Christmas this year was spent in England and Ireland and it was great to see family and friends again. There was, not unexpectedly, a lot of sitting around and not a little consumption of alcohol.

In the UK the brown trout have their feet up too and are enjoying the closed season but the fishing for rainbows in many still water fisheries continues and there is good fishing for grayling for those who want to get out on the river and are prepared to brave the cold weather.

Back home in Spain, I lost no time in making for the river. I was in some need of solitude and space and fresh air, all of which the Guadalhorce provides in abundance.

I hooked a barbel pretty soon after starting up but the fish was hooked in the cheek rather than having taken the nymph properly. This is always regrettable, but it happens from time to time. Fortunately the fish was unharmed and, after apologising profusely to it, I released it and it made its way back upstream to the head of the pool from which it had been taken.   

The weather was great but the fishing was pretty hard. There seemed to be fewer fish in evidence than on recent visits and they were glued to the river bed. I feared that I was going to blank on my first day of the year but, shortly before I was due to leave, a gypsy barbel accepted the nymph as it trundled along the river bed and saved the day. The take was very tentative and I doubt I would have seen it without the little bit of foam I was using as an indicator.

Back at the car I got chatting to a couple of locals who were out walking. They asked me how I got on and I made a brief report. They assumed I would have kept the fish but I told them that I return everything. This, they suggested, might be a good thing. They told me that a local man was found dead close to the river after eating a fish he had caught there. The remains of the fish were found beside his body. He had evidently made a fire and cooked it.

Poisoned? They seemed to think so and I did nothing to dissuade them. If the story gets out it might discourage others from killing the fish they catch. This would be no bad thing. The barbel and carp of the Guadalhorce are beautiful fish and deserve better.

Jan 2014 002