Archive for August, 2016

Every now and then I come across another fisherman´s box of flies and think to myself “Christ, I wish I could tie a few like that!”

That was certainly true of Mariano Alcaide´s flies. These live in various multi-compartment fly boxes in orderly rows and remind me of soldiers on parade during an inspection. My own flies do not march in line and are merely tossed into compartments of a couple of fly boxes. They look less like soldiers on parade than battlefield casualties in the bloody aftermath of some military catastrophe. Continue reading

My son Leo has been at home for the summer but he is soon off to London for a work placement with PWC as part of his degree course at York. Despite having been here for several weeks we never managed to organize a fishing trip. This evening we put this right. Continue reading

Back in June a few of us got together to do a little trout fishing in Jaen over a weekend and one of the aficionados attending that event was Mariano Alcaide. Mariano has an apartment in Fuengirola which he uses in August and, since he was just down the road we decided it might be fun to wet a line on the Guadalhorce. Continue reading

One time my friend Harry Abbott got himself badly stuck in mud in a tidal section of the Clutha River in New Zealand. He realized that the incoming tide would drown him if he couldn´t free himself. In desperation he hollered like hell and was eventually rescued by his fishing buddy, David Blair. This is a story he Harry has kept from his wife for fear of having further adventures curtailed although I did let the cat out of the bag in my book Dry River. Continue reading

Today I had a chance to pick up some bass flies that Johan Terblanche very kindly tied for me. I was away from home during his recent visit but he was good enough to leave them with some nearby friends and when I dropped in on them today to collect my daughter who had spent the night there, I was duly given the flies. Continue reading

A couple of weeks ago we treated ourselves to a few nights away in Andalucía and Extremadura. We started out in Sevilla and moved on to Zafra and Trujillo, both in Extremadura, before returning home via a town called Palma del Río in the province of Córdoba. We were lucky enough to visit some lovely places but the cream of the crop turned out to be a former Franciscan monastery in Palma del Río which has now become a hotel. Columbus himself stayed here after one of his journeys to the New World but I don´t know which of his voyages or what year this was. Continue reading

An odd thing happened a couple of weeks ago. We put our names down for a friendly padel event at our local padel courts. This was a competition of sorts (winners were promoted, losers demoted and their was a lot of swapping around of players). The most interesting thing was not the tournament, though, or any of the players. It was the birds.

When we arrived at the courts there was a Harris hawk sitting on a post and a barn owl on the ground. Another hawk was also nearby. As it happens all three birds belonged to a local falconer who was competing in the padel tournament with us, and the three birds were tethered while their owner was out on court working up a sweat. Continue reading

Two good things happened today. The first is that the broken rod that I sent off to Orvis came back. As it happens it is not just the old rod fixed up but a shiny new rod of the same vintage: Clearwater 10 foot, 4 piece for a 4 weight line. Orvis say that if they can´t repair your rod they will replace it with a similar model and they provide their rods with a 20 year guarantee.

I have to say I was very impressed with Orvis. I had bought the original rod about 3 or 4 years ago but the “thick end” behind the reel seat came apart exposing the blank. This rod was originally purchased from the US and I never filled out all the paperwork for the warranty. Nevertheless the Orvis repair people in the UK didn´t kick up a stink and charged only the usual 20 pound handling fee. They were courteous and efficient and I am much obliged to them.

The discovery of a bottle of beer was the second good thing that happened. One of the benefits of never tidying out a car is that there´s a pretty good chance that stuff that was in it once will still be there – somewhere. Sometimes too you can make the odd serendipitous discovery as I did today when I came across a litre bottle of Alhambra lager. This stowaway was obviously the legacy of a recent trip to the supermarket and it succeeded in concealing itself among the assorted debris while the rest of the shopping was being carted off to the kitchen.  Today´s discovery could not have happened at a better time. At home I am all out of beer.

The Alhambra is now cooling down in the fridge. This evening, when the heat of the day is easing, I will remove it and pour myself a nice cold pint and propose a toast to the Orvis fishing tackle company.



I took a picture of myself holding the new fly rod. The rod looks fine, the reel looks dirty (it is) and I look like a gorilla!


Orvis cleverly put their name on the reel seat and so guys like me give them quite a lot of free advertising!


Just a matter of time!

Continue reading

It has been a few years since I visited the National Park at Montfragüe in Extremadura but the chance arose last week and I didn´t let it go begging. Montfragüe is about half an hour´s drive north of Trujillo and runs in an east-west direction. The Río Tajo passes through it on its westward journey, ultimately to the Atlantic close to the city of Lisbon. In the National Park at Montfragüe the Tajo meets one of its major tributaries, the Tietar which joins it from the Northeast.

The Tagus is a hell of a river. It is over 1000km long making it the longest River in the Iberian Peninsula. About two thirds of the river runs through Spain before passing into Portugal. At Montfragüe it is already a very sizeable river although there it is a little constricted by an ancient seam of Ordovician rock at the famous Salto de Gitano. Here the Tajo struggles to push through the unyielding rock which is thrown into vertical cliffs. The skies here are full of vultures. Continue reading

Women in swimsuits

If you are a regular reader of this blog you might well imagine its author to be some kind of Neanderthal throwback who creeps around muddy riverbanks on the lookout for some dumb fish to catch. To be honest, if that´s the view you take, you would not be too far off the mark. But I will have you know that I am coming up in the world. Things are looking up. As evidence of this I am pleased to announce that I am now mixing with the social elite of Marbella and have perfected the knack of pouting my lips and throwing my hair around in an alluring manner.

Only the other night I was at Marbella´s glitzy Starlite venue. My wife was partaking in some kind of corporate hospitality thing and had an invitation for free cocktails and an open air concert. Her invitation included a partner and, needing a dynamic and glamorous socialite to accompany her, her thoughts quite naturally turned to me. Continue reading