One of the one hundred and twelve thousand reasons I go fishing is that I manage to grab a bit of solitude when I´m out there creeping along the river bank. In truth I would normally expect to have the river completely to myself but for the usual suspects who tend to hang out there – the egrets and herons and and all the the bugs and weeds and shrubs and fishes.

Every now and then I bump into another fly fisherman on the river but it doesn´t happen very often. Yesterday, though ,two of them showed up. Ironically, it was the prospect of solitude that was my primary motivation for this particular hydrotherapy treatment and I selected the goat pool on the Río Grande because the weather yesterday had not been particularly nice and I figured that the locals, who hang out along the banks during the weekends, were likely to have had second thoughts. After all, in the early afternoon it had been raining and that was surely enough to put the weekend visitors off. I figured that the fish were unlikely to have been too bothered by that rain. They were unlikely, after all, to get any wetter than they already were.

The best way to fish the goat pool on the Río Grande, in my opinion, is to work it upstream from the side opposite the big rock and the goat farm. It pays to stay well off the river and to do everything in slow motion. The pool is not all that big and, even taking things slowly, you are likely to have covered it fairly quickly. The fish usually lie in the shallows but they can spook very easily. The sweet spot is where the shallows at the head give way to the deeps and so I put a little nymph through this water under a yarn indicator and hoped for the best.

It was when I was doing this that I became aware of another fly fisherman and the opposite side of the river. This side is more elevated and offers a good chance to see if any fish are around but I have found that it is difficult to catch from this side. The fly fisherman was talking away to his buddy and soon made his way down to the river some 20 metres or so upstream of me. Both of these guys were Spanish and were obviously good fishing buddies.

I must admit I felt a little self conscious casting away in close proximity to the newcomers and, to be honest, I felt a little bit encroached upon. But then as I cast away and let my nymph drift over the sweet spot I realised that the Spanish probably have a different take on all of this than I do.

I have lived in Andalucía for close to 20 years and I have the highest regards for the people here. They are outgoing, friendly, welcoming and social. We have often noticed that, unlike us northern Europeans, who will walk  miles for a private stretch of beach, Spaniards will all settle within yards of each other as though they were a colony of penguins.

The two guys upstream of me may seem to have been muscling in on “my” water but maybe that´s because I have a northern European take on things. I think that they were simply approaching the business of fly fishing with the same gregarious way that they approach life in general.

Anyway, because my movement upstream was essentially blocked by the new arrivals I just fished the nymph through the sweet spot one cast after another and was soon into a fish. It was the first I landed this year which would have made it, whatever its eventual size, the biggest fish of the year so far (and the smallest!).

It was in fact a standard-issue Río Grande gypsy barbel of about a kilo and I soon beached it on a sill of mud before slipping out the barbless hook and letting it go. I had been hoping for a picture but it was so muddy that it needed a good rinse and while this was happening the fish thought that it had had enough inconvenience for one day, gave a couple of good heaves of his tail, and sailed away.

Having seen the fish return to the river and realising that there was really nowhere much for me to go I tipped my hat at my new companions and slipped away myself.

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The fish I caught didn´t stick around long enough to have its photo taken but here is a picture of the river a short distance downstream.