Once mighty Sabato now mocks the touring angler

Annalisa Barbieri

Just back from Italy and the river Sabato, where I cast my first live cricket many moons ago. The name of this river - which means Saturday - gives rise to a little local saying: "I eat fish from the Saturday on Friday". (You have to understand there's not much else to do there....)

Just back from Italy and the river Sabato, where I cast my first live cricket many moons ago. The name of this river - which means Saturday - gives rise to a little local saying: "I eat fish from the Saturday on Friday". (You have to understand there's not much else to do there....)

This was Pete's first trip to Italy with me and he was itching to take the rods with him. I was not so keen. This was partly because he has this fantastic rod tube that he made himself, thus saving us hundreds of pounds, which he insists on carrying all the rods in when they so much as go on a short car journey. Of course it's great to protect rods from the rigours of air travel, but the rod tube is about seven foot long, with a carrying strap in the centre and I invariably end up carrying it and it pole vaults me off the ground so that it take me an hour to walk five steps. While I myself am more of the let's-slip-the-Hardy-Smuggler-in-a-breast-pocket kind of girl, except that I don't have a Hardy Smuggler.

But I also wasn't keen to take the rods because I knew that the Sabato is not much more than a running puddle these days and there are no fish to be seen in it. Despite the fact that my mother almost drowned in it when she was a young girl, while washing sheets. Water levels aren't what they were, even in southern Italy. Pete could not get his head round this: "Are you absolutely sure", he asked, "that there are no fish in there, or no little fisheries anywhere near to where we're going?" he asked again and again and again, with his fishing rods on constant standby next to the suitcase, lest they should be summoned.

Sadly there weren't any fisheries. While Italy has a fly fishing culture, mostly concentrated up north, I'd never seen, read or heard of a single fly fisherman round the parts we were going (Avellino).

When I asked my southern Italian relatives about fishing their reply was "oh yes, lots of it to be done, in the sea". And indeed, The World Angling Games, part of the National Federation of Sea Anglers International Programme, was held in Italy this year (next year: France). Although I'm not keen on competitions that involve catching fish, I can tell you that Italy got gold in the casting championship; Portugal got gold in the world junior shore championship; Italy got gold again (hmmmmm) in the big game competition, the world boat championship and the world shore championship... and Portugal got gold in the ladies shore championship. England got one silver, in the casting competition with casts of over 200 metres.

I wish there were competitions and awards for more useful fishie things, such as: Good handling of fish; Knowing when to pack up and go home and leave the fish alone; Fish stocks worldwide, And how I'm helping; My river has no fish, I wonder why.

Talking of more useful things, the Wild Trout auction in partnership with the Game Conservancy Trust takes place this year on the evening of Wednesday, 22 November at Bonhams in Knightsbridge (020 7393 3900). This is always an excellent place to get things like rods and other equipment for fishing days etc (which make great Christmas presents) that have been donated by various fishing folk, and you know that all the money goes to a good cause.

The Arundell Arms in Devon is hosting another Game Conservancy Trust mixed auction on 13 October, there will be some fishing lots up for grabs and if you can't get to Devon you can ring for a bidding form: 01647 433291. For more information on the Wild Trout Society, which is an excellent organisation that does much to conserve and restore the wild trout's habitats, be sure to log onto their website: www.wildtrout.org. You can join for as little as £10.

Anyway, Italy. When we got there, Pete could see that I hadn't been lying about the river, as there was actually a bulldozer making its way down river, clearing branches and any other debris that may hinder the dog's wee flow of water.

Testament to how mighty the Sabato once was could be seen in the impressive bridges that were once needed to straddle it. Occasionally my relatives say "the river's busting at the seams" and I get all excited only to see it indeed has doubled its depth, to two inches.

However, something did happen last year. There was more water and there were apparently some pretty big trout in the river. This news made Pete's ears twitch and his eyes water, every time we crossed one of the bridges we peered in, desperately trying to make out any form of life but all we saw were lizards drinking and then retreating back to the shadows, to laugh at us.

FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam