Denmark

It was with great enthusiasm that we set out for Denmark at the end of August. The weather was superb and we had a great crossing from Harwich to Esbjerg. Tim Meadows of Anglers Abroad had arranged for us to use a house at Trunst, about ten miles from Silkeborg, and very close to some of our favourite pegs, but although we arrived in fine weather, from that point on it was all downhill! Those of you who follow Travelling Rods will know that Val and I like to fish with the sun on our backs and from day two onwards we had increasingly heavy and cold rain. Ah well...

The fishing, it must be said, was every bit as good as we remembered it. We both had ton-up bags on
consecutive days with many Bream to five pounds and a Roach of two pounds six ounces, but our hearts were
simply not in it.

Spain

In mid-September we returned to the caravan only to find that the mighty Ebro was a mere stream with little more than half the normal flow of water, however the fishing was fairly good and we enjoyed a number of successful days. The fishing highlight was probably claimed by Val. She had caught a three pound four ounce Crucian Carp from the jetty at Campredo and we decided to return and try again. As part of a bag approaching one hundred pounds Val had two Crucians weighing three twelve and four pound exactly, lovely jubbly!

For Val and I Spain is not just about fishing. In one of my earlier articles I described the location of the caravan and invited any reader who fished in the area to join us for a beer. Last year three Leeds anglers did just that and they were surprised to learn that there were two bungalows to let on the campsite. In early October Dick and the two Keiths turned up to spend four days on the site. We hit it off from the start and spent the four days fishing and socialising together. It was on the day before they left that Dick struck gold. The two Keiths had gone to fish the meadow, a venue some five hundred yards downstream, whilst Dick had decided to stay by the campsite and fish the deepwater channel, good decision! In only two hours fishing, and using light tackle in the fast flowing channel, Dick landed well over fifty pounds of Common Carp with fish to over eight pounds. The four days were extremely enjoyable and we look forward to a repeat when we meet up again in May, when hopefully the angling gods will smile on us again.

Mexico

A last minute visit to the travel agent and we arranged to get a near half-price holiday in Mexico, leaving on December the second. The journey to Nueva Vallarta on the Pacific coast of Mexico was both long and tiring but was to prove well worth the effort.

The Sierra Hotel is a typical tourist hotel, but it is in the quality of services provided and the friendliness of the staff that it excels. Accommodation is on an all-inclusive basis, and whereas we have
had problems getting a drink in other all-inclusive hotels, the staff at the Sierra were on hand constantly to meet every need. Food was provided through three excellent restaurants, one buffet, one outdoor grill
and one silver service, and in each of them the food was both of high quality and diverse.

After we had made initial enquiries we found that we had sufficient travellers cheques to allow us to charter a local boat for one day's fishing and on Monday December the twelfth we set out at seven a.m.
for what was to be a truly memorable days' fishing. Going aboard our boat only a few hundred yards from the hotel we left the marina at high speed and by seven-forty we were fishing for Sierra, a species of Mackerel,
ten miles north of Nueva Vallarta. After about forty minutes we had some twenty five fish averaging about a kilo and Steve, our skipper decided that it was time to head out into the blue water for some serious fishing.

It would take over an hour to reach the fishing grounds but we had gone barely a mile before we saw one of the most magnificent sights in the world. Barely fifty yards from the boat a Humped Back Whale breached, rising over thirty feet out of the water before twisting and falling back into the sea with an amazing crash. It did this fifteen times as it vanished into the distance, and who did not have a camera convenient?

Steve had already told us that live baiting was the best method so our first task was to catch two Skipjack tuna which we did with surprising ease and it was only a few minutes before my bait was taken. The thrill of a blue water take is indescribable but this was a relatively small fish, a Yellow-fin Tuna of about twenty five pounds. The fish was barely in the boat before Val was into one but this was not going to be
quite so easy. After about twenty minutes she had a Yellow-fin Tuna of perhaps a hundred pounds alongside the boat. Several times Juan Carlos the crewman had the fish on the trace but each time it lunged and he
had to let go; sadly after over half an hour of fight the fish ran the line across the propellers and was lost.

During the rest of the session we had several runs but no good hook-ups and we were preparing to finish when Val had a good run. It was over ten minutes before we saw the fish, a Dorado bigger than any that
I have ever seen, and it was a further twenty minutes before the fish was finally boated, a magnificent specimen of about seventy pounds. A fabulous days' fishing.

Beginners luck?
That evening we dined on Dorado cooked by the hotel chef and we shared our fish with an American couple, Leo and Mary Anne. They were very interested in our day's fishing because they had chartered Steve's boat
for a short day on the following Wednesday. Mary Anne was not an angler, but after discussing the situation with Val she decided that she would like to have a go.

On Wednesday afternoon we went down to the marina to meet the boat as it came in; Mary Anne's face told the story, she was grinning from ear to ear. In all they had caught about thirty fish including Californian bonito, grouper, snapper and Sierra and, as Leo put it, "Mary Anne caught the biggest fish, the first fish, the last fish and most of the fish in between." Well done Mary Anne!

Fishing on the Via Mar with Steve Wharton can be booked from the activities desk in the Hotel Sierra and a boat charter for up to four people will cost from about two hundred pounds a day at current prices.

Mexico sounds very exotic and expensive but the total cost was surprisingly low, especially as the al1-inclusive package meant that spending money was minimal. If you are interested check it out with your travel agent.

'Til next time, Tight Lines, Val and David.