A homemade 15-foot cane rod, lines meticulously braided from the tail of a stallion, simple flies tied by hand without the aid of a vise—this is pesca alla Valsesiana. Originating on the small mountain streams of northern Italy, this simple, beautiful style of fishing has been in practice since at least the 16th century.
Led by the sport’s elder statesman, Arturo Pugno, it is still practiced by a small number of devotees on those same streams, using the same materials and techniques employed since the beginning. It is fishing at its most basic and refined, and it is only mastered by anglers Arturo Pugno calls “complete fisherman.”
The new Patagonia film, Il Pescatore Completo, introduces us to this timeless angling technique, its enduring maestro and the special places where it is practiced with the same devotion and reverence as it was centuries ago.