Steve Lawler and I are experienced fishermen. Both of us understand that it is not worth embarking on a day of fishing without a very clear sense of purpose. A clearly identified aim must be established at the outset against which the success of the day can be measured. I don´t think either of us clearly articulated this but yesterday we both set out with the same unspoken aim which was to catch absolutely nothing and we can each feel fulfilled in having succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.

There are any number of ways that a person can catch nothing. You can do this while snoozing on the sofa, walking the dog or out on the golf course when looking for the ball you sliced into the trees. But catching nothing in perfect conditions and in a reservoir stuffed with fish is the preserve of the true expert and Steve and I feel that we can now number ourselves among the greats of our sport.

Of course it is not the first time we have pulled off this particular stunt but yesterday we did it with aplomb. Steve did better than me I have to say. There was a moment when a good fish grabbed my streamer but thankfully it released it after a couple of seconds and so the dream remained alive.

We spent the morning on Concepción which is a reservoir just inland of Marbella. This is a favourite jaunt and, while is is rarely in a particularly giving mood, it has given us a few good fish over the years. Yesterday we were able to see how recent rains have raised the water levels and the water was as high as we ever remember having seen it. We could have blanked from the shore but opted instead for the greater challenge of catching nothing from a float tube which gives access to the various nooks and crannies well beyond the reach of the shore angler and where fish would be exposed to little angling pressure. It was these naïve fish that we needed to be particularly wary of.

After our adventures of the morning the two of us headed to a local rural hotel to grab a coffee and discuss the our experiences out on the water. Anybody who has been fishing will know that the discussion between fishermen after a fishing trip is no idle chit-chat but profound philosophical musings on a broad range of important matters. We discussed, among other things, the practical difficulties of taking a wee when you are stuck in a float tube and compared recent experiences. The problem with being immersed in cold water, even wearing waders, is that the kidneys are sent into overdrive and this causes practical difficulties when fishing a reservoir like Concepción which is very steep-sided. It may not be possible to paddle to the nearest bit of shore to haul up and answer the call of nature because the nearest port of call could actually be a cliff face. For this reason it is necessary to seek out more gently sloping topography which may involve seeking out hidden bays which can be very beautiful. I found one myself and just stopped there for a few minutes to take everything in. There was nobody in sight and the air was full of birdsong. Beyond my feet the rocky floor of reservoir descended steeply well into the depths. There were flowers above the surface of the shallows whose thin stems led down to underwater roots and that would, until recent rains, have stood high and dry. It really was a hell of a place to be.

Steve too had to put in to port for the same reason and, when he did, he spotted from the shore a large barbel cruising by. Naturally he couldn´t resist casting a fly to it but the barbel, to its credit, took not the slightest interest.

It is just as well – that fish might have ruined everything.

You can see the determination etched in our expressions

The levels are very high and this is great news. Very soon the reservoir will really come into its own and we are looking forward to returning again.
This is the the point at which the Río Verde which flows from the Sierra de las Nieves flows into the northern end of the reservoir. The dark green of the river can be seen. The water of the river feels a little cooler.
Fish or no fish, paddling around on a float tube can lead to the most lovely places.