Halloween and fly fishing may seem like an odd mix, but not for true anglers. Yep, I’m talking about the ultimate test of your abilities and nerve.
Okay, everyone knows the story of Count Dracula. The book is huge and has been turned into more than a few scary movies. The one the frightened me the most was the recent edition in which Keanu Reaves attempted to speak with an English accent. Truly scary. Anyway, the interesting thing about Dracula is that it is based on a real person.
Vlad the Impaler was a nasty man by any definition. By Vlad, I mean the Romanian Prince, not the Angels outfielder that blasts home runs…except in the playoffs to my dismay. With a nickname like “Impaler”, I shouldn’t have to recite his resume, but will mention that he had a thing for long sticks with one end buried in the ground and the other end sharpened to a point. It was very wise to stay on his good side – “Vlad, did you lose some weight?” and so on.
Vlad ruled Romania during his reign and was such an enthusiast for impaling that those in the lumber business look back upon him with sighs of happiness. As anyone knows from the book, Vlad had his home office at Bran Castle in the Carpathian Mountains although he maintained branch offices in London. In fact, the castle stands today and you can spend your hard earned tourist money strolling about the grounds, buying fake fangs, garlic and so on. What isn’t widely known, of course, is Bran Castle was never the home of Vlad, who apparently didn’t care for the overly religious décor and garlic garden in the backyard.
The true home of Vlad the Impaler is Dracula Castle, which sits on the Arges River. The castle is not a hot tourist destination. Perhaps this is because the only things left are a few stones sticking out of the ground. Nonetheless, below the castle runs the Arges River.
Known in antiquity as the Ordessus, this is the spot where Vlad did some of his top-notch impaling and supposedly tied a unique fly or two. Even after all these years, the fish remain influenced and it takes a brave angler to hit the spot.
Body armor, garlic and a shield are not typical equipment for fly fishing. If you’re going to fish with Vlad, however, each is a must. The fish are odd. The locals with missing fingers and hands will fill you in. The “Impaler Pike” is known to react to being hooked by accelerating towards the angler and leaping from the water in the direction of one’s nether region. The Arges Cutthroat, of course, needs no description, but the Big Macks definitely give rise to the need for garlic. Finally, the Vlad Muskie can be caught, but an older gentlemen with only one ear suggested this isn’t necessarily a good thing. All and all, one doesn’t so much catch a fish below Vlad’s castle as survive the experience.
You may be wondering about the best flies to use in such circumstances. The old stand by Woolly Bugger? Perhaps a Clauser’s Minnow? Nope. According to locals, just nip a finger, rub the blood on a hook and off you go!
By the way, you really can fly fish on the Arges below Vlad’s true castle. No armor needed, but garlic keeps the mosquitoes off.
Little blood suckers.