I fished on Christmas Eve with my son Leo and Johan Terblanche and, as we headed out to the river, I was quietly optimistic about our prospects. I had made an exploratory visit a couple of days before and had managed to extract a gypsy barbel from the Río Grande and the river looked good. It was running clear and there were a few fish around.

Santa is supposed to grant wishes at this time of year and I was hoping he would look favourably on our little outing. But things didn´t pan out that way and it didn´t seem like the fat bastard was in any kind of a giving mood, or not at least if gifts you are hoping for come wrapped up in scales.

To be fair, we each had our chance and, at some stage, all three of us were connected, albeit briefly, to a fish but none of those fish stayed on. As we were trekking back through the citrus groves to the parked cars after fishing the Guadalhorce we reflected on how fine the margins are in this game are, particularly at this time of the year. If momentary contacts had led to solid hook ups we might have had three or four fish between us. In the event we had none. But such is life and, as fishermen, we accept this with equanimity because we recognise simply that this is the nature of things. The general consensus was that, fish or no fish, it had been a very fine day spent in fine company.

We fished the Río Grande in the late morning and early afternoon and the Guadlahorce later in the afternoon. On the journey between the first river and the second we made a pit stop and enjoyed a respectable selection of tapas in Café Europa. There is an African Grey parrot in a cage there and he is often good for a word or two but on Monday he was curiously silent. A guy sitting at the bar saw me looking at the parrot and he told me that the parrot was tired. Maybe he was.

This is likely to be my last post of the year, so many thanks to all who have followed the blog. Many thanks too for the comments you send in which I always enjoy reading.

I hope you enjoy what remains of this year and I wish you all the very best for 2019.