St. San Zeno

Jason sent me a recent communication that he had about early fishing in Italy; it included a photo of a painting of the patron saint of fishing, St. San Zeno. The painting was from 1538 and shows him with a rod, horsehair line, and a cast of three flies! Rather amazing.

Painting from 1538 showing St. San Zeno with rod and fish.

A rather grainy blow-up of St. San Zeno's hand showing the fish and the cast of flies. There's one fly in the fish's month and the other two are hanging down along the right of the photo. Each fly appears on a red spot; one next to the belly of the fish, and the other at the bottom of the painting.


  1. Theo Bakelaar says:

    Hi Gary, there is a story about fishing of a monck in the U.K. who fishes with a rod with horsehair and flies. It was a small competition with a farmer who could catch more fish than the monck. The prize was a pic. The one who caught the most trout in the river won that pic. This monck did the fishing with horshair as line and flies he made. The farmer fished in the regular way – every body did in that time ( + 1500 ) Fishing with worms. The monck had the most trout and won the game for the poor people to eat. People said he was the first flyfisherman in the world.

  2. Theo Bakelaar says:

    Ho ho again me, my bad English gave me a wrong word……it should Monk of course instate of monck. But this is the real story about the first picture of that man with a horse hair line and three flies.
    Sorry for that mistake.