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Steve Lawler and I took the float tubes to Concepción reservoir today to see if there were any black bass knocking about. This is a beautiful spot and there is nowhere I would rather kick around. The bass here can be moody though, and enjoying the scenery is what we spend most of our time doing. The reservoir is quite steep sided and, if the surrounding contours are used as a guide, we can see that deep water is within little distance of the shore for most of the margin. The one or two exceptions turned out to be where the bass were to be found. Steve had the first one while I was fishing the steep drops and in the end I paddled over to where he had taken his fish and was rewarded with one of my own.

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My brother Sean and our old buddy Mark McCann head west at this time of year to fish Lough Arrow in county Sligo. If things go according to plan (and they usually don´t) their brief adventure coincides with the hatching of our old buddy Ephemera danica although the mayflies this year appear to have not kept up their part of the bargain and didn´t really get going during the days of their visit. Unfortunately I am unable to extricate myself from duties here in Spain but I am there each year in spirit.

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Sunday was as hot as hell but I had it in mind to take a trip to the river. I was equipped with my strange newly-concocted worm fly in case a carp or two were around but, in the event, I never had a shot at a carp which was an outcome I more or less expected. I did however at least see a couple. They had been spooked from a shallow broken section and pushed ahead into a relatively broad slow-flowing pool. It was my fault that they were disturbed. I was some distance away but clearly they had their antennae tuned in to whatever wavelength I was broadcasting.

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I have just gone and tied a ridiculous-looking fly and am feeling a curious mixture of pride and shame. I can well imagine a seasoned fly tiers looking at this thing and just raising their eyes to heaven, or shaking their heads slowly from side to side. Whatever reception it might receive it deserves a name and so I am going to propose one. How about “weird worm”?

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Try as I might I just don´t seem to be able to catch carp on my river any more. I have consulted the Guinness Book of Plausible Fishing Excuses for Failing to Catch to try and find some justification for my repeated failure but there really isn´t anything suitable among the 150 billion entries in that compendium.

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If you only allowed me one month a year to fish the Río Grande I would probably ask you for March, or maybe April. The heavier rainfalls of the winter are pretty much done but the river holds a good volume of water and, if there has not been a recent shower, the river runs clear. I have never fished a chalk stream but my friends who have tell me that the Grande has many similar qualities at this time of the year. Who could ask for more from a river than that?

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I had a lovely visit to the river on Sunday and a chance to try out one of the little nymphs I tied up the previous night during a “fly tying” zoom call. This zoom call was a lot of fun. The tying was done by myself and my brother Sean but we were joined by our old fishing buddy Mark McCann and various family members including my son Leo, Sean´s son Dan and his daughter Nancy. Our respective wives even dropped in at various stages. Our women folk were pretty much uniformly of the view that we are all a bit silly sitting around at vices, swilling red wine, and talking bullshit.

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Mentors

I noticed that a piece that I wrote was published in Fly Fishing and Fly Tying December 2020 and I had completely forgotten about it. When I looked into it I realised I had sent it to the magazine in 2010!

I´m sorry about the format. I have tidied it up a little but it still looks a bit odd. I don´t wish to blow my own trumpet here but the subject of mentors is a chapter in my book where discuss it in greater depth. It was the most personal part of the book for me.

Anyway here´s the article as published in the magazine:

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I once worked with a guy who used to be in the boy scouts. He told me that his troop had to go on some long trek that involved camping and all that. In preparation the scout masters gathered all the scouts together. First up, the scouts were instructed to empty the contents of their rucksacks onto the floor. Then they were told that they needed to leave half the stuff out and to repack again. Once this had happened they were told to to the same thing again – empty the rucksack, take take half the stuff out and re-pack again. In the end they had only the very minimum needed and were not carrying an ounce more. No doubt the scout masters thought that they were imparting meaningful life lessons with all this palaver, but I don’t know if this is true. I suspect that when these boy scouts grew up they might never have got very far in terms of career progression. I can picture them turning up to job interviews wearing only their underpants.

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We have this dog called Paris. I know what you´re going to say! What a dumb name for a dog! Who would even think of calling a dog Paris? Well, let me clear this up straight away. That naming business had nothing to do with us. 

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