Category: Other bits and bobs


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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Lene pickings

I just opened up my emails to find a couple of messages from Mark McCann with attached photographs taken during last Saturday´s fishing trip to Lough Lene in County Westmeath. His emails were both titled, quite aptly, “Lene pickings” which pretty much sums up our success in catching the trout that lough is reportedly heaving with. Our fishing party included also my brother Sean and his son Dan. Sean and Dan fished from one boat and Mark and I fished from another.

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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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After a few hours on the river I tend to treat myself to a pint in the local watering hole in Villafranco del Guadalhorce. This has become my little “après pêche” ritual and, after fooling around for a couple of hours on the riverbank, a cold beer tastes about as good as a cold beer is every likely to taste.

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Remember that Meatloaf song where he sings that two out of three aint´t bad? As it happens he was just telling somebody that while he wanted and needed them he was never going to love them. I always thought that that was pretty harsh. Don´t be sad? Yeah, right.

I have a similar story but it is not about the nature of my relationship with another human being but about catching and failing to catch fish which, as I´m sure you will agree, is a matter of much greater importance.

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You may remember a fly that we have used here to extract the odd fish from our rivers when they are a bit off colour (the rivers, not the fish!). It is a mop fly and both the barbel and carp seem happy to take it as they grub around in their murky world. In a moment of silliness I named my version of this fly “Marge” on account of its resemblance to Homer Simpson´s wife.

What I am about to write is really further silliness and so, if you are a sensible person living a busy and purposeful life, you should really stop reading immediately and go and do something worthwhile.

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Sean and Mark and I managed to extract a few barbel from the Ríos Grande and Guadalhorce last the weekend but the pick of the bunch was taken by Mark in the unlikeliest of circumstances. Sunday was the Romería and the river banks were overflowing with horse riders and carriages and families picnicking in the shade of eucalyptus trees. And somewhere in the middle of all this commotion we found a little stretch of river which seemed relatively undisturbed. Above it a couple of dogs bounding around in the shallows, and below a couple of people were wallowing downstream. I cannot call them swimmers really as there was insufficient depth to swim. They simply sat in the river and took some respite from the heat.

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My brother Sean and our friend Mark have been fishing together on and off since we were kids and this weekend we went fishing together and were kids all over again. Mark often comes out to spend a few days in Marbella but Sean has not been out here for years but he contrived to add a few days to a trip to attend a science conference in Sevilla and jumped on a train to Málaga. This was the first time that all three of us wet a line together in Spain.

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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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