After a few hours on the river I tend to treat myself to a pint in the local watering hole in Villafranco del Guadalhorce. This has become my little “après pêche” ritual and, after fooling around for a couple of hours on the riverbank, a cold beer tastes about as good as a cold beer is every likely to taste.

I had a fish yesterday that made me feel as if I deserved the reward that gets served up, ice cold in on of the bars on the Plaza. The barmaid recognises me now. We are done with the formalities. I wander in there looking dishevelled and she simply smiles and says “pint?”

There was one fish I celebrated yesterday was about as good a barbel as I have had this year. I don´t handle fish much and never weigh them but this one might have been five pounds or maybe a little more. It was the second of two fish I landed. The first fish was unhooked in the water and sent on its way without any fuss at all, but this second barbel was beached on a grassy margin and I had a brief moment to admire and photograph it before it was set free.

The section of river it came from is, perhaps, 20 feet wide and lined on either side with grasses and bushes and trees and so there were very limited scope for fishing from the bank. There were fish in it though, but you wouldn´t see them unless you waited and then a cruising silhouette might just appear tight to the near bank or to the bank opposite. The river is not deep here but the river carries some colour and visibility is limited to a foot or so.

After a few casts that gave me half chances with fish I pitched a fly close enough to a fish on the opposite bank for it to show some interest. The fly sank from view but so too did the fish. I thought that the fish was interested since the direction of its movement suggested that it was closing the gap between it and the sinking fly. I gave it a second or so before lifting and then everything tightened up.

The fish surged upstream and I figured that my best bet was to make my way into the river and follow it and so that´s what I did. I have been in situations like this before where the barbel have pulled off their world famous party trick of transferring the fly to a submerged branch. They are real experts at this. The first thing you notice is that the line is pointing at one spot and that the surging force of the fish has been replaced by an unmoving resistance. Naturally, I was very wary of this happening again and kept the fish on a very short line and kept it away from the plant growth of the margins. The river did not seem to be much deeper than knee depth but I saw nothing of the fish until our little waltz had glided us 20 or 30 metres downstream to where I had a reasonable shot at beaching it.

After the fish was released there was little more reasonable fishing light but I was very happy to have extracted a handsome barbel from a tricky stretch and I half heartedly scoped a little stretch while looking for somewhere to get out of the river and make my way back to the car. Sometimes you just know when it is time to stop.

Besides, in Villafranco there was a pint with my name on it.

Back she goes

I took this picture downstream of where the fish was landed. It was hooked about as far upstream as you can see.

Thank you Marge!