Category: Natural history


Paul Reddish has been fishing all over the place and has been adding one species after another to his tick list. He pointed out to me one time that he had managed to cross paths successfully with all the salmonid species of North America except for one. That elusive critter was the pink salmon. There is no shame in that since pink salmon elude everyone every other year since they only run upriver to spawn every two years. Curiously, independent populations spawn in even and odd years. In southern parts of their range they spawn mainly in odd years. Odd indeed!

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The skipper of Impi is out on the water most days but every time he leaves the the marina he never knows quite what to expect. Every outing is different. The sea is full of surprises.

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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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Sunday was as hot as hell but I had it in mind to take a trip to the river. I was equipped with my strange newly-concocted worm fly in case a carp or two were around but, in the event, I never had a shot at a carp which was an outcome I more or less expected. I did however at least see a couple. They had been spooked from a shallow broken section and pushed ahead into a relatively broad slow-flowing pool. It was my fault that they were disturbed. I was some distance away but clearly they had their antennae tuned in to whatever wavelength I was broadcasting.

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We have this dog called Paris. I know what you´re going to say! What a dumb name for a dog! Who would even think of calling a dog Paris? Well, let me clear this up straight away. That naming business had nothing to do with us. 

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Johan and I spotted a good barbel in the river the other day and I couldn´t resist the temptation to have another crack at it yesterday. When Johan and I we came across it on Tuesday this was one of three fish holding in fast flowing shallows just below a broad pool. In fast skinny water like this fish are difficult at the best of times. 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

I was walking the dogs this morning and we came across an interesting sight. There were huge numbers of woodlice marching down a hill in a continuous and steady stream. I have never seen this before and so we ditched our plans to have a long walk through the campo so that I could return home to grab my camera and record the spectacle. 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

I went and bought three new hens on Tuesday because a bastard campo dog managed to dig into the enclosure and take all my hens a couple of weeks ago. Between that sad event and the purchasing of the new hens I planned to greatly increase the security of the enclosure. I had intended to install a moat, a trip wire that activated remotely operated machine guns, bury land mines and to install a bunch of battle-hardened mercenaries in a series of watch towers each night equipped with state of the art night vision goggles. However when calculations were done I realised that the budget for these security measures would be similar to that for constructing Trump´s idiotic border wall with Mexico. To break even I would have to have each of my three hens lay an egg each per day for the next 487 million years. Continue reading