A couple of weeks back Steve Lawler and I headed off to Extremadura to see if there were any fish swimming around up there and to meet up with some fly fishermen who had been up there for a few days. These guys had abandoned the grim weather in Scotland to find equally grim weather in Extremadura. But these were hardy types and not given to complaining. Fishing, if it teaches you nothing else, will help you to be philosophical and reminds us to keep our expectations in check.

Back in the Roman times if some all-conquering “imperator” returned to Rome after some gloriously successful military campaign, some miserable slave was given the job of reminding him that he was still mortal just so that he wouldn´t go getting any silly ideas about his own importance.

“Remember thou art mortal!” the slave would say.

In these more enlightened times most of us don´t have slaves or filthy plebs to do this kind of thing for us. So we go off fishing in the rain instead. Rain, particularly when accompanied by cold weather and slow fishing, serves admirably as a means of reminding us to keep both feet on the ground or that life is not always just fun and games.

The fishing party had experienced a few days of “mortality-reminding” weather before we joined them and the gods were sending more of the same for the following day. But this was never going to deter hardy types like us.

On the Saturday we fished a huge reservoir close to the border with Portugal. It has the formidable name of Embalse de José María de Oriol-Alcántara II, although I´m sure there are less daunting alternative names for it. The Tagus river flows through this thing en route to its rendezvous with the Atlantic Ocean in Lisbon and there heaps of fish in it. On the day we fished it the carp were in spawning mood and didn´t really want anything to do with us although Colin, to his credit, did catch one.

Dave and Colin and Fred had to leave in the afternoon to make it for an overnight stay in Madrid before flying to Edinburgh the next day. No doubt they will be back again and it would be very nice to have a chance to meet up when they return.

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The Extremadura fishing party. From left to right: Steve Lawler, Fred Carrie, Colin McLachlan, and Dave Felce. Fred runs an excellent fly fishing forum which can be accessed via this link: http://www.wildfisher.co.uk/smf/index.php?action=forum