Category: Fish and fishing


When Steve Lawler and I reached the second fishing spot he had planned to show me on Friday we both chickened out of the trek across an open filed to the shore of the reservoir. There were a few cattle in the field there and neither of us trusted them. In particular there were three shady characters standing in the shadow of a tree and one of them had a mean look in her eyes. Continue reading

Yesterday, quite out of the blue, a bunch of photos came my way from Mark McCann as attachments to an email. Mark is an old fishing buddy and, along with my brother Sean, we are veterans of many fishing campaigns. Coincidentally Sean came across some photos as well and, while not currently in digital form, I am hoping that these may be coming my way soon. The photos Mark sent recorded a fishing trip we went on about 10 years ago. It was significant because my son Leo who was then 12 was invited along. Continue reading

The gypsy barbel in my local river are predominantly bottom feeders and they are well adapted to finding invertebrates in the mud and in and around the stones. I suspect that when they are in muddy stretches that it is senses other than eyesight that direct them towards their dinners. Because of this I nearly always use smallish nymphs to target them, generally tied on a size 14 hook and usually with a small tungsten bead. Continue reading

I have been isolated in my little finca in Andalucía since the 14th of March and during this time my wife has been staying with her father in London. They tell us to social distance from one another and recommend 2 metres but we have managed to extend that by over 1000 miles! Continue reading

Yesterday I took a look at youtube and saw a guy tie up a crayfish imitation that was intended to appeal to one of those big comizo barbel that swim around in the Río Guadiana. The guy doing the tying was in lockdown here in Spain, just like me, and the fly he tied (if we can really call the imitation of a crustacean a “fly”) was christened the Guadiana Crawfish. The tier is a guy called César Tardio and he´s a really good fisherman who puts a lot of worthwhile stuff on youtube. Continue reading

I have a particular soft spot for Mediterranean barbel which is one of our endemic species here in Spain and one that Paul Reddish and I have been chasing in Valencia, most recently at the end of February. Continue reading

The F word

Thomas McGuane tells a lovely little story in his book “The Longest Silence” about how his family referred to his fishing fanaticism. To the rest of the family his obsessive preoccupation was simply referred to as the “F word.” And so it happened that one evening, when dinner guests had been invited and everyone was sitting around the dinner table, his young daughter appeared and loudly pronounced to all the guests “all that daddy really cares about is the F word….. And if he’s not actually doing it, he’s reading about it!” Continue reading

On the river the other day I came across two big fish. The first was a large carp that had been bunkered down in a deep undercut right at my feet. I had been casting to some barbel and had been quite still for a while when this large shape drifted out almost, it felt, from between my toes. Instinctively I dropped my little tungsten beaded nymph in front of it and then everything went rock solid. Continue reading

We fly fishermen tend to delude ourselves sometimes and begin to imagine we are gifted observers of nature and that we have, through painstaking observation and craft, infiltrated the mysterious world of our quarry. At the vise we whip up near-perfect impersonators of the little bugs that drift downstream to the waiting fish. It is just a question of showing up at the river and success is preordained. Continue reading

Fishing with PR is a good laugh. He is one of the best fly fishermen I know and is one of those guys who has been everywhere and caught just about everything that swims. He also has a touch of that particularly English kind of eccentricity that makes him something of a “fish collector.” He would have made a first rate Victorian. Targeting a “full house” of Mediterranean barbel species is part of his quest to tick off all nine species that swim around here in the Iberian Peninsula. But searching for these fish is part of a wider adventure. It is a means of discovering all kinds of wonders hidden among the nooks and crannies of this remarkable country.  Continue reading