You can do worse than spend a day afloat with a few fellow fishing nuts. I have done this many times on the big limestone loughs in Ireland with my brother Sean and our friend Mark McCann. When the fishing has been slow, as it often is, we have enjoyed the kind of verbal exchanges that only a bunch of inveterate bullshitters can provide.

At the beginning of October I had a chance to join Steven Lawler, Keith Baxter and Antonio Lloreda and fish from a boat once again. This time though trout was not our quarry. Instead we were out after black bass in a reservoir in Jaen called Embalse del Encinarejo.

You can equip a bass boat with a million kinds of gizmos and sophisticated electronics. Ours didn´t have everything but it had just what we needed. The boat belongs to our guide Antonio and was designed with fly fishermen in mind. There are casting platforms fore and aft. Between them sits the driver and whoever of the three fishermen is waiting for his turn.

The bass fishing itself was pretty straightforward. The boat does its “long hops” using a conventional outboard but the maneuvering when fishing is done with an electric outboard. The idea is to keep the boat broadside on to the shore and let the fishermen cast right up to the edge and work their poppers in and around the marginal weed beds.

We fished a reservoir which is “topped up” from another reservoir further “uphill” and so the level is maintained and it does not undergo a prolonged drop in level over the dry months which characterizes most of the reservoirs closer to home. I guess this stability in level allows the bass to take up residence in preferred areas and there were certainly heaps of fish there for the taking.

I don´t know how many fish we caught. After a while we stopped counting, or at least I did. It has to be said though that there were no giants among the fish we caught. There are some real lunkers to be found in this particular reservoir but we were not fated to get acquainted with them.

One interesting aspect of fly fishing from the boat is that it is easier to cast a longer line than from the float tube and, from a more elevated vantage point, it is possible to see how the fish respond to the presence and the movement of the popper. Very often the fish took after the popper was left undisturbed and the lesson I took away was to slow everything right down and to cast hard into the shore.

So did Keith and Steven prove to be inveterate bullshitters too? Of course they did! When you spend a day afloat chasing after fish it just seems to come with the territory.


Cool dudes


The monsters eluded us but here is Keith with a respectable bass.


From left to right: Antonio, Keith and Steve. When I took this photo we had all taken some bass and had just had some lunch and a beer. No wonder everyone is looking happy.