Category: Fish and fishing


If you have found your way to this blog there is a pretty good chance that you are a fisherman. If you are not, that´s no big deal. Welcome! It is likely, particularly if you have a fishing background, that you are familiar with the salmon farming industry and with the impact it has on wild fish. This is a widely known story but, I suspect, among a fairly narrow band of people. It is time that we spread the message a little further and I was hoping you might consider helping with that effort.

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I had it in mind to fish surface flies for bass on my recent outing with Steve Lawler. This can be a lot of fun if the fish are well disposed to hanging around close to the surface. For the hotter part of the summer they seem to prefer to stay deep and surface flies are likely, not only to be ignored, but very probably not even seen. But maybe in the autumn, I began to think, might they be inclined to look up?

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I don´t think I´ve seen a bigger smile on Steve Lawler´s face than that the one he wore yesterday evening when he was holding up a big black bass. We had been fishing Concepción which, to be honest, has been pretty hit and miss with us as far as bass are concerned. Whatever the outcome, it is a wonderful place just to be, and so we never regret visiting even on those days where the bass decide not to play ball.

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Listen, I´m a pretty modest bloke most of the time, but it occurred to me that I might actually be the finest living exponent of the the art of fly fishing for the elusive Guadalhorce Nase. Despite my world-beating expertise I have only caught them on my last three outings to the river. The first time I took one on a dry fly and when I looked at the thing I said to myself “what the hell is that?”

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Twice yesterday I bumped into a huge mixed flock of sheep and goats. I heard the animals, before I saw them, in each instance, because of clanging bells that several have attached to their collars. The river has its way of slowing time, which is not a bad reason to go there, but the sheep and goats do something more. They seem to make time go backwards and suggest that things, not long ago, were less complicated and less urgent.

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So what does a fly look like, more or less? I guess we can probably agree that it might black and scruffy and has some wings and legs sticking out somewhere. Why even that silly question about what flies look like? I guess it is because fishing “flies” can quite legitimately mimic molluscs, crustaceans, worms, fish and more. To the extent that anything we cast with a fly rod becomes a “fly” pretty much by default, we have to accept that many flies are not flies at all!

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I fished the river the other day and concluded that the fish, or at least most of them, were fast asleep. They were not remotely as wary of me as they normally are and with a stealthy approach I could get quite close to them. At one point I waded up to a fish to see if I could actually touch it. I got pretty close with the fish turning when I was perhaps three or four feet away.

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I was joined by an otter yesterday as I was fishing a pool on the Guadalhorce. It made its way upstream through the shallows before easing itself into the slow-flowing pool. I don´t think the otter was frightened but he knew I was there. He eased himself through the water on the opposite bank before vanishing into the plants in the margin.

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A little while ago I wrote a piece called “Naked Slovenian Woman” and it was published in a fly fishing magazine and also here on the blog. You can look it up if you are curious. I noticed from the statistics provided by the blog host that this particular post had an unusual number of “hits”. I was puzzled at first but, when I thought about it, I realised that maybe a few of the new readers might be chaps were surfing the web in the hope of finding a bit of titillation and that they were probably disappointed to find themselves looking at some boring old blog put together by a fisherman!

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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.

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