Recently I have been battling with some fish which have been quite intent on burying themselves in snags. It happened on Sunday up in Extremadura when I was fishing with Colin McLachlan and it happened again today on my local river.

Many of the big reservoirs throughout Spain are pretty low just now. There is no sign of the autumn rains and the temperature is unseasonably high. On the reservoirs, Colin and I were fishing the margins and, as luck would have it, the fish on one of these reservoirs liked to hang out in the vicinity of sunken trees. I managed to get a couple on Sunday morning from the zone with the trees. The first very obligingly battled it out in relatively open water but the second headed straight for the trees and then everything went solid.

I am loath to break off and don´t like the idea of leaving a hook in a fish if I can possibly avoid it or, worse still, leave it tethered to some kind of obstruction. It is one of the reasons I prefer barbless flies. So when attached to something solid, like a tree, I will try to wade out to make sure the fish is freed. On Sunday that second fish was still on when I arrived at the snag and he was duly landed and returned.

Today on the Guadalhorce I hooked a good fish on the same dry fly as both of Sunday´s fish and he headed straight into rushes on the far side. So I went into the river after him and spent some time wrestling with the fish among the rushes. More often than not the fish will have left the fly embedded in the stems of plants. This is a nifty trick of theirs, which I much admire. But today the fish somehow stayed on and, after following the leader with my hands into the heart of the reeds, I felt the fish buried inside. There was little prospect of straightening out the leader and landing it in a conventional way as the leader had been wrapped around so so many stems so I simply followed the leader with my hand until I made contact with the head of the barbel. Finally I made out shape of the the unseen fish, put my hands under its belly and lifted it out. The fly was then removed in situ before I waded out into the river to take a quick photo. Then the fish was on his way without further incident.

Never a dull moment!


After all our wrestling I managed to get him out. He was a nice fish too!


This was the second of three fish. He took a little nymph and was better behaved!


After I had released the first fish I wandered back to where I had abandoned the rod. If you have sharp eyes you can just make out the rod sticking out of the water in the foreground . It looks remarkably like the rushes but you can just make out the yellow fly line! The fish was somehow extracted from this lot after swimming around and about the various stems.