The closest part of the Guadalhorce to where I live is just downstream of the confluence of the Río Grande. It is very roughly half way from the reservoir at El Chorro and the mouth of the river in Málaga where the river splits into two parallel channels embracing a lovely little wild space rich in birdlife before the waters are finally discharged into the Mediterranean. Getting to “my” stretch takes just a few minutes by car and earlier this year I carried out the journey on foot which takes about an hour. The heat at this time of the year is too punishing for this to be an option.

I know this stretch quite well and have fished it many times, most recently in the company of Johan Terblanche. Over the last couple of weeks the two of us have visited it three times. This is a lovely little length of river and, with the exception of deeper water, offers all of the features which are typical of the river; relatively fast shallows broken in places by larger rocks, narrow channels and seams and a broad slow flowing mud-bottomed pool with trees and canes growing tight to the edges or offering some cover.

There are fish throughout but there certainly hotspots and holding areas. In the slower water fish come and go and cruise around slowly and if you want a shot at these it is worth being very patient and staying in one place out of sight. This can either be in the marginal cover or even in the river itself. There is always a balance and a trade off between moving in search of fish and it staying put long enough for the fish to reveal themselves but even moving needs to be a slow process and so our little stretch takes a fair while to cover even though it is probably not much more than 100 metres all in all.

Johan has developed an excellent feel for the river and has the measure of the fish here. He was the first to arrive and I found him on the river casting to fish at close to the downstream end of the stretch we fish. He was crouched down and systematically covering a fish. I did not want to disturb him so I left him and wandered downstream to take a look at a slow section which can only really be fished by wading through the river.

Johan did very well on our little stretch and caught several fish on a little dark nymph he tied himself. This has a little offset “post” of dense foam which makes the fly sink slowly. This contrasted to my own pretty standard nymphs in being both darker and less dense and the fish certainly gave Johan´s fly the thumbs up yesterday.

One of the nice things about having fished the same piece of water is that we both know it pretty well. We know in advance where to slow down and where particular fish are stationed and where we might expect to come across cruisers. We also know that there is a little honey hole where three or four fish hold in skinny water. They can be fished for from the bank or from the river. They are very easy to spook but you are always in with a shout if you take your time and don´t do anything crazy.

My home stretch has served as my classroom and the lessons learnt here can be applied in less familiar places. You can experiment by making different approaches on different visits or try a particular run from opposite banks of from a wading position. The stretch is also instructive in that it shows how changes on water levels result in fish moving into or vacating particular spots. Earlier in the year I was taking fish from water that is now “empty”.

Yesterday we fished for the morning which turned out to be a good call. At about one in the afternoon we ended our visit with a cool bottle of beer that Johan had the foresight to pack and we called it a day. I somehow suspect that it is no coincidence that my fishing fishing companions are guys that have some booze stashed away for what ever celebrations or commiserations are warranted at the end of a fishing trip. I remember Steve Lawler recently pulled off a similar trick in cracking open cans of Guinness and then carving up a pork pie in the boot of the car.

I think we both found our sessions on the river to be very enjoyable and it was certainly fun to be able to compare notes. I don´t know where our next fishing venture will be but I am looking forward to it already.

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We are looking pretty happy here but a few minutes later we were in the shade with a cold beer. We were even happier then!

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There is little cover on this nearside bank. This is Johan at the beginning of my local “home” stretch. I didn´t disturb him but headed downstream to do a little exploring.

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This is where my explorations led me. There are a few fish here but it´s a bit of a swamp and there are some deepish bits. I would guess it might provide good refuge in low water levels.

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This one was feeding close to the edge. He was not easy to approach.

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This is a picture of my “home stretch.” It is a lovely section of river and interesting and challenging to fish. I consider myself to be very fortunate having it on my doorstep!

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A clear stream enters the turbid river here and several closely packed fish face into it. Relative to the flow of the coloured main river they are facing downstream.

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This was the hottest day of the year so far. We had 42 degrees in the shade in the mid afternoon. The fish will continue to feed in such conditions but the heat can be energy-sapping so a morning fishing session is probably the best way to go!