Category: Folks I know


I managed to catch a blue marlin on my second day aboard Impi. I had hooked one the previous day and it was lost close to the boat after an exhausting battle. The marlin I succeeded in landing was a very obliging fish and did not put me through the torment of the previous day. It struck the trolling lure on the far right and the reel was steadily paying out line against the drag as the rod was handed to me. It was then a matter of finding my way to the chair and clipping the reel on left and right and placing the but of the rod into the rest.

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On Wednesday of last week Johan Terblanche pushed me into the sea from the marina of San Sebastian. This was shortly after Impi had tied up after a day out on the ocean. I knew I had it coming and so took my medicine philosophically and hit the water, fully clothed, but with a commendably stiff upper lip.

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This day last week an adventure began for me just off the Canary Island of La Gomera. I will never forget it. I had an opportunity to fish for the iconic blue marlin which is a summer visitor to these waters. In the eyes of many anglers the blue marlin is the holy grail of game fishes. I am a stranger to fishing of this kind but fortunately I was in the company of a very experienced big game fisherman, Johan Terblanche, and was lucky enough to be aboard his beautiful 48´ boat Impi which was skippered by Mark Lee.

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On Wednesday Steve Lawler and I chucked our stuff in the back of the car and headed off to Extremadura to see if we could catch a few fish on La Serena reservoir. We planned to go afloat with a local guide who Steve had fished with in the past and that turned out to be a good call. La Serena is a huge reservoir. By capacity it is the second largest in the Iberian peninsula after Alqueva Reservoir in Portugal, but if you measure by the length of the shoreline, it takes top spot. It is hard to imagine the scale of this thing. From the dam wall you can travel 70 kilometres to the other end.

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My brother Sean and our old buddy Mark McCann head west at this time of year to fish Lough Arrow in county Sligo. If things go according to plan (and they usually don´t) their brief adventure coincides with the hatching of our old buddy Ephemera danica although the mayflies this year appear to have not kept up their part of the bargain and didn´t really get going during the days of their visit. Unfortunately I am unable to extricate myself from duties here in Spain but I am there each year in spirit.

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I had a lovely visit to the river on Sunday and a chance to try out one of the little nymphs I tied up the previous night during a “fly tying” zoom call. This zoom call was a lot of fun. The tying was done by myself and my brother Sean but we were joined by our old fishing buddy Mark McCann and various family members including my son Leo, Sean´s son Dan and his daughter Nancy. Our respective wives even dropped in at various stages. Our women folk were pretty much uniformly of the view that we are all a bit silly sitting around at vices, swilling red wine, and talking bullshit.

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A friend of mine, Johan, has just gone and bought himself a sport fishing boat! She is christened “Impi” and is moored on the Island of La Gomera, one of the Canary Islands, sitting way out there in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. Johan´s idea was to create a charter operation to allow people like himself to have a chance to get out into the ocean and fish for some of the most iconic sport fish that you can find anywhere. 

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My son Leo came over in the summer and gave me a present of a hat. As a matter of fact he gave me two hats. The first was a Whitton Lions woolly hat (Leo plays flanker for the Whitton Lions). This is a very fine hat and is nice and warm for the winter. My daughter Pippa was also treated to a Lions hat and the two of us are just waiting for things to cool down enough to warrant putting them on. I live in Andalucía while Pippa is at university in Glasgow so my guess is that she will be wearing hers first!

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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

Yesterday I spent the morning and early afternoon fishing on the river with Johan Terblanche. Johan and I have fished together several times over the last two or three years and when he pops over to this neck of the woods from his home in Luxembourg he drops me a line and we meet up to see if we can catch black bass or, as was the case yesterday, some gypsy barbel from the river. Continue reading