Monday, June 08, 2009


Let me preface this post by saying that I am completely terrified of snakes. The place where I work is on a mountain and there are some kind of big black snakes around here; a few weeks ago I saw one slither away as I was going up to my car. I've asked around and apparently the big black snakes around here, big and scary as they are, are not venomous and are pacifists - that is, they flee at the slightest hint of danger.

So yesterday I was finally able to hit the Brenta River for a day of fly-fishing. The river has been too high for the past several weeks due to runoff and rains so I was thrilled to be back up there in the mountains. I chose one of my favorite spots in the town of Valstagna (Photos of my Valstagna spot here). I parked the car and surveyed the river. It was still a bit high but definitely fishable. A few years ago I fought my way through the brush and fished a bit upriver and had a great day so I considered doing so again. Only problem is that the trees and brush are very thick and hard to get through. Not only that but the wife tried it a few years back and disturbed a bees nest. I walked to the edge of the brush where it grew up against a cement building to see if there was an opening or a path to go through. I got as far as I could and stopped to see if I could find a way through. I had stopped for only a few seconds when I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked down and...


A huge snake was on the ground about a foot and a half away from my leg and he was not running (or slithering) away...that bitch was COILING. My God, I've never moved so fast in my life. The way he was slowly coiling, I'm guessing he was getting ready to strike and I was wearing shorts! Another 5 or 10 seconds and who knows what would have happened. I've been doing quite a bit of research on snakes in this part of Italy since I saw the snake at work and believe it or not there are quite a few vipers here. They are actually some kind of asp viper according to my online searching and they are very venomous. After I got my waders and wading boots on I grabbed my camera and started back in the direction of the snake hoping to get a picture so people could see the ugly thing but I got about 10 feet away and chickened out. However the color and pattern are ingrained in my mind and I was able to find a picture of one that someone had taken elsewhere in Italy. Here what it looked like:

I thanked my lucky stars that I spotted it when I did or I could have ended up in a world of hurt.

Anyway, still traumatized, I recovered enough to hit the river and ended up having a great day of fly-fishing. Towards the end of the day I nailed a nice 12 inch brown which made the day complete. The river is almost at optimum conditions now so I can't wait to get back this weekend. I will, however, be ever mindful of the damned snakes from now on...

1 comment:

eric said...

Heck, there's nothing wrong with being afraid of snakes. Even snakes are afraid of snakes.