Category: Flies and fly tying


My brother Sean fly fishes off the south west coast of Ireland, sometimes from the shore and sometimes from his kayak and, more often than not, it will be a home made Clouser Minnow at the business end of his leader. Continue reading

Only an idiot would venture out fishing in the afternoon heat here in Andalucía and so it will come as no surprise that I spent a few happy hours on the banks of the Guadalhorce yesterday afternoon and followed this up by a bit more of the same today! The worry at this time of the year is that the fish succumb to same lethargic mood as the rest of us – a sort of dull torpor that descends like a fog of anaesthetic when the heat of summer begins to kick in. Continue reading

One of the nice things about fly fishing is that if things don´t go your way you have an endless supply of things to blame. There´s no need to point out that your lack of success is down to your own ineptitude when you can point out that the wind was blowing too hard, or not hard enough or the the time of the day was all wrong, or it all came down to the unsuitable temperature, phase of the moon or climate change. These, and many others, can be used either singly or in any combination to allow you to blank for the entire season with perfect justification. Continue reading

The biggest fish I have hooked on the Guadalhorce just came off the line after we had been battling it out for fifteen minutes or so. I never saw it but from the dogged and unrelenting nature of  the fight it can only have been a carp. I knew shortly after I had hooked it that it was something out of the ordinary. It had the assurance that big fish have. To be honest, I hooked it without being aware that it had taken my nymph. I had been casting to some barbel that were swimming close to the surface of discoloured water when the nymph sank to the bottom and was hoovered in by the carp. Continue reading

Yesterday afternoon I joined my old partner in crime Harry Abbott and David Blair for a few hours on the river. I had been a little worried that the water might not have cleared after recent rain but the river was mending well and was quite fishable although probably not quite at its best. Continue reading

Most of my barbel are taken on nymphs but they will take a fly if they are up on top and it is a very exciting way to fish for them if ever the opportunity arises. Johan Terblanche and I fished to some barbel recently that were feeding on tiny things in the surface film. Every now and then a fish would station itself and rise pretty steadily. If you managed to drift a fly over a fish like this you were in with a shot. Continue reading

I treated myself to a pint on the way home from the river yesterday. On balance, I probably deserved one. There have been few opportunities to fish in recent weeks and even yesterday I barely managed to negotiate my exit pass. I was down for the shopping run but Catriona told me I could head off to the river for a couple of hours as long as I cleaned out the fridge first. Continue reading

If you are desperate enough to visit this blog from time to time you will be familiar with the broad range of topics under discussion. Keith Baxter who recently joined Steven Lawler and me on a fishing trip to Jaen told me that he had enjoyed my book Dry River. He described it as “eclectic” which is fair enough and, I suppose, the same can be said about this blog.

So let´s get down to business and talk about mice. Continue reading

Every now and then I come across another fisherman´s box of flies and think to myself “Christ, I wish I could tie a few like that!”

That was certainly true of Mariano Alcaide´s flies. These live in various multi-compartment fly boxes in orderly rows and remind me of soldiers on parade during an inspection. My own flies do not march in line and are merely tossed into compartments of a couple of fly boxes. They look less like soldiers on parade than battlefield casualties in the bloody aftermath of some military catastrophe. Continue reading

Today I had a chance to pick up some bass flies that Johan Terblanche very kindly tied for me. I was away from home during his recent visit but he was good enough to leave them with some nearby friends and when I dropped in on them today to collect my daughter who had spent the night there, I was duly given the flies. Continue reading