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Jan Slaninka (Czechia)

Jan Slaninka (Czechia)

Interview with Jan Slaninka (Johny Bacon) – famous czech fly fisher, sport angler and fly fishing tackle shop owner

Hello, Jan!
Thank You for finding the time to share Your experience on my fishing blog

For instance I have for You perhaps very traditional question: when and how You got involved into fly fishing and why have You chosen this fishing style?

J.S.: I started fishing in the beginning of 90s, but at first it was not fly fishing, but spinning, which always attracted me. Before that I fished mainly with bamboo rod and bobber, like many another chlidren at that time. Fishing itself revealed for me my grandfather, because by the rules I could‘t go fishing at such a young age without accompanying of adult.

Afterwards I made my first independent steps with spinning rod on Berounka river and at the same time joined the fishing club in Prague district Vinohrady. Here I already participated my first spinning contest, from which it was already very close to fly fishing. And as fly fishing itself, then having engaged in this kind of fishing I was able to realize myself in fly tying.

Look: Fishing in Czechia – fly fishing & fly tying

Today You are engaged, however, not only in fly tying, but also in running Your own fly fishing store. What did You do before and when You decided to connect Your life completely with fishing?

J.S.: In fact I was quite successfully moving up the career ladder in several areas when decided to change my life. For instance it was a well-known company Philip Morris, followed by telephone operators O2 and Eurotel, where I held the position of the chief manager. As time passed by I became an executive director of the largest law firm in the Czech Republic – Havel a Holasek.

Johny Bacon with amazing english trout

Having my own fly-shop was my dream, so I hired as manager and a salesman to the oldest Prague fly-fishing shop Muškáření Zemán, which was running by my colleagues at that time. Well, finally I was approached by several people who asked if I want to open my own store. We found very soon a suitable place in Prague Vinohrady and I started to fulfill my dream. My goal was to create a stylish fly fishing store with an indescribable atmosphere, where customers would feel good.

This is, if you say like that, an obsession with a specific goal, which at the end helps to achieve the desired horizon. I really like what I do for people, because this all is not just about selling, but also giving a joy. In the upshot fishing is not only about fish, but also about relationships, traveling and much more.

And You are really good at it, I like this place so much that sometimes do not want to leave! Btw, I see here a lot of famous names, such as Orvis, Simms, Cortland, Thomas & thomas and others. Is there anything unusual here?

J.S.: Definitely. We also represent here our own products, such as fly tying materials and wooden landing nets under the brand Johny Bacon, which is a free translation of my name into English. All landing nets are handmade mainly from nut, cherry, poplar and mahogany trees. The main emphasis in landing nets manufacturing we make on its durability and life-time service, which is provided by a high-quality glue as well as strong and at the same time lightweight construction. The customer can choose from 12 models, starting with small ones in various shapes and ending with long handle landing nets for boat fishing.

Look: Masterclasses – how to catch a big fish?

Very interesting! By the way, thank You very much for the landing net you presented me last fall. It’s so lightweight that sometimes I forget that I wear it on my back. In addition, the first fish I landed was a trophy rainbow trout during movie shooting about fishing in the Czech Republic for the Fishing & Hunting channel… Tell me, do You still have a spare time for fishing itself? And where do You usually prefer to go for fishing?

J.S.: Naturally, it is impossible to run a fishing shop and not to go fishing at the same time, since in this case it is already a part of the job. As for waters, I like fishing on Berounka and Sazava rivers in Prague surroundings, where I usually catch with a fly such a fish as chub, asp, barbel, roach…. I admire the sea and the ocean, mainly fishing for sea trout in Denmark or catching bonefish, GT and bluefin in Maldives or Mexico.

Fly fishing shop in Prague - FishingPointPrague Fly fishing shop in Prague - FishingPointPrague
Fly fishing shop in Prague - FishingPointPrague Fly fishing shop in Prague - FishingPointPrague

Since we are talking about fish, what catches have You just stocked in Your memory?

J.S.: For sure it will be a nile perch about 58 pounds in weight, caught from the shore in central Aswan (the Aswan Dam) by Rapala Shad Rap plug with orange stripes. A few pikes about a meter long from Scandinavia and Lapland, caught on a fly. Beautiful sea trout from Denmark, caught both on spinning and fly on the Fyn peninsula.
As for the czech catches, the most memorable were my successes from fishing contests, because earlier I participated in the competitions really very intensively, as many as 27 weekends from 52 per year.

Look: Fishing reports from Czechia

Talking about Your career in fishing sport, we can not overlook a lot of cups and medals in Your store. What moments do You consider as the best in your career?

J.S.: I got the title of the absolute champion of the Czech Republic in the individual classification with lure fishing in 1996. Along with this I would like to note my success in fly-fishing competitions and regional championships. Several times I was the champion of Prague in fly fishing and during one year I had a triple combination: champion of Prague in lure fishing, as well as a champion in regional competitions in team and individual classification. At the moment I actively participate in competitions of the second league, regional championships, but I do not go beyond the fly fishing. And still, now I’m trying to travel more, not contest.

Tell me, what fly fishing techniques are Your most favourable?

J.S.: Wet fly, streamer and dry fly. As far as gear I prefer rods producers Thomas & Thomas and Scott, reels from Waterworks Lamson, fly lines from Scientific Angler and Cortland. I’m rather a traditionalist in fly fishing.

Welcome to Czech republic!

Do You remember some interesting cases that have happened in Your fishing life?

J.S.: Yeah, I remember one bright case, when I caught the man riding a bike behind me when I was casting the fly line. He was terribly screaming and swearing, but finally we had not to call an ambulance, because it was just a small single barbless hook.
As far as more pleasant memories, I would like to mention GT and sailfish, which ease made screaming a fully tightened reel.

What would You like to wish to the readers of my blog?

J.S.: Perhaps I would like to remind that the reserves of nature are not unlimited and not every caught fish should be cooked on a frying pan. Take care of nature and the nature will pay you back a hundredfold.

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