If you suffer from low blood pressure and are advised to reverse that tendency an excellent remedy is to go about procuring a fishing license in Valencia as Paul Reddish and I discovered on Monday morning.

Valencia seems to be an enthusiastic participant in a little competition between the autonomous communities Spain to see who can contrive to put the greatest number of obstacles between a fisherman and a valid fishing permit. Andalucía of course is indisputably in pole position having developed such barriers to progress that most mortals simply acknowledge defeat at the outset. But hats off to Valencia for their competitive spirit.

Paul and I figured that the procedure might not be straightforward and so we proceeded to the relevant authorities as soon as I collected him from the airport. We had already printed out and partially filled the relevant application form and Paul had obtained an NIE number in London.

So off we went to the relevant authority. The cost of a one year license is about 8 euros and my experience is that you cannot just pay where the license is issued (that would be ridiculous!) but go to a selected bank to pay and then return with confirmation of payment. It should be noted that the relevant bank only processes applications on given days and between certain hours. It might be conceivable that they can do it at any time during normal opening hours but where is the fun in that?

We didn´t know which banks to approach and thought we might ask the authorities at the point of issue directly. We showed up in Building B but in Building B they told us to go instead to Building A. Then in Building A we took a number and queued to speak to a human being. They then helpfully pointed out that we were in the wrong building and would need to go to Building C which cleverly had been positioned some distance away and was placed in a pedestrianised area a car drive away.

In Building C we were feeling optimistic. (We had been turned away from an identical Building D which we entered by mistake).

Yes! Things were finally looking good! We had the forms filled in. We were in the right place. I went to a machine at the entrance to get a ticket number and a lady who looked like a cage fighter asked me what we were there for. I explained that we wanted a Valencia fishing license. She said “do you have an appointment?”

Of course I was unaware that an appointment needed but, on reflection, it makes perfect sense. An official would need to look over an application form, check our NIE numbers and put a date stamp on the form. Obviously several days advanced notice would be essential to prepare.

I tried to use my Irish charm to circumvent this but cage fighter woman looked like she was going to deck me. With a snarl she gave me a slip of paper with phone contact details so that I could make an appointment but pointed out, with more than a little sadistic pleasure, that it was out completely out of the question that we could be issued with a license on the same day. We must be off our trolleys!

I was then losing the will to live and phoned the number provided. The woman at the other end told me I could have an appointment at the earliest the following Monday, several days after our fishing trip had ended. I said “but we´re right here in the correct place! Our forms are filled out! We travelled hundreds of miles to do three or four days fishing! I can see the person I need to show it to right from where I´m standing!

Did my argument sway her? They did my arse. Rules is rules in Valencia.

So what are the lessons learned with respect to fishing license application procedure?

  1. Drug yourself with horse tranquillizer before embarking
  2. Set off a year or more in advance of the period for which the license is needed
  3. Wear a hard hat, skateboarding helmet or other protective devise to prevent damage when hitting your head off brick walls
  4. Work out daily and develop martial arts skills so you might be able to get past the woman at the desk.
  5. If all else fails just go and fish without a license. That´s what we ended up doing. There are unlikely to be license inspectors at the river. Once all the administrative staff have been paid there is unlikely sufficient funds left to employ anybody to enforce the rules.