Only an idiot would venture out fishing in the afternoon heat here in Andalucía and so it will come as no surprise that I spent a few happy hours on the banks of the Guadalhorce yesterday afternoon and followed this up by a bit more of the same today! The worry at this time of the year is that the fish succumb to same lethargic mood as the rest of us – a sort of dull torpor that descends like a fog of anaesthetic when the heat of summer begins to kick in.

As it happens though the fish were reasonably active and at least a few were willing to show an interest in the nymphs and dry flies I offered them. I had a few barbel on a little foam beetle and others on nymphs but the carp, even in the shallows, were not prepared to look up and will ignore a dry fly drifting just above them. These carp are both fun and infuriating. They are slow to scare if you approach with caution and a fish will often settle and “work” a patch of river bed producing a cloud of silt that drifts down-current. Today I dropped a nymph in front of the noses of several fish doing just this and they showed no interest at all and most eventually just drifted off to another part of the river. Thankfully perseverance paid off and I managed one with a nymph.

It seems to be worth alternating nymph and dry fly sometimes. A barbel at the top will often take a dry but the cruisers just off the banks are more likely to take a little nymph. I have tended to fish nymphs almost exclusively for the last few seasons but this year I am persevering with the dry and doing reasonably well.

An interesting thing happened today. I landed a large mirror carp which is the first I have come across in the river. Most of the carp are fully scaled commons although I remember my friend Norman Smith, who knows this river better than anybody, telling me that his first Guadalhorce carp was a mirror also. I must make a disclaimer here: I cannot claim to have caught this fish “properly” as It was hooked at the base of the pectoral fin. This fish was one of a small group that I sneaked up on. I had to make a longish cast because I had no cover and trying to get closer would likely have spooked them all. When the nymph landed just ahead of the group and then things tightened a few seconds later I thought I had taken him fair and square but I did not which is a shame because he was a very large fish for this river.

This river teaches you to be patient, if nothing else. It teaches you to be philosophical too. My two best carp this year came off during the fight and today´s fish was foul hooked. I hope my luck changes soon!


Most of the carp in the river are fully-scaled commons. This one which I caught this morning is fairly typical.

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An unusual capture – a mirror carp.


The gypsy barbel are much more frequently caught. This one took a little nymph after I had spotted it cruising in deepish water just off a grassy margin.