I fished the Guadalhorce the other day with Johan Terblanche who is a veteran of previous campaigns on the river. After we had set up our gear at the cars and just before we each headed to our chosen piece of water I took a picture with my phone and when we took a look at the photo we both agreed that we looked remarkably cool.

There wasn´t much else that was remarkably cool though. We fished through the hotter hours of the afternoon and relied on some wet wading and an pretty steady upstream breeze to prevent us from cooking.

It is possible to take fish even in the hottest part of the hottest days here but you do have to work pretty hard for them and the summer heat can be pretty energy sapping. They are spooky at the best of times but in the shrunken river of the summer they are doubly so and you have to approach them with quite a measure of caution.

Happily our efforts were rewarded with a few barbel that accepted  our little nymphs and we were both well pleased with the fish, with the river and with how the afternoon panned out in general.

Johan is one of these guys who has fished all over the place for all kinds of things. He told me that the gypsy barbel are now well up in his list of favourite freshwater fish, as they are on my own. Of course there is more to this than just the fish itself. There are all the things the fish brings us also: the secret river, the potential to find solitude, the hidden wilderness, the subtle take and explosive run and, maybe my favourite moment of all, when the released fish glides away form the hand and is reclaimed by the river.

Johan is not only a skilful fly fisherman but he is a very good bass fisherman. Over a beer he told me about very effective ways of chasing black bass which I intend to try out. It involves ditching fly fishing, which is something of an obsession of mine, and fish instead with conventional gear. The reason is simple. Many of the bass at this time of year tend to seek out deeper water and fly fishing is a pretty ineffective unless you want to fish sinking lines and all that malarky.

I intend to try for bass à la Johan in due course and I will let you know how I get on.

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Ready to go!

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Johan with a nice gypsy barbel

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Johan has a soft spot for black bass. This is one of a whole bunch he caught at Istán earlier in the year. He told me about effective ways of catching them and I look forward to giving them a go.