Apparently General Franco was an enthusiastic angler and during his reservoir building programme he insisted that the new lakes created all over Spain were stocked with Black Bass to supplement the native fish stocks and presumably so that he could fish for them too.
We spent nine days up in the mountains in Murcia fly fishing for Black Bass in one of the General's reservoirs and enjoying lovely food, excellent beer and wine, sunny blue skies and a swimming pool. Absolutely brilliant.
In the middle of the holiday the humidity and a little light rain had brought out some large black flying ants and in the lake the fish were slashing wildly at the fresh food falling from the sky onto the lake. Prior to this hatch of falling ants I had been catching Black Bass on lures but definitely not those fish that were feeding so avidly on the surface.
I'd like to say that it was through a process of investigation and logic but that's not the case, in desperation I tied on a floating Daddy Long Legs and twice in ten minutes a solid take was followed by a fish going deep, deep and deeper again before snapping the cast. Intriguing and interesting.
The next day a huge storm was forecast to arrive and we could hear, way in the distance, the thunder rolling around the mountains and all the while the flying ants continued to fall so on went the Daddy again. In the space of an hour or so there were eight or nine slashing rises at the Daddy Long Legs but finally there was a solid take and after a few minutes the culprit was revealed, a beautiful golden Barbel.
A Barbel on a Daddy Long Legs in Spain, not quite what was expected?
We caught a few more before the rain arrived and then retired to the car, the rain eased and we fished again, but a couple of miles away the sky was as black as the hobs of hell. Obviously this was not the time to be waving a carbon fibre lightning conductor around but was quite definitely the time for a hasty retreat. The six or seven mile drive back to the villa was a battle through the torrents of water that were pouring off the mountains and washing stones, rocks and all kinds of vegetation onto the road; not forgetting that the rain was still doing a passable imitation of a monsoon too.
After all the meteorological and piscatorial excitement the calm of the evening was an absolute pleasure, simply sitting under the Mulberry trees and watching the sun go down and having a sundowner, with tapas of course.
Roll on the next visit, we'll be fully prepared for the Barbel.