November 2010

Extremadura, Spain

I first found out about this about three years ago. Unfortunately I wasn't able to do it then, but finally this November, I found the time and the money to set off in search of the improbable. What am I talking about? Dry fly fishing for barbel. It sounds so unlikely that initially I thought it must be a wind up.

Even as I was buying the plane ticket for the flight to Madrid, I confess to wondering if this was one of the greatest scams? That or some really remarkable fishing. Of course it was too late to turn back. Was it a case of nothing ventured nothing gained, or fools rush in where angels fear to tread? Well at least I had two other fools with me, equally curious about how a barbel takes a dry fly. So Los Tres Pescadores locos y ingleses set off for Extremadura on a wet November day.

The answer to how barbel feed on the surface is with some gusto, though not always elegantly or wholly convincingly. The wait to strike can be agonising, as you watch the fish slurp away, trying to suck in the offering. It may sound odd, but make no mistake, this fishing is terrific. It involves walking the banks of a lake and searching for the many barbel that cruise in shallow water, then casting to sighted fish. Really the cream of fly fishing. If you want to learn more, then there is a link to the good people who run dry fly fishing for "the red ghosts" of Extremadura, just click on the links section.

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the lake

The Lake of Red Ghosts

Iberian barbel

Iberian barbel -- the red ghost