The big Makos in the neighborhood 


Anno Domini 2020, the outbreak of the corona plunges the world into its biggest crisis since peacetime. Lots of people have lost their lives, their loved ones, their jobs. Borders are cordoned off and measures are nearing curfew. We have no idea as of now how long this will last and how the world will look like afterwards. We can only hope that the one coming on the "rubbles" will be a better one. Fly Fishing addicts have to rediscover the places close to home. The value of preserving nature is to be extended to the rivers close to our cities. They are as valuable as the wildest far rivers we used to travel to. And this is one is one of these rivers.

The best time for the "Makos" of the flat lands, from the end of April until June and with May being the top month. To be considered in our personal "Mako" category chub (Squalius cephalus) are to be over 50 cm. and above the three pound class. I cannot say whether these large specimen are always present in the area or if it is the result of a seasonal run. Fact is that seldom I catch so many big ones on a fly in other times of the year.

We discovered the presence of big Makos while dry-fly angling on rising fish. We could see that among smaller fish some big ones where feeding and they would not take any of the pattern we used. Intrigued by the confrontation, after changing plenty of flies I eventually cracked some of the apparent diffidence by using big floating patterns like Madame X and dragonflies imitations.

Despite the contingent success with the dry fly, the best results are accounted by employing streamers from 8 to 10 cm.

The biggest guys feed on fry like real predators and the small fish's abundance of the spring makes their main feast. In the picture a nice four pounder that could not resist the Fur Muddler Minnow.

Although chub are not considered great fighter once hooked, the theory changes when one comes across one of the Makos. In the picture sequence the strong fight of a huge chub, five minutes of fierce resistance, running up and down the stream and holding the depth until the end.

Before I got him in sight, I was even wondering what fish I had hooked.

A real "Mako", the biggest chub I hooked up to present in the river in my neighborhood, a fish of estimated seven pounds.