I´ll tell you a story I heard one time about a young fella at a dance. I don´t remember the details like they guy´s name but I can give you the gist of the story anyway.

It all happened back in Ireland and the dance was really a nightclub somewhere on the edge of some provincial town in Roscommon. But again, these are details.

He was infatuated with a girl but was too shy to ask her to dance. He was also one of these non-drinking types so he couldn´t just knock back a couple of pints and give himself a little Dutch courage. Anyway, after a bunch of false starts he finally managed to approach the girl and ask her if she would dance with him.

It seems she had other things on her mind. Maybe there was some other guy she was interested in or whatever, because, when our hero showed up to pop the question, she did not even look at him. She just dismissively said “what! Dance with you?! You´ve got to be kidding! You can just go and fuck off!”

Needless to say, she could not have crushed him more completely if she had run over him in a Sherman tank. The poor guy melted away. It is a lesson that many of us have learnt. Girls may be pretty and they can dazzle us with their curves and their curls but you better watch out. They have claws.

When I heard this story, and it is a true one, my heart went out to this young lad. I hope he has put it all behind him now but, at the time, I can only imagine that he wanted the earth to open and swallow him whole.

Lessons in dealing with rejection will be ultimately taught to us all. I have had my fair share, maybe even a little more. And every time I wander off to the river to see if I can hook up with a gypsy barbel I must expect to be rejected time and again.

Last Thursday I had a chance to meet up with my old mate Harry Abbott and we spent a couple of hours on the banks of the Guadalhorce. Harry knows this river well and has fished it, on and off, for several years.

Our plan was to stalk a short section of the river and see if we could tempt a fish or two with a nymph. Gypsy barbel can offer you rejection by degrees. If you approach the river incautiously they will glide across the river and be gone. Fair enough, maybe you deserved that.

But if you manage to approach undetected they MIGHT just accept the little nymph you offer or, far more often, they snub it. Sometimes when they are in one of their skittish moods the gentle plop of a little nymph at the surface is all that is needed to send them on their way.

That, more or less, is how the evening panned out for Harry and me. We saw a few gipsy barbel. We scared a few. We had our chances but ultimately it was not to be. We caught nothing.

Were we disappointed? Not really. The stalking of these fish is so thoroughly absorbing that we were happily preoccupied. Catching one would have been nice of course but sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn´t. C´ est la vie.

If these refusals count as rejections we are man enough to deal with them. Gypsy barbel, like women at dances, may spurn our advances and remind us that we simply do not measure up. It is just as well that they can´t speak to us.

My old partner in crime

My old partner in crime