Coarse Fishing in Spain by Philip Pembroke

Fishing artificial lakes (reservoirs) in Spain

Catalonia Life, March 2006

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 mind, a willingness to experiment using different baits and tactics.

Fishing artificial lakes (reservoirs) in Spain

Artificial lakes in Spain are called 'embalses', and they have been created by building a dam where a river is boxed in by a canyon. On first sight a huge reservoir may prove intimidating. Will I be able locate the fish in such a large water for instance, Embalse de Riba Roja on the River Ebro in Catalonia? The answer is yes. The key to a successful fishing session lies in creating a ground-baiting plan to attract the fish you intend to catch. No matter how good your tackle and baits are, if you don’t follow some basic rules you will not realise the fishing potential for any given water.

Some readers will have some experience of fishing Ireland’s natural lakes, for instance in Cavan County for bream. A similar technique is required to go fishing artificial lakes (reservoirs) in Spain. To attract fish you will require one full bucket of particle ground bait per swim per day. Do not hold back, quantity is the key. Sure, it may take a while to attract fish but in a short while it will be time to bag up - big time.

Phil’s Ground bait Mix

One large bucket mix will cost less than six euros. when bought from a local Spanish supermarket. On my shopping list: sweetcorn, maize, sunflower seeds, beans of all types, peas, chickpeas, tiger nuts. Please feel free to ad your own ideas, this is an approximate science.

Remember to soak for a long time and boil for a short time or vice versa. Cover your ground bait mix with some water to keep it fresh on hot summer days by the lake shore.

From my own experience, fishing improves the day after ground baiting. I have used a fish finder, sonar device a few hours after ground baiting and most of the fish, located in the vicinity, were gathered right over my feed. Ground baiting really works.

Fish like to congregate around submerged obstacles. At Embalse de Riba Roja the best places to fish are in deep water, near the dam wall (presa) and in the old river channel. Many anglers, new to an area experience problems gaining access to an embalse. There is normally a service road that will lead to the dam wall. And where space is provided for a car park and small recreational area.

So far I have explained a good fishing method for achieving large bags of fish made up of many small carp, fishing quite near to the bank (less than 25m casting distance). 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.

A method feeder is a small wire or plastic cage, which attaches to your main line above the hook length, which you load with a small quantity of fish-meal (ad a bit of water) and loose feed mixed in e.g. sweetcorn. Lidl 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 fishermen will swear that they catch their best fish using  (a commercial bait product made from reconstituted artificial foodstuffs s. This is to please the businesses that supply them with free bait. They only tell the public half of 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 River Ebro for his master Don Quixote in this manner. And in fact the largest carp, officially caught in Spain, was lured on by bean hook bait, quite recently at 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 Spanish reservoirs.

The potential exists for catching even bigger fish in Spanish freshwater locations, for instance fishing artificial lakes (reservoirs) in Spain. The massive Embalse de Almendra, located west of Salamanca near to the Portuguese border, contains enormous pike but hardly anyone fishes there. Nearer to the Costa Blanca area Embalse de Argos, situated up from Murcia is one of the best large carp waters around.

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