Category: Fishing reports


I didn´t realise yesterday afternoon as I was driving to Concepción Reservoir, just inland from Marbella, that it was my destiny to reenact a famous military campaign single handedly. Instead, I had had a much more modest plan. I would park at a lay-by some distance above the reservoir and kit up with fishing gear and float tube and then walk down a mountain track to the reservoir below. Of course, at the end of my fishing adventure, I would have the more wearisome task of doing that trek again in reverse.

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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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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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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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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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Remember that Meatloaf song where he sings that two out of three aint´t bad? As it happens he was just telling somebody that while he wanted and needed them he was never going to love them. I always thought that that was pretty harsh. Don´t be sad? Yeah, right.

I have a similar story but it is not about the nature of my relationship with another human being but about catching and failing to catch fish which, as I´m sure you will agree, is a matter of much greater importance.

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Sean and Mark and I managed to extract a few barbel from the Ríos Grande and Guadalhorce last the weekend but the pick of the bunch was taken by Mark in the unlikeliest of circumstances. Sunday was the Romería and the river banks were overflowing with horse riders and carriages and families picnicking in the shade of eucalyptus trees. And somewhere in the middle of all this commotion we found a little stretch of river which seemed relatively undisturbed. Above it a couple of dogs bounding around in the shallows, and below a couple of people were wallowing downstream. I cannot call them swimmers really as there was insufficient depth to swim. They simply sat in the river and took some respite from the heat.

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My brother Sean and our friend Mark have been fishing together on and off since we were kids and this weekend we went fishing together and were kids all over again. Mark often comes out to spend a few days in Marbella but Sean has not been out here for years but he contrived to add a few days to a trip to attend a science conference in Sevilla and jumped on a train to Málaga. This was the first time that all three of us wet a line together in Spain.

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