Category: Fish and fishing


Try as I might I just don´t seem to be able to catch carp on my river any more. I have consulted the Guinness Book of Plausible Fishing Excuses for Failing to Catch to try and find some justification for my repeated failure but there really isn´t anything suitable among the 150 billion entries in that compendium.

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If you only allowed me one month a year to fish the Río Grande I would probably ask you for March, or maybe April. The heavier rainfalls of the winter are pretty much done but the river holds a good volume of water and, if there has not been a recent shower, the river runs clear. I have never fished a chalk stream but my friends who have tell me that the Grande has many similar qualities at this time of the year. Who could ask for more from a river than that?

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I had a lovely visit to the river on Sunday and a chance to try out one of the little nymphs I tied up the previous night during a “fly tying” zoom call. This zoom call was a lot of fun. The tying was done by myself and my brother Sean but we were joined by our old fishing buddy Mark McCann and various family members including my son Leo, Sean´s son Dan and his daughter Nancy. Our respective wives even dropped in at various stages. Our women folk were pretty much uniformly of the view that we are all a bit silly sitting around at vices, swilling red wine, and talking bullshit.

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I once worked with a guy who used to be in the boy scouts. He told me that his troop had to go on some long trek that involved camping and all that. In preparation the scout masters gathered all the scouts together. First up, the scouts were instructed to empty the contents of their rucksacks onto the floor. Then they were told that they needed to leave half the stuff out and to repack again. Once this had happened they were told to to the same thing again – empty the rucksack, take take half the stuff out and re-pack again. In the end they had only the very minimum needed and were not carrying an ounce more. No doubt the scout masters thought that they were imparting meaningful life lessons with all this palaver, but I don’t know if this is true. I suspect that when these boy scouts grew up they might never have got very far in terms of career progression. I can picture them turning up to job interviews wearing only their underpants.

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I came across a guy on the banks of the Río Grande on Christmas Eve who was looking after a large flock of goats. I asked him how many goats he had. He didn´t tell me. Instead he said “guess!” And so I did.

250?

He shook his head. I had to try again.

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A friend of mine, Johan, has just gone and bought himself a sport fishing boat! She is christened “Impi” and is moored on the Island of La Gomera, one of the Canary Islands, sitting way out there in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Johan´s idea was to create a charter operation to allow people like himself to have a chance to get out into the ocean and fish for some of the most iconic sport fish that you can find anywhere. 

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My son Leo came over in the summer and gave me a present of a hat. As a matter of fact he gave me two hats. The first was a Whitton Lions woolly hat (Leo plays flanker for the Whitton Lions). This is a very fine hat and is nice and warm for the winter. My daughter Pippa was also treated to a Lions hat and the two of us are just waiting for things to cool down enough to warrant putting them on. I live in Andalucía while Pippa is at university in Glasgow so my guess is that she will be wearing hers first!

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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. Continue reading

Johan and I spotted a good barbel in the river the other day and I couldn´t resist the temptation to have another crack at it yesterday. When Johan and I we came across it on Tuesday this was one of three fish holding in fast flowing shallows just below a broad pool. In fast skinny water like this fish are difficult at the best of times. Continue reading

Yesterday I spent the morning and early afternoon fishing on the river with Johan Terblanche. Johan and I have fished together several times over the last two or three years and when he pops over to this neck of the woods from his home in Luxembourg he drops me a line and we meet up to see if we can catch black bass or, as was the case yesterday, some gypsy barbel from the river. Continue reading