Coarse Fishing in Spain by Philip Pembroke

American Style Freshwater Black Bass Fishing and a Recipe for Success

Buscalo April 2008,

Many Buscalo readers will be able to recognise fish that they are likely to catch in Spain from previous experience fishing in the U.K. E.g. barbel and carp. But might even have heard of American largemouth Black bass but never caught one before.

The Spanish Fisheries Office of the National Parks Government Department introduced Black bass from the USA in 1955/56 in order to increase awareness of sports fishing in those fisheries where summer temperatures rose above 20C and were too hot to support trout. Black bass are a fast growing species, reaching up to 4kg in less than two years but averaging around 1kg to 2kg.

The Black bass is considered by Spanish fishermen to be the holy grail of coarse freshwater angling. And for good reason, as well as being good eating, pound for pound it’s one of the hardest fighting fish found anywhere.  In València artificial lakes sustain prolific bass Black populations.

Club València Bass operate most weekends from Embalse de Muela de Cortes (reservoir). This is one of Spain’s best Black bass fisheries. You can contact the fishing club via email at: No fishing is allowed on non-festive Mondays.

This reservoir is located about 60km inland from Cullera along the coarse of the River Jucar. Set in a deep gorge in La Reserva Nacional de Caza. The scenery is eye catching. The winding reservoir is 11km long and reaches depths exceeding 65m. There is a free fishing from the bank by Cortes de Pallas. Elsewhere access to the steep bank is limited and for aficionados, spinning from a boat is the way to go.

Normally a pair of anglers share a small fibreglass boat, which they manoeuvre, using an electric trolling motor to steer them silently near to the bank where they cast to shore using favourite blue or gold Yensen and woodchopper spinning lures. Or they may prefer to troll up and down the reservoir to locate fish using rubber worm wrigglers. This is an exciting way to fish, the bites are frantic and the fight explosive.

After a successful morning, the catch is filleted and barbequed: with the rest of the family lunch is served by the shore with a glass or two of local wine. Angling in Spain at its best is a reflection of Spanish way of life in general and is very much to do with friends and family.

There are other fish species present too. In 1994 bleak were officially introduced as a main food source for bass. This has encouraged pike to reach caught weights in excess of 8kg. Anglers using lighter tackle when catching Black bass unintentionally catch them. And there are carp present too.

You don’t have to travel this far to catch a Black bass. They are present in many waters nearer to the coast. Many readers who fish in Spain will have noticed the water come alive at some points in the day when unidentified schools of fish will feed on the surface after insect hatches e.g. winged ants.

This is most certainly the activity of Black bass. When casting a spinner from the bank the correct method when covering an area of water is to cast in a fan pattern. Cast furthest away (almost parallel with the bank) first then nearer and nearer. When you have covered one area move a little way down the shore and repeat.

If you want to fish from a boat in freshwater you will require a boat licence. This includes insurance and can be purchased cheaply and quickly from:

Confederación Hydrográfica Del Júcar
Monsieur Jaun Manuel Arogones Beltran (Comisaría de Aguas)
Ave. Blasco Ibáñez 48, 46010 València
Tel: (0034) 96 3938800/3696350/3938855
Fax: (0034) 96 393 88 01
E-mail: visit:

Recipe for American large mouth Black bass

Grilled Bass – 2 servings

3-4lb largemouth bass fillets (6oz each) skins removed
1 tablespoon butter
4 thin red onion slices
2 tablespoon sliced almonds
1 ¼ cup of sliced green onions
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon  paprika
1 sliced lemon

You will require medium heat for a grill or barbeque, an aluminium foil sheet roughly 50 by 40 cms, greased. Arrange 2 slices each of red onion and lemon over butter. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of almonds and half of green onions. Now arrange fillets in a single layer over the onions, lemons and almonds. Top with remaining red and green onions, lemon and almonds. Season lightly, with salt, pepper and paprika. Seal everything securely in foil, put directly on grill for 11-15 minutes till fish begins to flake.

Serve with a light salad, pasta, and plenty of Vino España. This is the perfect way of impressing your non-angling friends, and family with some newfound culinary skills. And is a great way to round off a successful morning’s fishing at a: water near you Spanish-style.

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