Coarse Fishing in Spain by Philip Pembroke

Autumn is a Great Time to Begin Fishing in Spain

Buscalo, August 2006

Autumn is one of the best times of the year to go fishing in Spain. For a start it’s much cooler and I am sure the fish agree.

Water temperatures drop and the fish will become more active although like all Spanish inhabitants the fish are still inclined to take a siesta in the middle of the day.

For anglers, morning and late evenings are always the most productive times to fish. Afternoons are reserved for long lunches and talk about the one that got away. Stick to cold beer or water, wine in the afternoon will send you into a long sleep.

Temperatures are cooler and the fish feed better later on in the year. On many occasions have I witnessed anglers casting to the middle of the river, or lake at its deepest part.

This is often unnecessary.  Big fish may certainly hold up in the cooler depths during the day but later on they rise to feed.  Many of my largest fish have been caught right under my rod tip around 7p.m.

Carp in particular are a stickler for routine. Often bait is dumped, over the side when anglers leave for home and the fish learn when to expect this to happen. They patrol parallel to the bank only a few metres out.

If an angler is blanking, that is catching nothing; there is no point in extending misery and attempting to outlast the fish. Much better to pack up and hope for a better day tomorrow: or a different location.

It’s a mystery as to why the same location on consecutive days can fish very well then badly. No one knows the correct answer. It’s happened to me a lot in Spain. But I guess this is no different to any other place.

Wherever you read in the press or on an angling websites about fishermen bagging up big time on the River Segura near Alicante for instane, it gives the impression that everyone but yourself is doing well.

This is partly true, what isn’t mentioned are the periods between famous catches. An angler may regularly spend 4-6 hours waiting for their next bite if after big fish.

The Spanish carp record was broken on the River Ebro near Mequinensa in 2006. It weighed over 70lbs. However the achievement went officially unrecognised because of the controversy surrounding this big catch.

Firstly the Spanish angler involved took the fish home and put it alive in his swimming pool. He wanted to charge big money for interviews with the angling press, him not he fish. This unethical approach lost him the respect of the angling community and he was shunned. Eventually a vet had to be called to administer antibiotics to the fish suffering in the pool, where after it was safely returned to the river.

Newspapers in the Costa resort areas often reports Wels catfish (siluro) catches weighing in excess of 190lbs. This gives the impression of there being hundreds of fish of this size. In truth there are less than 30 catfish this big at Mequinensa, they all have been given names as they are caught so often. The majority of catfish reach less than 140lbs. Still a big fish I think you will agree.

Mequinensa, where the river Segura joins the River Ebro at the moment is a Mecca for visiting anglers, arriving from all points of the globe. They view this venue as their best chance of bagging a fish of a lifetime. It certainly has a big fish reputation.

Just a little further upstream there is plenty of un-crowded swims along the banks of the reservoir known as Caspe Lake. Virgin blue water, “it’s just like fishing in heaven” according to local expert angler Danny Sales. Not many anglers visit but those that do stand as good a chance as anywhere else in Spain of breaking the Spanish carp record.   

90% of Spanish fishing locations are left untouched by most anglers. These places experience no fishing pressure and the fish are less wary of man. Are they easier to catch? Usually the answer is yes. The skill lies in selecting the right location.

Human nature: being what it is the majority of fishermen expect the groundwork to be done by others. Take the opportunity to make yourself a pioneer: exploring new waters is what fishing in Spain is all about. My fishing guide books can suggest ideas about where to begin your search.

You will never regret taking the time and effort to find a new place to fish when the rewards are often discovering a beautiful location all to yourself offering wonderful angling sport.

Fishermen are renowned for not giving away their best fishing haunts. I will break the mould and suggest the upper reaches of the River Tajo near Entrepenas, located east of Madrid in Castile la Mancha region. Here, in super clean and lovely conditions you will catch large barbel and decent sized carp that will strip your line off when given half a chance. Let me know how you get on.

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