Coarse Fishing in Spain by Philip Pembroke

Information about places to go sea bass fishing in Spain

Buscalo, December 2006

Sitting by a reservoir, or fishing a river gives time for reflection on the past week’s activities or enjoyment of wildlife, for instance when observing beautifully coloured kingfisher birds using the rod tip as a perching post to stalk fish fry, and taking in the sounds of nature.

Away from busy towns and cities, the countryside has its own rhythm.  Sometimes I can hear for miles.  This is especially the case with local quarries where legal dynamiting can be heard at least 8km distant.  One detonation every fifteen minutes, you don’t need a watch where I fish.

Now the hunting season is underway explosive sounds of a different nature are present. The concussion of shotguns and the bark from hunting dogs, far up in the hills, and relieved at being given their freedom. Most of the year, they are chained up to a fence in a pound.

These are some of the sounds of the countryside.  By now all the birds and every other warm-blooded creature, if they have any sense has vacated the locality.

Fish are cold blooded. This means that they rely on the heat of the sun, as transferred through the temperature of the water to stay active. Cold water, in winter, means that given the dynamics of body mass a larger body looses heat at a slower rate most of the smaller fish will become much less active.

Winter then can be a good time to catch specimen carp and barbel. Anglers will experience fewer bites but also be less bothered by smaller fish.  Only a larger fish’s metabolism can sustain enough energy to continue feeding in colder temperatures.

Anglers may have to wait longer for a bite but the chance of catching a big fish is much improved.  Baits like boiles (a carp bait made from artificial foodstuffs) need to be based around protein that the fish seek to build up fat reserves rather than carbohydrates, needed in spring for energetic spawning.

No matter what the holiday brochure says, anywhere in Spain can get very cold in winter.  Previously in Buscalo I talked about the many exotic fish species introduced into Spain, for instance the sunfish, which is from Mexico.  They do not like the cold and will not pester the angler, in pursuit of larger fish in December and January.

As spring comes around nature is starting to renew. This is the time to start planning those day trips to catch sea bass (robalo). Information about places to go sea bass fishing in Spain follows.

Robalo is not a hard fish to catch.  As long as the angler chooses the right time and locality they will be rewarded with the best eating fish around.

Why not plan to make a visit the estuary of the River Ter near Estartit on the Costa Brava coast. Spinning a lure in the brackish river mouth for bass at this time of year gets results and a maritime fishing licence that’s required for estuary fishing costs only a few euros.

Juvenile schools of sea bass will swim many kilometres upstream in search of small fish to prey upon. They are noticeable at dusk jumping on the surface after small fry. Local anglers are a good source for providing information about places to go sea bass fishing in Spain.

Larger specimens are caught on the wide empty beaches of the Ebro delta.  For instance at Playa Eucalyptus a short journey from the coast road via St Carlos de la Rapita, located just north of Vinaros, and in the mouth of the estuary itself. Information about places to go sea bass fishing in Spain comes from unexpected places.

The surrounding paddy rice fields are chock-a-block with specimen carp. Thousands of sea birds and migrating storks and egrets, taking advantage of heavy machinery harvesting rice plants, which coral the fish into confined lagoons clean up big time.

All around the coast of Catalonia local anglers have been catching nice sized mullet and loosing even bigger fish. The trick is to stand waste deep in water, off the beach and bait up a rod and line with shrimp or bread putty.  One large fish last week took off on a 30m dash, reel screaming and then escaped the hook.

Anglers need fish to escape in order to explore the various stories of “the one that got away”. Otherwise they would be boring!

Mullet in these waters often exceed 3kg. They are a powerful fish and provide excellent sport on light fishing tackle. Use 6lb line. Fly fishing tackle is even better fun. Use a streamer (feather lure that imitates bait fish) or popper to attract predatory schools of mullet.

Sea bass are often taken in the surf by skilled anglers. Beginners should cast to the rip line, in the tide just beyond the surf at high tide, especially at dawn and dusk. Select a spinning outfit or bait up a ledger rig with a lugworm and squid cocktail.

By the end of winter those hunting dogs will have been returned to guarding duties, with more senseless barking across the valley every evening, noisy but essential? Generators starting up at the witching hour and: the sound of birds?  Strangely absent.

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