There are no signs yet of the rains that autumn usually brings and that breathe a little new life into the river. The reduced flows have tended to push fish into areas which can be difficult to access but they are still there and  can still be taken. This fishing is challenging but good and so I leapt at a chance to go to the river on Saturday once I had returned from dropping my daughter to friends on the coast.

By the time I arrived was not too much of the day left, but enough to take a fish or two perhaps. The stretch I favour is quite shallow and muddy. If you wade you leave behind each footfall billowing clouds of black mud which drift downstream in the slow current. The banks are often densely covered in canes and so wading is necessary in many places.

In the end I had a single fish from close to the canes on the far bank and it immediately made for the cover of these plants before turning tail and heading off downstream. If you have been lucky enough to catch one you will know that the first few seconds are quite frantic when you are attached to a gypsy barbel. They run very hard and they can cover quite a distance before you get the brakes on them. This particular fish dragged my fly line into the canes on the opposite side and so the fish was in one place and the line from the rod top going to another! Luckily there was sufficient give in the rushes that the fish could still take line and I managed to wade across to get the fly line out of the rushes only to discover that the fish had pulled off the same stunt again and I had to wade out to the next set of snags to repeat the exercise.

That was it as far as fish were concerned. I persevered in the hope of taking another but the fish were having none of it. It was well worth doing though because I was rewarded with the sight of two kingfishers flying close overhead, turquoise bullets catching the last of the sun´s rays.

After I had called it a day and was returning to the car I heard the commotion of heavy animals and was lucky enough to see nine wild boar run across the stony path I was following. I had seen them emerge from a bank of canes and run down to a flooded section where gravel is being excavated. The boar passed through this and crossed the road to disappear in a bank of canes by the river. Interestingly, the boar crossed the road one at a time even though there was a pretty substantial herd. There were both pale and very dark coloured individuals.

It occurred to me, as I was returning to the car in the dying light, that the river provides a real wilderness here in the heart of the Guadalhorce valley precisely because it provides an open corridor for wildlife which is free from our destructive habit of fencing and partitioning land. It is no coincidence that the boar are abundant here because they have space and freedom to roam which is denied them in almost every part of the surrounding countryside.

Fences, it seems to me, have a lot to answer for.


He didn´t come quietly!


You can get a feel for how shallow the river is here. The fish took just out of the canes on the far side and he was into them within a couple of seconds.