It has been a very hot summer here so far. It can seem sometimes as though opening the front door is like opening the door of a blast furnace. Outside, our dog Brutus is panting away. He lies in the shade but it is not  cool even there. Brutus is a campo dog and he has never been in the habit of being indoors but even he will sneak in just a little and lie just inside the front door where the tiles on the floor are a little cooler.

The heat has also put the brakes on fishing to a large extent. The river is warm and the fish are in the same kind of torpid mood as Brutus, the other dogs and the rest of us. Where it is deep enough on the reservoirs the bass will leave the shallows for much of the day and early morning and late evening are likely to be the optimum times to catch them.

On Sunday evening I took the float tube down to Concepción reservoir just inland from Marbella to see if the black bass might take a shine to a couple of scruffy flies I had tied up in the afternoon. Late last week Steve Lawler had mentioned giving Concepción a whirl but was unable to make it himself in the end. He said that he figured the bass fishing was likely to be slow until late evening and that is pretty much the way things turned out. The flies I had tied up each had a tungsten bead to get them down a little if, as expected, the bass were unlikely to get too close to the surface.

The black bass at Concepción can grow to a pretty respectable size and I have caught my own biggest bass here. On Sunday I managed to catch four and lost one or two. None of the fish were anything to write home about but floating around for an hour or two with legs immersed in the reservoir was very pleasant. The fishing, not unexpectedly, was slow but for a period of around 45 minutes and even then it was just a little less slow!

Black bass are fish of great character. When they are “on” they can seem to be everywhere and will take a fly aggressively but, like all fish, they are strongly influenced by water temperature and light levels and can spend a lot of their time sulking in the depths at this time of year. I have taken the liberty here of quoting a short extract from my book “Dry River” which is to be launched a week today:

“To a fly fisherman who has cut his teeth on trout, the black bass is something of an acquired taste. They lack the trout’s fussiness and intolerance of sloppy presentation and will engulf gaudy and oversize lures which a trout would consider an insult to its intelligence. To anybody who has had to tolerate repeated refusals because a dry fly is size 16 rather than 18, or because it sits in the surface film in a manner judged unacceptable, or because an imperceptible amount of drag prevents a natural drift, this willingness to play ball can come as something of a relief. To my way of thinking, the black bass is something like the boyfriend of your teenage daughter who, within minutes of being invited into your house, has his feet on the coffee table and is eyeing up the drinks cabinet. At first he may seem like an unworthy lout but, in spite of yourself, you soon warm to him and, before you know it, you find yourself asking him to fetch you a beer as he helps himself to another from your fridge.

It is easy to imagine of these fish, as they hide in and around submerged branches, or hover at the edge of vertical drop offs, as menacing criminals lurking in dark alleyways and whatever piece of drama is enacted in their hidden world, they are sure to be cast in the role of villain. The smaller bass, hanging out in gangs, are full of bravado as though keen to make an impression on their peers like teenage kids from rough neighbourhoods. But as they age and grow they dispense with their friends and the big fish lead solitary lives among the submerged structures which offer the most promising territories. To my way of thinking, the bass represents the criminal underclass of the reservoir. The shoals are gangs. The fish are thugs. The real lunkers are notorious sons of bitches, occupying prime real estate and hovering menacingly in the flickering shadows of the underworld.”

By the way, if you see some odd words in the text of this post which are in a different colour or seem to lead you off towards some advert or whatever please ignore them. There seems to be a little gremlin in the system. Unfortunately I am pretty thick when it comes to sorting out problems like this and so I will await the input of somebody a little more switched on – my wife!

I got a message from a person whose initials I only know as JT, a brother angler who is interested in fishing Concepción. I replied to this comment (I hope it got through!) but if JT didn´t see my response I would be delighted to help or offer some advice if I can. Just let me know!

This is the "Cinderella" of the two bass flies I tied up for Concepción. It was her ugly sister that I used on Sunday and I am too ashamed of this scrawny fly to include its photo. The bass seemed to like it though.

This is the “Cinderella” of the two bass flies I tied up for Concepción. It was her ugly sister that I used on Sunday and I am too ashamed of this scrawny fly to include its photo. The bass seemed to like it though.