On Thursday I opened my annual account with the carp on my local river, the Guadalhorce. I made a single withdrawal of what I imagine was about five pounds, or maybe a little more. It was a typically spirited fish and slugged it out like a heavyweight before I managed to ease into the bankside shallows and beach it.

The carp took a little nymph with a bead head but with a highly conspicuous coloured tail – little strand of pink rubber. The “tail” was not very long, perhaps half the length of the hook shank. I was tempted to use the word “fluorescent” to describe this little coloured strand although it is probably not technically correct to do so. The idea is that the fish is grubbing around often in sediment disturbed by its own activity and the brightly coloured tail calls attention to the nymph. The bead head should settle deepest and the little tail, in the “up” position should just make itself seen.

I tied this thing up having come across a very similar fly tied up in the US. It was flagged up as a possible saviour for those occasions when the fish have their noses down and it is hard to figure out what they are up to or, crucially, when the conditions of water clarity make the whole enterprise something of a guessing game.  It was interesting, when I came across an account of this fly, to hear that it should be tied in smallish sizes. I tied mine on a size 14 hook.

This carp was a little way upstream of me when I spotted him and he seemed to be feeding. There was a little current flowing and so the fly needed to go a little way upstream. I could barely make out the fish but the splash of the fly hitting the water suggested that it was more or less where it was supposed to be.

It was then a question of estimating when the fish would have had sufficient time to see the fly and, hopefully, to accept it. This is one of those moments when time stands still. It is like trying to get my aged car started on a cold morning. The key needs to be turned part way in the ignition for what seems like an absurd amount of time before it can be turned fully and the car, if its in the right frame of mind, stutters into life.

Getting a carp which is grubbing around the river bottom to accept your fly, particularly when it is going about its business with very little sense of urgency, is pretty hit and miss affair. Often, despite your best efforts, the fish is lined or spooked in the process. Yesterday though I was on the money and when I lifted the rod pretty gently everything tightened up and battle commenced.

I was on my way back to the car when I spotted this carp. I knew that shouldn´t really be distracted by any fish, having used up my allocation of time. I was supposed to be on my way to collect my wife from Málaga.

But what can you do? The fish was there. Surely it was worth a speculative cast or two? I realised that having a crack at the fish was likely to make me late for my rendezvous with the missus but there are less worthy reasons for ending up in the dog house and this was not the first, nor was it likely to become the last fish to come between me and my spouse.

So, keeping an eye on the olive oval outline of the fish that could just be distinguished from the olive floor of the river, I retired the foam ant that had fooled some barbel and swapped it for the little nymph. And, luckily for me, things all panned out. The five pounds or so that I had withdrawn was deposited one again and my account was in credit for the day.

Sometimes this river yield more of its treasures than other times. In addition to the fish, I was lucky enough to see a swimming otter and had earlier disturbed a hare, concealed in thick grass, that went bounding off into the distance. And finally, just as the carp was back home trying to make sense of what had just happened to him, I got to witness a flyover display by six glossy ibis. At first I thought they were cormorants as cormorants are quite common on this stretch, but the downward sloping narrow beaks gave the game away. Never breaking formation, they came closer, passed overhead, and then continued on their way downstream into the distance.

It occurred to me, when I finally did begin my traipse through the citrus groves en route to the car that, at that moment, there was nowhere else on earth I would rather have been. The possibility of getting ticked off for running late would be a small price to pay for moments like these ones. Giving her husband an earful is little more than performing a time-honoured ritual for any wife. No doubt Catriona would have done this to me, even if for no better reason than ensuring marital traditions are kept alive. In the end I was only a little late and was only mildly rebuked.

But it was well worth it for that carp.

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The carp was the last of eight fish which included a mullet (my first from the Guadalhorce), as well as six nice barbel. The first of the barbel was probably over four pounds. It was lovely to see some barbel taking dries on the far bank and a little foam ant fooled three of them.