Category: Other bits and bobs


If you have found your way to this blog there is a pretty good chance that you are a fisherman. If you are not, that´s no big deal. Welcome! It is likely, particularly if you have a fishing background, that you are familiar with the salmon farming industry and with the impact it has on wild fish. This is a widely known story but, I suspect, among a fairly narrow band of people. It is time that we spread the message a little further and I was hoping you might consider helping with that effort.

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I have just returned from a field trip to the national park of Doñana in the south of Spain with a group of my sixth form Biology students. We were shown around by Aitor who is a guide and friend. Aitor and I have introduced this area to many groups of students over the years, but this time he took me to a place that we had not visited together before and it was quite an experience. It was the highest point around and he billed it as the place where two “oceans” meet.

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I didn´t realise yesterday afternoon as I was driving to Concepción Reservoir, just inland from Marbella, that it was my destiny to reenact a famous military campaign single handedly. Instead, I had had a much more modest plan. I would park at a lay-by some distance above the reservoir and kit up with fishing gear and float tube and then walk down a mountain track to the reservoir below. Of course, at the end of my fishing adventure, I would have the more wearisome task of doing that trek again in reverse.

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I had it in mind to fish surface flies for bass on my recent outing with Steve Lawler. This can be a lot of fun if the fish are well disposed to hanging around close to the surface. For the hotter part of the summer they seem to prefer to stay deep and surface flies are likely, not only to be ignored, but very probably not even seen. But maybe in the autumn, I began to think, might they be inclined to look up?

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They say that, if you have had a stressful day, a stiff gin and tonic could be just the medicine for you. My mum thinks this and so I think it must be true too. So, after work today, I dropped in to the nearest Mercadona to pick up a couple of essentials. When the checkout assistant looked over at what I had added to the conveyor he gave me a knowing look. Behind the rigid screen separating my purchases from the customer in front were my essentials: one litre of tonic, one litre of Larios gin and a kilo or two of ice cubes.

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I don´t think I´ve seen a bigger smile on Steve Lawler´s face than that the one he wore yesterday evening when he was holding up a big black bass. We had been fishing Concepción which, to be honest, has been pretty hit and miss with us as far as bass are concerned. Whatever the outcome, it is a wonderful place just to be, and so we never regret visiting even on those days where the bass decide not to play ball.

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I am planning an excursion for 100 or so students which involves a trip aboard a boat in search of dolphins, and later a chance to get close to and to photograph butterflies just a short hop along the coast. I thought I might try out both activities myself today just to see how the whole day might hang together.

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Sheep music

I just came back from walking my two dogs along a dusty road in the campo. We were out about an hour. When we left it was daylight and when we were done it was dark and the path was illuminated chiefly from light reflected from clouds which were, in turn, reflecting the streetlights of Villafranco del Guadalhorce and, more distantly by the city lights of Málaga and Alhaurín de la Torre.

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Listen, I´m a pretty modest bloke most of the time, but it occurred to me that I might actually be the finest living exponent of the the art of fly fishing for the elusive Guadalhorce Nase. Despite my world-beating expertise I have only caught them on my last three outings to the river. The first time I took one on a dry fly and when I looked at the thing I said to myself “what the hell is that?”

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So what does a fly look like, more or less? I guess we can probably agree that it might black and scruffy and has some wings and legs sticking out somewhere. Why even that silly question about what flies look like? I guess it is because fishing “flies” can quite legitimately mimic molluscs, crustaceans, worms, fish and more. To the extent that anything we cast with a fly rod becomes a “fly” pretty much by default, we have to accept that many flies are not flies at all!

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