One of the benefits of living so close to a decent fishing river is that you don´t need to plan a fishing trip long in advance. Sometimes, if you have a bit of time on your hands and nobody has any plans for you, it may be possible to leap in the car and just head out on spec. That´s pretty much the way things panned out yesterday. There was a break in the weather. The grey clouds parted a little and the sun started to break through. I took one look at the sky outside and said “Yeah! why the hell not!”

The river is just beautiful at the moment – cool and clear as a chalk stream. It is also brimming with life. Even so, large stretches of “pristine” water have been vacated by the fish and you may have to do quite a bit of foot work to come across them. I “surveyed” about a kilometre of lovely-looking water in a rather crude way by simply wading upstream pretty noisily watching for the fish that I would spook in the process. In shallow stretches an unseen fish will often give its location away when it bolts. I saw three fish in that section, all in weed cover, and there were some lovely runs which were unoccupied.

The fish I did find were holding in the shallow water at the heads of pools. The first group of fish I could make out were difficult because there was a bank of rushes very close to them and it was difficult to keep a hooked fish out. I did manage to extricate one fish but a second took me into the rushes and I lost it.

The confluence of the Río Grande and the Guadalhorce offers alternative possibilities. Take the right branch and you can follow the Guadalhorce upstream. This is an attractive option much of the time. However, take the left turn and you can follow the Río Grande upriver. At this time of year there is good flow in each river. In a couple of months the Grande will thin to little more than a trickle. It may even dry up but for some of the deeper holes. Today as I stood just downstream of the meeting of the waters, and on nothing more than a whim, I decided to go left and to see what the Río Grande had to offer.

It took quite a while to locate some fish – perhaps a kilometre or maybe a little more. The fish were holding where I was expecting them just at the head of a deep pool. I did not really see the fish but had a good idea where they might be and was fortunate enough to hook a good one on my first cast. I never saw this fish but it felt really heavy and was soon across the river. We did battle for a couple of minutes and I felt pretty confident that this might be my best fish of the season when the resistance abruptly stopped and my nymph was returned to me. The fish, inexplicably, was gone.

Fishing forces you to be philosophical. You have no choice! I knew that I had missed out on a hell of a fish but decided to keep working a nymph through the shallows and soon enough I had another take. As the second fish strutted its stuff three guys were drawn to the commotion and approached as I was playing the fish. These were the only people I saw all day and they were speaking German to one another. They saw me on the bank with a pretty sizeable curve in my rod and came to see what might be putting it there. When the fish was beached and unhooked I asked one of the guys if he would be kind enough to take a photograph.

He was a nice guy and translated for his friends who wanted to know if the fish could be eaten. I told him that I always returned the fish and the three guys seemed pretty satisfied by that. They even gave me a little round of applause as the fish was released and eased itself out into the river. Just before they left, the guy who had taken the photographs wished me good luck in what he told me was Swiss German.

It occurs to me now that, while one of the benefits of living close to a good fishing river is that you can just pop over and wet a line if conditions look favourable, the down side is that it can be difficult to resist. In a half hour I need to drop Pippa to meet a friend and pick up some things in the supermarket but maybe I could just swing by the river on the way home………

Here is the first barbel just before it slipped its moorings.

Here is the first barbel just before it slipped its moorings.

This is where the Río Grande (on the left) meets the Río Guadalhorce.

This is where the Río Grande (on the left) meets the Río Guadalhorce.

I carried out a crude survey of this beautiful stretch of the Río Grande. Conditions seemed ideal but it was virtually devoid of fish!

I carried out a crude survey of this beautiful stretch of the Río Grande. Conditions seemed ideal but it was virtually devoid of fish!

As luck would have it a chance encounter allowed me share a photo with my second fish. Shortly before this fish was caught I much bigger fish came off.

As luck would have it a chance encounter with a random Swiss German guy allowed me share a photo with my second fish. Shortly before this fish was caught I much bigger fish came off.

Lovely fish these!

Lovely fish these!