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I spent an enlightening five days angling with one of our holidaying guests from the UK a couple of weeks ago. Rick Birch his wife Allison and daughter Maia from Cheshire booked in for a weeks fishing, Rick to go fishing with me and the ladies to explore the area and relax by the pool. As soon as I met Rick it was obvious he was a very experienced angler and he went on to tell me that he had competed at the highest level match fishing all over Europe. He was interested in lure and fly fishing as well as float and pole methods. We visited Embalse De Argos on the Monday and I demonstrated the ease of catching with the method feeder. Rick wanted to make it more difficult and set off exploring the reservoir armed with a very light spinning outfit and a fly rod. He patiently tried many different lures and poppers targeting the Black Bass but without success. As the afternoon became hotter and hotter fish were topping, taking what we thought were flies on the water. After sixty four Carp on the feeder I was getting bored and went over to see how Rick was fairing. We observed the water for a while and decided that with the amount of Dragon Flies around that the fish could be going for them. We looked through our vast array of flies and tried to match them. Nothing we had was really close. Trying in vain we altered what we had and Rick tried our hybrid designs out. Rick told me he had been watching some Carp and Barbel very close in and had tried to see what they were feeding on but could not make out what it was as they stirred the bottom up into a cloud. In the next thirty minutes we discovered two food sources these fish were seeking out.

I had returned to my spot and found around twenty Carp with their backs out of the water ripping up the stones where the water lapped onto the shore. After taking some fantastic photographs I turned some of the stones to find out what lurked beneath. Small bloodworm were under the stones and this was what they were trying to get at. Rick had also made a discovery - the Dragon Flies were shedding their husks just under the surface and leaving the what looked like transparent skin floating on the water. This was what the fish were taking. Rick explained that although the husk looked transparent out of the water, he had managed to get hold of one in the margins, when held on top of or in the water it appeared almost black. We decided that it was time to call it a day and we would go back armed with our new found knowledge later in the week. Back home we spent a few hours trolling through my collection of Spanish fishing magazines trying to locate some more information on flies made specially to imitate bloodworm or Dragon husk. Not much was gained but we knew we could always contact John Gross, fly expert and Lureflash chairman, to pick his brains on the issue. As John keeps telling me it is always the chicken and egg scenario. Hard to match the hatch until you have caught. The next few days were spent trying out different methods of catching at Embalse De Alfonso and off the coast spinning with Rapalla and Storm lures. I am now convinced lure and fly fishing are going to be the growth areas of the sport. The Americans certainly seem to be the world leaders in lures and information is becoming readily available to us all through the media. I have now stocked up on many different types of lures and am eager to go and try them all out. We returned to Embalse De Argos on the Friday and armed only with a spinning rod for me and a fly rod for Rick we set off on the hoof around the reservoir to see what was about. I had carved down a saltwater latex sand eel to imitate the husk of the Dragon Fly and Rick had a found a fly similar to the bloodworm. I alternated between using the imitation husk utilising a bubble float to get some distance and a Tasmanian Devil spinner, this would, I hoped, stir any predator fish into action as the dayglo orange blade whizzed through the water. Rick tried the fly under the overhanging trees and had fish following it in but no takes. My story was a similar one and after five hours exhausted in the heat we admitted defeat. I think we had both learnt a lot and experimentation is the key to success with this form of stalking fishing. Watercraft comes to the fore also and I will continue to try out as many variations of fly and lure to come up with the representation of the food the fish are seeking. This had all made sitting waiting for a bite alarm to squawk seem a little boring and time had passed very quickly. Rick was happy and had enjoyed his fishing in wonderful surroundings, especially Alfonso, where he said he thought he was in heaven and after re working a pole float set about catching over thirty fish on the teasingly light rig. Rick is now planning his return trip and I look forward to it, by then a fly tying kit will be here and we can construct our special Argos and Alfonso flies. In the meantime Peter Hampshire and I will continue our quest to catch by using lures and flies to imitate the food of the prey.
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