Written by: Matthew Calderaro, Soca Cowboy
As a father, you can only dream your children will follow in your footsteps and love the things you love. In my house, fly fishing is not a hobby. It is my life, it is my business, and it is my identity. So weekends are spent traveling from our home in Austria through the Julian Alps in Slovenia–camping, guiding, and fishing. As my daughters grew, they would always want to come fishing with me, and I was surprised and thrilled as their interest grew. It’s gotten to the point that now they constantly ask, “Where are we fishing this weekend?” I never wanted to push my children toward what I love, but it came naturally as we walked the rivers and spotted fish, identified insects, and stopped to read the river.
As a professional guide, I started their training with Tenkara. First and foremost the rods come in cool colors, so the girls totally loved them. Second, the kidslearned the start and stop of the casting stroke and a couple of knots. We would wade down small rivers like the upper Soca, and each would take a bank and work it with a large dry like the Goddard Sedge. With this technique, they could fully see how the fly works in the water and watch the fish take.
After two summers of training, we were camping on the Tolminka River, and I turned them loose with a 4-weight. They traded between fishing and netting fish, and I walked with them as a father and a fishing buddy. The joy of watching my two daughters take fish after fish in shorts and crocs–while fully wadered anglers sweated and flogged the water fruitlessly nearby–was priceless. I never imagined we would share such fun and what a special place the river could be, much like was with me and my uncle 30 years ago.
Michaela and Sophia will be accepting reservations for guiding in the Soca Valley of Slovenia starting in the spring of 2021. Book now . . .spots are limited.
Matthew Calderaro owns and operates Soca Cowboy guide service in Slovenia’s Soca Valley He is also a former Orvis rod designer. He has appeared on this blog quite a few times over the years.