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23/09/03 - Nada de Nada

cortes surroundThis is one of those newsletters brought to you on the road, and late as well, giving it that raw and exciting edge.

Nada de Nada. That's Spanish that is. And it means, “the Black Bass can be almost as elusive as the Mugwai”. After three days of intensive float tubing on perhaps the finest black bass lake in Spain, one of striking beauty, to catch nada de nada came as a bit of a blow.

Not for me, you understand – not in terms of my fishing anyhow – I'll be back again next weekend and I've got five days of fishing to be had in between then and now, and there's the rest of my life afterwards, and possibly the next one too, so I'm not exactly pushed, and nada de nada is a relative thing of course – relative to nada, which wasn't true because just being there was pretty amazing, being surrounded by cortes (which is Spanish for “cliffs”) and ruins – half of Spain is in ruins, especially when you leave the cities, but in this case Arab ruins (the Arabs came here for the red wine and the Tortugas, which were both better here than in Arabia, and built castles on cliff tops, possibly because they got bored, but more likely because they were always fighting and pillaging and stuff – a bit like the Vikings but different, Lars).

Lisa gracefully launching her tubeSo it's a cool place. Cool both from up tops, on the cliffs, looking down, and from down bottom, below the cliffs – in a float tube – looking up. I was fishing here with José on Thursday – we had few bass back then – seems like so long ago – (or basses as José calls them) and he said the cliffs made him feel pretty small, which was interesting because I was just thinking how they made me feel pretty big. Mind you I was the one catching the fish and those things tend to have a bearing on one's perspective.

Anyway, over the weekend I was fishing with Lisa, who is new to flyfishing and had never been float tubing before. I had said, “Come to Valencia for three days, we'll go fishing for black basses in the most spectacular scenery, and you'll catch so many your arms will drop off. It's amazing and you don't even need a proper cast. You'll be perfect in fact.”

Excited by the prospect of Tortugas and red wine, the Arabs decided to make this place their home for 500 yearsFlycasting for bass requires the bulldozer approach – whack the thing hard enough and the bug/dragonfly/popper will find its way into even the densest vegetation (bass territory) where it will be completely destroyed by the hungry black basses.

It wasn't quite like that. In fact it wasn't anything like that. We paddled here, we paddled there, crashed poppers through this gap, zonkers through that one; I even tried the “getting deeper” approach and the Wet Cell II. Nada. Nada de nada. Nada de nada de nada.

Black bass fishing sucks.

Lisa hooks a treeI blamed the weather, which wasn't very inventive of me – I could have blamed Lisa – but even the locals blamed the weather: it was hot and sunny with the pressure dropping; black basses don't feed when it's hot and sunny with the pressure dropping. Everyone knows that.

It must be tough to have commitments which stop you fishing; you never get the full picture. If you just turn up out the blue you're putting faith in the fishing Gods, wherever they hang out – Mars I think. If however you're always there, then it doesn't matter if good of bad anymore; there will always be good and bad days, and I still enjoy the bad ones. I think if I ever stop enjoying the bad ones then I'll give it all up. And anyway it wasn't bad, in fact it was a lot of fun. If you want to have fun just take someone float tubing who's never been before. And take wine.

Having just climbed the cliffs here I am taking a well-earned rest. Thanks Lisa for photographing this.Next weekend nevertheless, I fully intend to catch every fish in that lake. Which is good as well, because when I really set out to catch fish I fish better. I suppose we all get that drive from time to time, and I love it. I call it “The Zone”.

Tom encountered “The Zone” last year when we fished Mystery River X in New Zealand, he said it was quite frightening, that he had never seen such a thing before, and he's right; to see a fish is to catch it. To catch is to conquer. And one conquest leads to another. Nothing – nada – will stand in the way, not even Sexyloops… by the way you can expect complete chaos as Sean finds himself in charge once again, and with little time (Sean is working – I know that may surprise some of you, it surprises me too) and some front pages will have been put together tonight, in preparation and be ready to rock and roll, and yet others will be left mysteriously unfinished, for The Zone is upon me.

Black basses country"Through chaos comes spontaneity."

"From nada came everything... and nada. Nada de nada. Nada de nada de nada."
Black Bass

Disclaimer: I now know two words in Spanish.
Disclaimer II: The Spanish flycasting section will be completed shortly.
Disclaimer III: The next newsletter will be written by a black bass.
Disclaimer IV: I didn't write that last disclaimer - Paul
Disclaimer V: Nada de nada de nada de nada.

somehow appropriate

Essential Bush Skills

The start of any flytying good flytying sequence involves squirting The Light of Apgai on your polyprops
Both alarm and curiousity set in when the polyprops start melting
Putting the lid back on the jar to stop *that* happening again
The flytying proper is underway
Notice the composure, that's true class that is
A difficult bit, you can tell that from the vacant expression
Essential bush skills: the third hand
Notice my hat here, it's quite daring
Snip, snip
I'm not quite sure what I'm doing here, but it's cool
Trimming an oversize hackle that appears to have become trapped in the whip finnish manoevre
Delicate precision work, the hallmark of any good flytyer
Sheep make good flies too

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