The Campanu del Sella, a whole tradition

This coming Sunday, April 2, the banks of the Sella will be expectant before the start of the salmon campaign in continental waters of the Principality of Asturias and some fishermen, natives and foreigners, will try to land the campanu of this year 2023. Of course , the current situation is not at all buoyant, quite the contrary, since the last fish seasons left much to be desired given the scarcity of specimens and the increasing presence of predatory birds -for a long time- throughout the the shoreline Nothing new on the horizon.

I am not at all trying to undermine the morale of those who dream of taking out the campanu, in this case from Sella, on the opening day, on the first business day of traditional fishing, although, except for surprise, it is still necessary to wait several days in favor of an improvement of the river so that, finally, that desire of lovers of river fishing comes true. It is time to wait for events, despite the fact that the thing is not to launch rockets or ring the bells of churches, chapels or monasteries.

Having said this, and without intending to argue, I want to have a special memory at this precise moment for some people who made it possible for the Sella campanu auction to become a first-rate tourist attraction and, also, in recognition of the art of traditional fishing. It all started a little over a decade ago, in those interesting gatherings that had their epicenter in “the bowling alley” of the Puente Romano, on the banks of the mythical Oriente river.

Manuel Moro Fernández (QEPD) was the architect and promoter, even going and convincing some hoteliers in the area to participate in the puya. Nor should we forget riversiders like Javier Vega, from the saga of “los de La Pina”, or Dámaso Ortíz, east of Cañu (Cangas de Onís), also deceased; to Ángel Fernández, better known as “Canalón” and others who, in one way or another, contributed their grain of sand so that it would come to fruition or rather, a good salmon haul.

Gone are the tensions between the first salmon from Sella and the first specimen from other basins. All salmon rivers have the right to auction their own campanu. And in Cangas de Onís there was never an attempt to auction any campanu other than the Sella one. That was and will continue to be the maxim of this event. The sad reality could occur when someone manages to catch the first salmon of the campaign and prefers to keep it, enjoy it with his family and friends, instead of presenting it to the puya. The lucky fisherman is in his full right. Nothing to object.

The Campanu del Sella festival has been gaining followers, edition after edition, in an incomparable setting such as El Puentón de Cangas de Onís, although the setting is located in the municipality of Parres. But, on this occasion, let me recall the figure of Manolo Moro -its promoter-, the person who most insisted on supporting the riverside world of salmon fishing -as an anecdotal fact, it should be noted that he did not practice this sport- in one of the most difficult and counting on the collaboration of the Fishermen’s Society El Esmerillón and the Cangués City Council.

Surely better times will come, but we must not spoil the traditions. Salmon fishing in the Sella was a huge pull for many families on the riverbank. Riverside culture is an essential part of social life, whether or not they practice this art of fishing. I insist, these are not good times for the sector, but it cannot be ignored that there are many, men and women, who like to try their luck by stranding. Let’s not criminalize the riparians and let’s not put everyone in the same bag. The countdown to the 2023 campaign begins.


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