Category: Flies and fly tying


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

Today, for the first time, I caught a gypsy barbel on a streamer. It was a very handsome fish and I don´t think it would have been any less than four pounds in weight. The streamer was being used because I had intended to fish for black bass but the bass were not very interested today and, while I managed to catch a few, they were small fish. Interestingly, the same streamer was taken by two carp, both unseen before they were hooked and both taken as I was fishing close to the steep shoreline. 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

Wine drinking and fly tying can be happily carried out at the same time although I suspect the enthusiasm of the former impacts significantly on the effectiveness of the latter. I have just been outside on the terrace enjoying both activities and carried on until the evening light made it difficult to see clearly. In that time I imbibed perhaps a third of a bottle of wine and tied up three modest flies. 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

Legend has it that the Scottish king Robert the Bruce, having been defeated by the English and driven into exile, found himself hiding in a cave. And there he saw a spider trying to build a web and, for whatever reason, failing to do so. But the spider, to his credit, never gave up and just kept going until he got the job done. Inspired by the tenacious spider, Bruce thinks to himself that you can achieve anything if you really put your mind to it. He never looked back after that. Before you knew it he was triumphing over the English in the Battle of Bannockburn. Continue reading

Brian Jones and I headed to the river on Friday evening. In the back of the car we had our fishing gear but also an assortment of fine mesh nets, trays, magnifying glasses, forceps and droppers because we thought it might be interesting to take a few kick samples to see what kind of bugs there were at the bottom of the river. Continue reading

The barbel on my local river will occasionally feed at the surface but, for the most part, they take food either drifting close to the bottom or actually on the bottom itself or even just beneath it in the soft sediment. They are well adapted for taking food this way with sensory equipment well-suited rummaging around beneath them. I suspect that most of what they eat they do not even see but identify with tactile or olfactory senses. Continue reading

Do you want to know how to catch a carp on the fly?

Well bad luck buster, you´re asking the wrong person!

It´s not that I haven´t tried. In the last week I spent a couple of afternoons chasing carp and my personal tally of our old friend Cyprinis carpio adds up to precisely zero. Continue reading

I don´t know whether brown trout are dumb or not. There are quite a few fishermen out there who say that our old friend Salmo trutta is actually pretty thick. Others take the opposite view and consider trout to be smart on account of their fussiness and selectivity, the very same traits oddly enough that are cited by their opponents as evidence of their stupidity. I will leave this debate to anyone whose flies have been refused all day and are seeking solace over a beer or something stronger. My own take on the matter is that trout are smart and dumb at the same time, an attribute, if you think about it, that is not uncommon in human beings. I would go a little further in suggesting that our native brown trout are the intellectual superiors of the rainbow trout, although I´m sure many will disagree. In either case we´re not talking about organisms pushing their way into the higher range of IQ scores. Continue reading