Coarse Fishing in Spain by Philip Pembroke

Become Fitter by Fly Fishing for Trout in Spain

Buscalo, April 2007
April is upon us and we are just a few weeks into the new trout fishing season. From now, until the end of May is the best time to fish. June is ok but it gets too hot by then. In spring, mountain rivers hold melt flood water and are too cold and fast to fish in March.

Trout are usually caught, in May and June from mountain streams and rivers where the faster current sustains higher levels of oxygen in the clean water that these fish require for survival. Carp, on the other hand can tolerate much higher levels of pollution and can thrive in stagnant pools or flooded rice fields.

Anglers can choose from fishing reserves, called cotos de pesca, which normally require the purchase of a good value, day ticket from a local bar or free fishing areas that require you to be in procession of a freshwater angling licence.

Fishing reserves attract many anglers because, more often than not, these types of waters are regularly stocked with fish each week or fortnightly. The stocked trout are ridiculously easy to catch, having being reared in tanks, they lack the instinct a wild fish has nurtured to survive.

In my opinion, many free fishing river stretches are underrated by Spanish fishermen. Conditions are certainly more challenging but the rewards are there for anglers with skill and perseverance.

The majority of Spanish trout fishermen use spinning lures and natural bait techniques that are best suited to deeper pools, called pozos and weir pools, called tabladas. Fly fishermen can apply wet and dry fly fishing techniques to a wider range of swims and so have more freedom in locating their prey.

The Spanish, when they do, fly fish with two or three fly lures attached, on dropper from their main line. Personally I have used a heavily weighted black stone fly immitation lure that gets down quickly to the fish in the deeper pools and a small golden headed hare’s ear nymph, on a short dropper that skirts above.

In the faster shallow runs, where spinning is not effective I employ a nymph trolling technique. That allows my line to go with the flow then, at the end of the run, holding back so that the fly lures rise up in an arc. It’s often at this time that the trout decides to strike. The best way of spotting bites is to observe the motion of the line as it enters the water.

Towards noon, the sun has heated the top layer of water and insect larvae may hatch in swarms on the water surface attracting the fish that feed upon them. Such moments when swarms of insects suddenly fill the air may last for just fifteen minutes.

Now is the correct time to switch to a dry fly imitation lure. Instead of feeling for bites, the breaking of the water surface, as the fish grabs the fly lure, is the sign of successful fly lure selection and the feeling of exhilaration as the angler strikes into a fighting predator. This is as good as it gets, in the world of fishing.

On light tackle a hard fighting river trout will put up a memorable struggle and once landed, then safely returned to the water, the angler can start to fish for another.

Chest waders are a good choice when fishing smaller rivers and streams that often have inaccessible banks so getting in the channel is the beat way to progress. Being Spain, it gets hot and lightweight breathable Gortex type waders are essential if you are not to lose a good deal of body fluid in sweat that will cause dehydration.

When it gets hotter and the water warmer shorts and boots will suffice. Don’t forget to wear a safety belt on your bum in a foot of powerful current with your bottoms filling up with water is not the first place to be but it could be your last.

Fly fishing is healthy exercise many kilometers of bank are covered in the search for that elusive fish. Not just trout but hard fighting barbel. Which share the same fast-water environment as trout. Hook one of these, on light tackle and you are in for a lot of fun.

Many readers are familiar with the sight of visitors to their favourite fishery or river bagging up specimen fish, for instance large carp caught for the pot. Not one, or two fish mind you, but as many as they can catch and possibly over weeks and months.

This attitude to fishing is not shared by readers of Buscalo magazine but is far more prevalent than ten years ago when there were far fewer visitors to Spanish fisheries. Whilst it is not illegal to bag up coarse fish species, it is illegal to fish without an angling licence.

If readers care about their fishing, which I am sure they do; then the best plan of action is to contact the local Guardia and request that they check the fishermen in question for their fishing licence. If the majority of fishermen take a responsible attitude to their valued pastime then, together we can successfully tackle the problem of poaching.

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