My wife has X ray eyes. She can take one look at me and see right into my soul. She can see through anyone but not as well as she can see through me. There is no point lying to her and I can forget trying to keep any secrets. She knows the thoughts that rattle around in my head better than I do.

So she was not surprised that, when I said I might take a look at the river this morning, on the way back from Málaga, I did a little more than see how the river was clearing after heavy rain. I disappeared fishing.

Sometimes you go fishing and sometimes you just end up fishing. I had had an early appointment to have my ancient Renault inspected (it had been patched up after failing its earlier technical inspection) and was having a cafe con leche and a pitufo mixtot at Café Europa at about 9.00 in the morning when it occurred to me that nothing much would be happening at home and that the river was nearby. Why not go and see what kind of shape it is in? On the telly there was a report on the flooding in Málaga last weekend. They were putting the cost of damage at 32 million euros.

In the end I decided to look in on the Río Grande a short way upstream of its confluence with the Guadalhorce. The river was looking clear even though it was carrying a lot of water. It was on the way down. It even looked fishable and, since my fishing gear lives in the back of the car, I rigged up my rod and headed off exploring.

The rough track that runs tight to the river had been largely washed away by the floodwater and so I couldn´t drive along. So I parked up and headed upstream on foot. Most of where I walked had been recently underwater. The sediment had been scoured out between the stones of the former track and a new carpet of mud had been deposited where the currents had been slow. It was fresh and smooth. Before I left my footprints in it there were prints only of a dog and a few, very few, wading birds.

The river was clear enough to see fish but they didn´t seem to want to reveal themselves and so I abandoned the prospect of stalking, tied on an indicator, and fished the seams of fast water and shallow inlet of pools. The fish were there and I hooked four of them but the first two came off. The couple of fish that I landed seemed like a fair return from a river that is continuing to carry a lot of water.

The barbel are fond of inflows into larger pools and will often hold tight into the head of the pool and some way downstream. In the water within a couple of feet of the sill of a pool like this a fish came up and nosed against the yarn indicator I was using. It was the only fish I saw. Steve Lawler keeps trying to persuade me to fish big dries (some abomination like a Chernobyl Ant) and I have largely resisted, but it might well be that I might have taken that particular fish on a dry.

On the way back to the car I felt the inevitable pang of guilt that accompanies trips to the river that had not been given the appropriate clearance by the authorities. When I phoned home to say that I was on my way back and that I had succumbed to the temptation to fish the Río Grande, I was told that my wife already knew where I was.

This time it was more than just her X ray vision. She has an app on her phone that can track me if I happen to have my phone with me. When I spoke to her she said that she knew exactly where I was. She was even able to say that I had been IN and not just AT the river and, of course she knew exactly where.

So I can have no secrets from my wife. What´s new?


This is one of a couple of gypsy barbel that I landed. It took a little bead head nymph.