clear water, you just have to adjust the size sometimes…bigger profile in the muddy water opposed to smaller/slimmer in the clear water.
Topwater is a different animal, my best flies for this application are:
And wheat I use with great success lately:
They all have their time and place. When used accordingly they do a LOT of damage. In prime time you can easy have a session with 20-30fish to the boat. Let me know if you want a more introspective into this category.
And just to top it up this is something I used on Nipissing Lake just a few months ago:
Needles to say how excited were the kids in the boat seeing this lure on the water. And I can’t even say how excited I was when I had some monsters attacking it. 3 fish in total but just one brought to the boat, none landed. Obviously I have to work on my technique with these monster lures, maybe setup need to be changed or the hooks on the lure.
But there is nothing more rewarding when I can get someone else to hook into some slabs, especially if they are the young generation:
Just look at these faces…priceless 

Back at it

Almost 2 years since my last post here. Many things have happened since then 😕 covid came, Trump lost and now the winter is back.

But despite all of these things we kept fishing. Pushing the limits and trying new things that is the goal for me. That being said I have to confess that I have joined the Dark Side once again 😈. More about that in the future posts and don’t worry I will post more cause winter is reaaally long here 😀.