Category: Natural history


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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A little while ago I wrote a piece called “Naked Slovenian Woman” and it was published in a fly fishing magazine and also here on the blog. You can look it up if you are curious. I noticed from the statistics provided by the blog host that this particular post had an unusual number of “hits”. I was puzzled at first but, when I thought about it, I realised that maybe a few of the new readers might be chaps were surfing the web in the hope of finding a bit of titillation and that they were probably disappointed to find themselves looking at some boring old blog put together by a fisherman!

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My river is in flood at the moment, receding but still pretty coloured, and the best way I could describe it is as a continuous shallow stream the colour of a cafe con leche. If you wanted to match it for speed, to keep up perhaps with a drifting leaf, you would need to walk downstream at a pretty brisk pace.

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Steve Lawler forwarded me a remarkable photograph of a peregrine falcon having just struck down, midair, a short-toed snake eagle. Like most people, I am aware of the peregrine´s extraordinary diving speed (the maximum recorded was over 240mph) but I was not aware that it would take on a prey species of the size of an eagle.

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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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