Coarse Fishing in Spain by Philip Pembroke

Information about places to go carp fishing in Spain

Buscalo, January 2007

In November last year in the world carp record was broken by an English angler from a lake near Bordeaux, in south west France, the fish weighed 87lb 2oz.. A whopper!

There are two points to make here, when providing information about places to go carp fishing in Spain. Spain’s southerly latitude maintains even better conditions for fish to carry on feeding right through winter.

Smaller fish have less body mass and loose heat quicker, they are less active in the colder months. Therefore the odds of landing a large carp or barbel or pike are increased from December through February.

It’s true that anglers in pursuit of a fish of a lifetime are willing to endure hours even days waiting for a bite, but at least their hook bait is not continually disturbed by nuisance crayfish and perca sol. If any fish decides to run with the bait the chances are it’s going to be a big’n.

Secondly the Spanish record carp – 72lb is closing the gap on its French record catch counterpart. And the news gets better. In France these monster fish are nurtured on a diet of boilies – artificial foodstuff introduced into 20 acre managed fisheries to increase fish size. Like a pumped up body builder looks can be deceptive.

Bulk comes before fitness and any river carp, half this size in Spain, will put up a better fight. In Spain all carp are left to their own devices and will grow to their natural potential weight over a longer period of time.  A specimen over 30lb will put up a fight of a lifetime for any angler. Just imagine what a fighting fit fish of 50lb or more can do when hooked. These fish are all muscle there is no fat belly.

The number of large carp caught in France far exceeds the total number caught in Spain at present. This is because the number of anglers fishing for specimen carp is much greater not because the fish do not exist in the first place. Therefore the potential for large fish not just carp is greater in Spain – and Portugal than elsewhere.

Information about places to go carp fishing in Spain can be unexpected. Winter is a good time to go predator fishing. In Spain that means zander and pike, unless visiting the river Ebro for siluro catfish. Both species are caught using similar methods. Spinning and dead baiting are the most popular tactics.

Watch out for the drop back bite when zander attack. When the line goes slack seize the rod and reel in as fast as possible. The zander will make a powerful first run then it’s usually all over.

There are some big fellas out there but nothing compares with the fight of a large pike. They don’t give up as easily. Unofficially some monsters have been netted occasionally from balsas – irrigation ponds in Navarra, northern Spain. These waters are stocked with trout and this explains why the pike grow quickly in some locations.

The trout ponds are netted every few years for these large predators that recently have exceeded 70lbs. Any angler can fish here provided they have the regional angling licence and sometimes a day ticket is available from the local bar or restaurant.

Details of where these big pike waters exist can be found in Phil's Fishing Guide Books about Spain.

American largemouth Black bass are at their fighting prime in winter. The Spanish record was recently held by the Club Bass Valencia, fishing club. Their favourite water is called the Embalse de Muela de Cortes situated in the national park of that name just west of Valencia.

Inactivity of smaller fish in the colder months means that the odds of hooking a Black bass over 3lbs in weight are greatly increased. Pound for pound they are one of the hardest fighting fish around. On light tackle, either a spinning reel and plug or a fly line and streamer the fight is unbelievable. And not easily forgotten.

Casting from a boat to shore at this reservoir is the best way to go because of the steep banks. But access is easier from the shore at Cofrentes where there are also some large carp are present.

Information about places to go carp fishing in Spain is provided in my book called The Essential Guide to Coarse Angling in Spain.

It’s often said that all a specimen carp angler needs are the qualities of patience and endurance. And the less flattering describe the pursuit as 10 minutes of action interrupted by 10 hours of bum scratching and cheap paperbacks.

Quite true. But the skill lies in choosing the right location to fish, effective baiting, and dogged persistence.  In large reservoirs like the Embalse de Almendra near Salamanca there are large carp and pike. But not many visit to fish. Knowledge of where the big fish hold up is limited.

The experienced angler will apply knowledge gained from successfully fishing another large water to a new venue. Looking out for spurs on the shoreline where deep water is within casting range, wind direction and most obviously discarded sweetcorn tins left by local anglers that are is a give away to hotspot swims.

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