Category: Other bits and bobs


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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Steve Lawler and I are experienced fishermen. Both of us understand that it is not worth embarking on a day of fishing without a very clear sense of purpose. A clearly identified aim must be established at the outset against which the success of the day can be measured. I don´t think either of us clearly articulated this but yesterday we both set out with the same unspoken aim which was to catch absolutely nothing and we can each feel fulfilled in having succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.

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“Crap” is, not only an anagram of of the word “carp” but it is a pretty apt descriptor of my own success, over the last season or two, in the pursuit of that particular fish. I have managed to connect myself to a couple of fine specimens but each returned my nymph to me after setting my pulse racing. They didn´t have to do that. I had done all of the hard work. They were just being mean.

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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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A bit of a legend my arse!

On Friday night the Channel 5 people broadcast “our” episode of their series “Worlds most Scenic River Journeys” featuring the Río Guadalquivir. I was aware that it was about to be aired but still managed to tell everyone at work the wrong time to tune in and so they are likely to have switched on the telly an hour after the episode was broadcast and seen only the final credits!

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Towards the end of last month I got an email from Ed Booth who is a series producer with BriteSpark films. He is working on a series for Channel 5 on scenic rivers of the world. He had come across me through reading this blog and was kind enough to say some very nice things about it. He was even kinder when he invited me to participate in the programme currently being filmed on the Guadalquivir river. Needless to say I jumped at the chance!

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