Coarse Fishing in Spain by Philip Pembroke

Fishing an Artificial Lake in Spain

Buscalo, March 2008

In Spain you do not require a great deal of tackle to be a successful angler, more important than an expensive rod and reel is basic common sense and an open attitude to experimenting trying different baits and tactics.

In Spain artificial lakes – reservoirs, are called embalses. Building a dam across a river has created an embalse. On first sight these reservoirs may prove intimidating to the angler. Will I be able locate the fish in such a large water e.g. Embalse de Pedrera near Torrieveja? The answer is yes. The key to a successful fishing session is having a ground-baiting plan to attract the fish. No matter how good your tackle and hook baits may be, if you don’t follow some basic rules you will not realise the potential for any given water.

Some readers will have experience of fishing the lakes in Ireland for bream. It’s a similar method for Spanish embalses. To attract the fish to your swim you will require one full bucket of particle ground bait per swim per day. Do not hold back quantity is key. Sure, it may take a while to attract the fish to your swim but in a short time it’s time to bag up big time.

Phil’s Ground bait Mix

One large bucket mix will cost less than 6 Euros when bought from the local mercado. On my list is sweetcorn, maize (boil first), sunflower seeds, beans of all types, peas, chickpeas (boil first), tiger nuts (boil first). Please feel free to ad your own ideas this is an approximate science.

Remember to cover your ground bait mix with some water to keep it fresh on hot summer days.

From my own experience the following day’s fishing is even better. I have used a fish finder sonar device a few hours after ground baiting and most of the fish in the vicinity were gathered right over my loose feed. Ground baiting really works.

Fish like to congregate around submerged obstacles. At the Embalse de Pedrera the best places to fish are near the presa - dam wall and by the entrance to the trasvase - extraction tower. Many anglers new to an area experience problems gaining access to an embalse. There is normally a service road that will lead to the presa - dam wall where space is provided for a car park and small recreational area.

So far I have explained a good method for achieving large bags made up of many smaller carp fishing quite near to the bank (less than 25m). If you want to catch bigger fish then you must be prepared to cast out at least 50m if not 100m. This is too far to throw ground bait in large quantities. Instead I recommend a method feeder approach.

This is a small wire or plastic cage, which attaches to your line above the hook, which you load with a small quantity of fish-meal (ad a bit of water) and loose feed mixed in e.g. sweetcorn. Idyll supermarket make the best method feeder mix around, it’s their breadcrumb product, which comes in a branded box. It’s very cheap but effective. Cattle feed is another good value alternative this can be purchased from the local cow shop.

Top carp anglers will swear that they catch their best fish using commercial boilies. This is to please the businesses that supply them with their free bait. What they don’t tell you is the truth: many large carp are caught using the humble chickpea. This bait should be boiled first then marinated overnight in garlic, strawberry essence, you name it carp love them.

It’s worth experimenting with traditional hook baits. After all Spanish anglers have been catching fish for centuries using almonds, olives and beans. The fictitious literary hero Sancho Panza caught a shad on the Río Ebro for his master Don Quixote in this manner. And in fact the largest carp officially caught in Spain was lured on a bean hook bait quite recently at the Embalse de Orellana in Extremadura province, it weighed around 30kg.

Normally I would say that braid main line is very useful because of its long range casting properties. However I would recommend switching to monofilament main line, (15lb breaking strain) because it offers greater resistance to abrasion on the jagged rocky bottom of many artificial lakes.

The potential exists for catching even bigger fish in Spanish freshwater locations. The massive Embalse de Almendra west of Salamanca contains enormous pike but hardly anyone fishes there. Nearer to the Costa Blanca area the Embalse de Argos situated up from Murcia is one of the best large carp waters around.

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