I guess I could go blaming the horses for my unsuccessful stint on the river yesterday afternoon. There were horses everywhere and often they were being ridden right down the middle of the river which does´t make life any easier for a fly fisherman trying to sneak up on a fish. There was at least one occasion when I got myself into a promising situation or began to work some nice looking water when, all of a sudden the four or more horsemen of the apocalypse would come galloping over and scare the síit out of everything in the river including me!


Some horses at the Romería

Yesterday was Romería and people and horses are converging on the river from all over the place. Horses and decorated carriages would arrive in a loose convoy and the guardía civil would stop traffic on the busy A357 to let them continue to the river.

The main gathering was in the vicinity of the confluence of the Ríos Grande and Guadalhorce which is a favourite fishing spot of mine and also to closest part of the river, as the crow flies, to our house in the campo.

If you ever have a chance to visit a Romería don´t pass it up. And if you ever want to see a woman who is just about as beautiful as you can imagine a woman to be you should visit a Romería or one of the big fiestas in Andalucía. You will find her there, sitting side-saddle and is likely dressed in the traditional style. In her you can see such an extraordinary synthesis of elegance and mystery that it can make your throat feel dry.

I have lived in Andalucía for the best part of 20 years. I can make myself understood here and go about my business using reasonably passable Spanish. In many respects it would be fair to say that, as a family, we have integrated pretty well. But whenever I go to a Romería I feel as if I am an intruder. The people do not do anything to make me feel this way. Andalucíans are warm-hearted people. If I wandered up to the beer tent, beside which riders tie up their their horses, they would happily serve me a beer and I would nod happily to the other customers. Nobody would be particularly bothered, or particularly interested, one way or another. But I don´t tend to do this. These folks are continuing traditions I never grew up with. The Romería is for them, not me.

After taking in the sights of the Romería I headed away to see if I could catch a fish or two. The Río Grande is looking good at the moment but it seemed to be heaving with people and so I headed a couple of kilometres downstream on the Guadalhorce to find a relatively quiet stretch. Unfortunately it wash´t quiet enough. There were picnickers everywhere and horses trotting around. Despite this I did cover plenty of river but saw and cast to relatively few fish. There was perhaps only one gypsy barbel I had a reasonable shot at. I drifted my nymph down to him a few times. He was difficult to see clearly and I was relying on him turning on the nymph to show he had gone for it. But after a few attempts he drifted away downstream and was gone. The shallow where a few fish might be expected were devoid of fish and the deeper water was carrying just enough colour to make fish difficult to see. It was soon clear that it was not going to be my day.

And I can´t blame the horses.


Or maybe a little bit!