There is a lot to be said for goats. They wander round in flocks ringing their little bells. I bump into them on the river all the time and yesterday after I was done fishing I followed a herd back to the car where we parted company. I don´t know how many there were and, frankly, I had better things to do than count the damn things. This is not an easy job anyway. They move around a lot and so you could end up counting the same goat twice or maybe miss one completely. This is a job best left to specialists, in my opinion, or to insomniacs who find the counting of ruminants helpful in ameliorating the stresses caused by sleeplessness.

Of course goats have their detractors too. Conservationists are quick to remind us that they can wreak havoc if they get half a chance. I remember feral goats on one of the Galapagos Islands that made a nuisance of themselves by munching everything that was green and in the process of chomping their way through all this greenery they threatened one of the endemic species of tortoises. The goats were eradicated finally by a bunch of gung ho marskmen flown in from New Zealand who shot them with rifles from helicopters between yahoos and high fives. The great lumbering tortoises presumably looked on with reptilian indifference from within the safety of their own armored carriages.

The Guadalhorce goats of course are relatively benign creatures. They just do what goats do best, which is to eat basically. It is nice to see that the flocks remain reasonably common and the goatherds continue to ply a trade that has deep history here. It must be a pretty marginal way of scraping a living and you´re not likely to see any of these guys driving Lamborghinis around Puerto Banús. The bond between the goatherds and their animals is a strong one and I hope that there is a younger generation waiting in the wings to carry on after the current incumbents are themselves put out to fodder.

The goats were one of a couple of interesting distractions on the way back from the river. The other was a number of clouds masquerading as alien spacecraft. They were disc shaped and fluffy and they invasion they threatened seemed like it might be quite a lot of fun.

The fly fishing was fun too. The river seems to have thinned and cleared nicely following heavy downpours earlier in the week. I had a gypsy barbel early on but decided it might be a good laugh to have a crack at some carp and I managed to catch a few further downstream.

Barbel seem to prefer smaller nymphs. Size 14 would probably be my first choice for barbel but you might have a better shot at carp if you go bigger, simply because the fish have a better chance of seeing it. Guadalhorce carp remind me of our old dog Brutus who we inherited from a local farmer. In his youth Brutus came out the worse from an altercation with a truck and he is stone deaf and blind in one eye. He has a mighty nose though and the compromised functioning of his other major senses don´t seem to have fazed him one little bit.

If the carp, as I suspect, interact with their world Brutus-style a nymph needs to be put right in front of them if they are going to take it.

So there we have it. Another fine afternoon on the river with a few fish caught and returned.  I even managed to make it home safely without being abducted by aliens although this time it might have been a pretty close thing.


First up was this handsome Gypsy Barbel.


This was one of five carp that I took a little further downstream.

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I narrowly avoided alien abduction on the way home.