I treated myself to a pint on the way home from the river yesterday. On balance, I probably deserved one. There have been few opportunities to fish in recent weeks and even yesterday I barely managed to negotiate my exit pass. I was down for the shopping run but Catriona told me I could head off to the river for a couple of hours as long as I cleaned out the fridge first.

At the river the water was up a little and running just a milky side of clear and so few fish could be seen. The best bet seemed to be to wait at a point where a shallow run emptied into a deeper steady flow and hope that a fish might appear in the margins. One or two did this. The first one I spooked because the nymph landed a little too close. Sometimes they turn on a nymph when it lands close to them but more often they turn tail. The second time round I got the nymph into a pretty tight spot where a fish had edged out of the main current. It moved over and covered the nymph and I gave it a second or so and lifted.

The barbel on this river run like steam trains initially and so the first few seconds there is not much you can do but hang on. The problem with my fish was that this initial rush put it into dangerous territory. If it decided to continue to run hard downstream I was going to have my work cut out to land it. There were branches and canes intruding over the river and I would need to negotiate a pretty narrow gap to stay in touch. What´s more the vegetation was dense on the far side and the fish would be tempted to get in among it.

In the end my best option was to just hold the fish where it was and let the rod take the strain and thankfully the fish held its position until I tired it sufficiently to land it in the shallows at my feet.

This was a beautiful fish. As I held it in the water to get my camera ready, it felt solid and was broad across the back. With the picture taken I slipped it back into the current and it was on its way.

So I reckoned I was worth my pint in the end. Just one fish – but a fish on a hard day is a welcome sight. A lot of things had to go in my favour to catch it, and, thankfully on this occasion they did. With the fish safely returned there was little fishing light and so I pushed my way  across a cut and climbed a bank to find a track that lead me back to the car through a grove of eucalyptus and, as the last of the sunlight reached only the tops of their chalky trunks and uppermost branches, my own slice of Andalucía felt like a good place to be.




This handsome fish was the only one I managed to catch but I was delighted with it.



The muddied water in the foreground was where the fish was beached, unhooked and released. The two of us slugged it out just in front of where it was landed. The trailing branches downstream would have caused all kinds of trouble if the fish had been allowed to run there.



This is the weird looking nymph the fish took. It was tied on a size 14 barbless hook. That red stuff is actually some of my daughter´s nail varnish that I added to make the the brass beads a little more subdued.