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Most people I know sooner or later get wind of the fact that I´m a fly fisherman. Very often there follows a little exchange of words that seems to follow a pattern that is becoming increasingly familiar. The chances are you will recognise it too.

It´s almost as if the two of us are each delivering lines from a script with which only one of us is familiar. I know more or less where things are leading but the non-fisherman just ad-libs. First up there is the assertion that, whoever it is that I am talking to, just wouldn´t have it in them to “sit around” all day fishing; “I just wouldn´t have the patience for it!” View full article »

Isidro and the donkey

Yesterday a few of us headed up into hills to a little town called El Colmenar. It turns out that at this time of year that sex-crazed deer, loaded with hormones, descend from the surrounding woods and start rutting. Pretty recently they were even seen walking about the town and there were X rated scenes involving these beasts witnessed by the outdoor swimming pool of the Hotel Rural Buitrera. View full article »

It´s not every day that a vulture descends from the sky and alights at your place of work but that´s exactly what happened today. I thought people were kidding me when they asked if I wanted to go and take a look at the vulture but then I saw the crowd standing at a safe distance and, lo and behold, right in the middle stood a full grown griffon vulture. View full article »

Every now and then my brother Sean and Mark McCann manage to get a few days of fishing and head off into the hinterlands with fly rods thrown into the back of their cars and their heads swimming with dreams of trout and Guinness, both of which essential to the success of such ventures. Very occasionally I get to join them but it is increasingly hard to do because I live a long way away and the best times for fishing in Ireland tend to coincide with my busiest times at work. View full article »

For some time now I have dabbled in painting fish in water colours and, until now, the subjects have been fish that I have become acquainted with first hand including brown trout, perch, carp, black bass and gypsy barbel. I have just broken with this little tradition by painting a fish that I have never seen in the flesh but that strikes me as a beautiful subject – the Golden Dorado. It´s no surprise that I have never seen or caught one. If I were to do so I would have to book myself a flight to South America. View full article »

I don´t know whether brown trout are dumb or not. There are quite a few fishermen out there who say that our old friend Salmo trutta is actually pretty thick. Others take the opposite view and consider trout to be smart on account of their fussiness and selectivity, the very same traits oddly enough that are cited by their opponents as evidence of their stupidity. I will leave this debate to anyone whose flies have been refused all day and are seeking solace over a beer or something stronger. My own take on the matter is that trout are smart and dumb at the same time, an attribute, if you think about it, that is not uncommon in human beings. I would go a little further in suggesting that our native brown trout are the intellectual superiors of the rainbow trout, although I´m sure many will disagree. In either case we´re not talking about organisms pushing their way into the higher range of IQ scores. View full article »

I have just gone and tied up three stupid-looking flies. They are simple variations of the mop flies that seem to be the rage at the moment but, when I look at the things, what comes to mind is the rather strange hairdo of Homer Simpson´s wife Marge. If I were to give a name to this fly, which I won´t on account of their being nothing much original about it, I might go with “Mrs Simpson´s Special.” View full article »

Leo graduates

This blog of mine is the nearest thing I have to a diary and, as such, it´s great to be able to report on Leo´s big day on Saturday when he graduated from the University of York with a B.Sc in Accounting, Business Finance and Management. Catriona, Pippa, Grandad and I made it up to York for the occasion and we had lunch afterwards with the families of two of Leo´s closest friends from university. View full article »

My brother Sean and our close friend Mark McCann head off fishing the mayfly every year on Lough Arrow and it is one of my few regrets about living in Spain and working as a teacher that I am unable to join them. I do however insist on getting a full report and Sean invariably provides an account in his own inimitable style. Mr McCann has also contributed to the cause this year and I have therefore, in the finest tradition of plagiarism, stolen their words and pictures, without their knowledge or consent, and include them here for us all to enjoy.

 

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I was in Bavaria last week with a school group and met a very interesting chap. His name is Frank. He has a surname too but I don´t know what it is. Frank taught our students how to rock climb on a climbing wall outside the hostel. Frank is no spring chicken. We guessed his age at something greater than 60, maybe a good bit more, but he was fit as a fiddle and there wasn´t an ounce of fat on his wiry frame. View full article »