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Twice yesterday I bumped into a huge mixed flock of sheep and goats. I heard the animals, before I saw them, in each instance, because of clanging bells that several have attached to their collars. The river has its way of slowing time, which is not a bad reason to go there, but the sheep and goats do something more. They seem to make time go backwards and suggest that things, not long ago, were less complicated and less urgent.

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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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Pip´s big day

Catriona and I have just spent a few days in Glasgow to see our Daughter Pippa graduate. It was a real blast. The formalities took place in Bute Hall which is a really lovely venue and it was a very proud moment for us both.

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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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