Grandad gave me a hat for Christmas. It is the kind of hat a Yorkshire sheep farmer might wear and Grandad has one just like it himself. Grandad has only a modest sprinkling of hair on his head and tells me that it is a great hat for keeping your head warm.

I was delighted with the hat and can vouch for its head-warming effectiveness having now taken it for several test outings in and around London. It even sailed through the wind test which involves walking along Wimbledon High Street in storm force conditions without the hat taking to the air.

Of course the acid test for any hat is whether it helps you to catch more fish. So today, on my first day back in Spain, I took it to the Río Grande to see how it measured up in the sternest test of them all.

The hat had a slow start. I hooked a good fish which came off and when I examined my nymph I discovered that the hook had broken and only the dressed hook shank remained. It´s probably a bit harsh to blame the hat for this but hats are more than just headwear. They have the potential to be harbingers of good fortune.

On the next pool upstream the hat upped its game and allowed me to catch my first fish of the year. It was followed by three more, all from the same pool and all taken on nymphs. The fish were tricky to spot and only the first two were sight-fished. The next two were taken by allowing the nymph to work through productive water. One gave itself away by producing a little tug at the end of the fly line. I was able to connect with the other by staying in touch with the nymph.

Funnily enough a hat is more important in fly fishing than you might think. Spotting fish through polarised sunglasses is much easier if your eyes are shaded and better still if the brim of the hat is of a dark colour, preferably black. Grandad´s hat has a dark brim and seems to do the rick quite nicely.

Four fish at this time of year is a pretty decent return and so it looks as if Grandad´s hat has given a very good account of itself. My old leather fishing hat provided very good shade but seems to have shrunk over the years (unless my head has expanded!) It is now too tight-fitting for comfort and so has been forced into an early retirement.

It looks like the hat that Grandad gave me might be the one. It may be too early to say, but the omens are looking good. The hat and I may be at the beginning of what I hope may turn out to be a happy and enduring partnership.



Grandad´s hat does more than make me look very suave! It is shaping up to be a first rate fishing hat. This gypsy barbel is my first fish of 2018 and was followed by three more.


This is number three.


This is number four being returned to the water. Hasta la vista Baby!


I am sad to have to retire my old hat. We had many happy adventures!