My son Leo gave me a present of a nifty little hip flask and, a little while back, Johan Terblanche gave me a nice bottle of South African brandy. And so, I put two and two together and decided to pour what was left of the brandy into the hip flask and then go looking for something to celebrate.

What better to celebrate than the capture and release of a nice fish?

So I was off to the Guadalhorce yesterday afternoon with rod in hand and flask in pocket. I made what turned out to be a dumb choice about where to go. The stretch of river that I last fished with Frank Huisman back in June when it was decidedly off colour, was off colour again. It was worse than that. The river smelled bad and had obviously been suffering some kind of pollution.

Despite there being no realistic fishing prospects, my visit to this stretch was not altogether time wasted because I managed to spot three glossy ibis on the wing and they went on to land in the shallow water they prefer some way upstream. In short order they began to feed. I supposed they settled some 40 metres away and I struggled to take a photographs. The pictures are not everything you might wish for but I didn´t want to risk going closer and scaring the birds.

The glossy ibis, Europe´s only breeding ibis, is doing pretty well here in Spain and an increase in population seems to be taking place in Andalucía. Who knows it may become a more familiar sight in the future? They are beautiful birds so I hope so.

Having established that I needed to up sticks and find a new piece of river I headed for my “home” stretch and went looking for the fish which would give me an excuse to neck some of Johan´s brandy.

I was fortunate enough to find a little “pod” of cruising fish as soon as I reached the river and one of them duly obliged by taking a little pheasant tail nymph. This fish was one of two that I succeeded in extricating from the river. The second fish took the same fly and I got the impression initially that it was a much bigger barbel than it was. It was hooked in the vicinity of big rocks and branches and I really had to keep it under a tight reign before it decided to make a determined run downstream into more open water.

I had it in mind that it was a substantial barbel because it fought with that doggedness that big fish often show and so I followed by wading down the river, in the process scaring the shit out of anything swimming nearby. I beached it in the end and took a quick snap before the fish was returned to the river.

And then I went reaching for the brandy!


The glossy ibis feed in very shallow water and take worms and leaches and various aquatic insects and snails. They were quite a long way away so I struggled to get a good photo!



Here´s one with a head!


I never saw this fish until well into the fight. I thought he was bigger! Obviously he shrank while I was playing him.

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A river with fish in it and a hip flask with brandy in it. What more do you need?