On the first day of October I was fortunate enough to spend a few hours fishing the upper Guadalquivir with Steven Lawler and Keith Baxter under the expert tutelage of Antonio Lloreda. The fish here will rise to dries but the most consistent way to catch them, particularly in the earlier part of the day, is on little nymphs and it was a real eye opener to see how effective this approach can be.

This style of nymph fishing is extensively used here but was pretty new to me and so I was keen to record what I remember of the techniques involved for future reference.

One interesting feature is that there is no fly line in play. Any fly line you have is likely to stay on the reel and casting is facilitated by the modest weight of the nymphs themselves. Antonio set us up by putting 8 metres or so of a low diameter but highly visible yellow line onto the ends of our fly lines or leaders. Onto the yellow stuff he attached a short leader which included very small curly red indicator. We fished two nymphs, both “perdigon” style with the heavier nymph on the dropper and a pretty small nymph on the point, size 16 maybe. Interestingly, almost all of the trout were taken on the point fly. The entire leader length might have been about 7 feet and the flies perhaps 3 feet apart.

The little team is cast across the stream and fished as slowly and deeply as possible. It took me a while to get the hang of this but by the end, with a fair few trout under my belt, I thought I was doing okay although it is quite a revelation to see the nymphs being fished very well by someone like Antonio. When he fishes he is in direct contact with his nymphs from the moment they touch down but he lets them work slowly. He generally gets his flies to work through the water on the far bank and pays particular attention to the little features that better fish might find attractive. The rod is rotated a little in the hand and so the line is felt and any interest can be registered by touch as well as in looking to the indicator.

There are plenty of overhanging trees and other obstacles and so it is often necessary to be pretty “tidy.” There were a couple of lessons that I learned. The first was how to strike correctly. An upward strike can get your terminal gear intimately acquainted with overhead branches if you miss and so it was better to “tap” the fly back in a downstream direction. The second lesson was the usefulness of the bow and arrow cast, which can make it possible to get a nymph into water where a conventional cast is not possible.

We fished the river until the levels began to rise as a result of water discharge from a reservoir upstream. Three fishermen is a lot for this bit of water and so we tended to leap frog one another, picking up fish from most of the fishable water we met.

When finally we got back to the car we were all very pleased with how things had gone. Between us we had taken and released around 40 trout and all in beautiful surroundings. In addition, the techniques we had learned from Antonio were likely to be very useful elsewhere.

Antonio had the foresight to pack a few beers and stash them in a cool box in the back of his car and, as we each drank a Cruzcampo in the olive grove where we had parked up, we reflected on how good it was to have spent a few hours wading along a beautiful Andalucían trout stream in fine company catching and releasing spirited wild trout.


Men on a mission: (from left to right) Antonio Lloreda, Steve Lawler and Keith Baxter.


Antonio took this one. I´m the good-looking one in the middle.


Automatic reels like this one are popular here. These ones were mdd in Italy.


We caught plenty of trout like this one.


Looking upstream