H2O Magazine


I believe that my friend Giorgio Dallari does not need any introduction, so I prefer to publish his biography without adding anything else. Giorgio Cavatorti

Giorgio Dallari

I was born in Modena in the far 1932. This small town is known all over the world because the most prestigious cars, i.e. Ferrari, are produced here. We also have other things we are proud of, but this is not the right place to do tourist advertising. My family belonged to the middle class; my father, of peasant origin, had opened a very small menswear shop in 1925 and since I was a child he began to brain-wash me, so I could never think of what I wanted to do in my life which would differ from what my father had decided, that is the continuation of his activity.Therefore, I entered my father’s business and continued till 1993, the year when I voluntarily retired.

The adaptability I mentioned, together with my innate curiosity, patience and tranquility, was the dominant feature of my personality and has expressed itself not so much in the professional field, but rather in my hobbies. The passion for fishing has accompanied me till today, while that for hunting lasted till 1974, when I realized that in my country I’d better stop practicing it due to the environmental situation, however these hunting memories are among the most vivid and beautiful ones in my life.

The briar reel idea

I forgot to say that I was a heavy pipe smoker. I say this because the pipe was the first step towards the material which has so greatly attracted my interest in these last years. Besides smoking them, I had been building pipes for pleasure for some years when, in an evening of 1990, comfortably sitting in an armchair and skimming through a fishing magazine, I cast a glance at the image of an old wooden collection reel.

Pipe smokers know well what is the meaning of “pipe dream” and I inevitably thought of pipe briarwood as the material to use to make my reel. On the following evening I entered the laboratory and, after choosing two pieces of excellent briarwood, I started creating my prototype with great excitement. When my friends saw my reel, they expressed their sincere enthusiasm and encouraged me to continue. At that time I was still busy with the shop and could just devote a few hours after the closing-time to my favorite work. All this began like a game.

In 1992, before going to Oregon on the river Umqua with some friends, I stopped in Denver on the occasion of the International Fly-Fishing Fair. I had taken with me 5 reels, which I showed in the corner of a booth given by a friend of mine. The result was “a great deal of compliments”, 3 reels ordered and a very funny episode that happened in the last minutes before the closing of the fair.

The success in the USA

In front of the booth where my 5 reels were exhibited there was the booth of an American classical reel manufacturer called Bill Ballan, whom I had envied during the previous three days because he received several orders from Japanese clients as well as from other nationalities, whereas I just received compliments. The closing time was approaching when this man came to the small table where my reels were shown, examined them one by one and, always without speaking, made his choice and finally said: “I’ll take this one, you can come to my booth and take what you want!”

On that occasion I met Lefty Kree, some books of whom I had read to learn the fishing techniques in saltwater (in those years I went to the Cuban flats). I was impressed by his sympathy and presented him a reel, also hoping that he would do me some promotion. The following year I met him in Denver again and when I asked him “what do you think of my reel in fishing practice?”, he gave me a hearty slap on the back and said “I am not crazy, would you believe I’m using such a beautiful reel?” Another distinguished American to whom I sent one as a present, always in the hope of becoming famous, was Jimmy Carter, rather known in the States, maybe not as a fisher; he sent me a letter in which he expressed his satisfaction for the object as well as his and the ex First Lady’s warm thanks.

Discovery of the amboine

In 1993 I decided to stop the activity my father had imposed on me and I retired into a very isolated stone house in the Modena Apennines, of course taking with me all the equipment to continue with my hobby, which had become a real work at that point. Wood, in all its varieties, has always given me sensations which is difficult to describe. I like touching it more than any other material, but when it’s briarwood of any tree essence, the simple pleasure sometimes turns into emotion, as if I were in front of a work of art.

I got to know that in a village, not far from Milan, there was a firm specialized in precious wood and thus I saw amboine wood for the first time. I knew of the existence of a marvelous briarwood used to make the dashboards of ROLLS-ROYCE, but I had never seen it in its natural state! A type of wood is usually recognized by its characteristic colour, which can vary little. Amboine wood is an exception: in the same burl the colour can stretch from dark brown through various lighter and lighter tones to luminous gold, not to speak about the variety of patterns, because they are numberless and indescribable.

I know that I seem to be exalted, as if I spoke of a wonderful woman, but this proves that one can be exalted in many ways, which can however make some moments of our life pleasant. I always have in mind a sentence which I was told by an American who had handled one of my reels for a long time, again that time in Denver “When I have this object in the hand my heart warms up!” and I can say that in this sentence there is everything you cannot describe with thousands of words.

Mastro Geppetto

There is no company without a logo…….Who knows why I thought of Pinocchio, but in my subconscious I found the explanation. First of all, it is made of wood and this could be sufficient, but there is something more, Pinocchio tells a lot of lies and, when he tells them, his nose gets longer. Fishers (not all of them) are famous for their aptitude to tell lies when they relate their catches, with regard to the number as well as the dimensions, therefore we are all a bit similar to the famous puppet by Collodi, but fortunately our nose doesn’t get longer and longer.

When I told a very dear Japanese friend of mine that I felt a bit like “Geppetto” (Pinocchio’s father, a carpenter by profession), he answered me that he had no doubt about the fact that I “am” Geppetto’s reincarnation and since then he has never called me by my real name again.

Giorgio Dallari

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