Archive for April, 2014

Fly fishermen spend a lot of time thinking about rods and lines and reels and flies. Fair enough, that all makes sense. But here fishing the local river for much of the year I would consider a decent pair of polarized sunglasses and a nice hat to shade them to be among the most important bits of kit to throw into the car when heading off. And another thing that is equally important is a decent pair of neoprene boots.

I had a pair that the puppies chewed up so badly they had to be abandoned. These bloody dogs chew everything. Just recently the black dog, Boris, took a big chunk out of Bill Bryson and Grandad appeared one morning last week only to discover that he had left his book outside the previous night and that Boris had swallowed a sizeable chunk of recent history, including much of the Victorian era. Continue reading


Every day I take a walk in the campo with my dog Bonita. She is getting on a bit now and is getting slow but we both enjoy this leisurely stroll. And we both take an interest too in sights and sounds and smells. Bonita specialises in the smells and I do the sights. About a week ago while we were out on an early morning walk we witnessed something pretty interesting although, frankly, I don´t think the dog took too much notice. Continue reading

Today is Easter Sunday and I came across an Easter procession, quite by chance, in Fuengirola today.

Fuengirola, if you are not familiar with it, is a town of similar size to Marbella and located just a little further along the coast. It lacks Marbella´s pretention and snob appeal and has an altogether earthier feel. It is a little rough around the edges but that is something I like about it. It certainly seems to have a greater appeal to those who are looking for a cheap and cheerful holiday.  If you are an English speaker and want a bit of sunshine without everything being ruined by “foreigners” you will find that you are well catered for here. There is premiership football in the seafront bars and fish and chips if you are nervous of seeing something on your plate which is unfamiliar. Continue reading

I can barely get my arse out of bed in the morning if it is an ordinary work day but if there is an early start for a fishing trip I hardly even need to set the alarm. This morning was typical. I woke at around 5.00 am and decided to get up and hit the road. The alarm on my phone went off when I had already broken the back of the journey to the reservoir and my arrival coincided with the first bit of light that was good enough for fishing. Continue reading

A couple of weeks ago Harry Abbott caught a very nice barbel on a dry fly. When I asked him what pattern he used he told me it was a little floating ant.

I have relied almost exclusively on nymphs for the last few years when fishing for gipsy barbel on my local river although there was a time, a few years back, when I fished dries nearly all the time. Back in the day, the barbel were often attracted to the little splash created by the fly landing on the surface. Often they would turn to take a look at the source of the disturbance and, more often than not, they would take the fly. Harry´s success has prompted me to think about dries once again and so I tied up a few little ant patterns of my own.

Ants have a silhouette which is unmistakable. They show the typical insect body plan (a three part body) far more distinctly than most insects. The three body parts – head, thorax and abdomen, look as though they are held together only by a thread.

Their slim waists separate the components of a rather curvaceous figure. A woman shaped like an ant might be considered pretty desirable if you were happy to overlook her two extra pairs of legs! Continue reading

It looks like the gypsy barbel are getting close to their spawning time. The males have prominent tubercles on their snouts, rather like carp develop, and so can be easily told apart from the females. Two of the three fish I took yesterday afternoon were males. Continue reading

My A level Biology students get to use the word “fart” in exams which is something I feel they should be excited about. What other subject would let you get away with that? The farts in question are emitted from the rear ends of cows and are said to contain significant amounts of methane, an important greenhouse gas. Technically, the gas is much more abundant in cow burps but the word “burp” doesn´t quite have the same appeal. This methane is a by-product of the complex process of cellulose digestion and is actually produced by microorganisms residing in the cow´s intestines rather than the cow itself.

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In Southern Andalucia we are spared the worst extremes of seasonal change. The cold does not hit us as hard as further north in Europe, and even Spain. But the changes of the seasons are evident from the passage of birds in the skies overhead as they make their way from Africa into Europe in the spring and summer and returning once again in the autumn.

There is one bird which is due to make an appearance soon and which, to me at least, signals the change of season as clearly as a leaf fall in the autumn. This is the bee eater… Continue reading