Coarse Fishing in Spain by Philip Pembroke

Match Fishing in Spain

Buscalo, August 2008

Fishing in Spain is a competitive sport. Autumn will be upon us soon and weather conditions have changed rapidly after up to six months of drought and recent flooding in some parts of Spain. Where between 175 and 275 litres of rain per square metre has fallen.

Fish too have been feeling the change. In anticipation of the colder months ahead their dietary requirements have changed in order to tide them over the relatively inactive winter months; from carbohydrate rich foodstuffs, needed to gain energy for spawning to a diet rich in protein, in order to gain weight.

Some anglers will have noticed recently that the fish they have caught have been hooked more frequently on luncheon meat, for instance and less frequently on sweetcorn. Or: perhaps not?

Anglers who use boilies (a commercial bait product made from reconstituted artificial foodstuffs) to catch carp and Wels catfish (siluro) are certainly encouraged to experiment with the composition of their bait products.

Many more will I am sure not care a less or notice any change in fish behaviour. Temperate conditions on the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca allow fish to spawn year round. Spain is a big country and the effects of climate will certainly differ between regions.

The surrounding water and therefore adjacent coastal land mass will take longer to cool down. And for this reason the fish may feed longer into the autumn and winter than in those locations further inland. Angling locations by the coast will ultimately experience cold in winter.

Moving towards the middle of Spain e.g. Embalse de Buendia, a reservoir just east of Madrid, near Entrepenas is a fishing destination worth considering for an autumn trip before the fish bed down, because the air is still warm from very hot summers.

Fishermen don’t experience a suffocating sun, when angling in Spain is commonly understood to be at its best in the autumn and spring.  Cooler water encourages fish to feed throughout the day whereas in the hot summer months they head for the cooler depths and a long siesta.

The trout fishing season starts in March but spring floods and freezing water, caused by snow melt, arriving from mountains inhibits fish activity. For trout, fishermen have to wait till May for the best fishing conditions to occur.

Match fishing, at this time of year, is fast gaining popularity among Spanish local fishing teams and ex-pat fishing clubs. Coarse anglers, those who fish for carp and barbell, can carry on fishing successfully right through the winter under the right conditions.

Competition fishing (team and individual events) has become a trendy spectator sport. Onda Cero, just like its British counterpart Talk Sport Radio, broadcasts a weekly fishing show, which believe it or not presents live, cast-by-cast commentary. Now the word has spread. It’s no longer silly to say there’s a lot more to fishing than meets the eye.

A few years ago, amongst shoppers in your local Lidl supermarket this type of press coverage would have attracted ridicule, just watch as anglers kept quiet when affronted by fellow customers’ gossip about the hundredweight packs of sweetcorn or lentils being passed through checkout counters.

Remember that a comprehensive range of ingredients, available cheaply from local Spanish supermarkets, will provide excellent hook bait and ground bait and is listed in my book, The Essential Guide to Coarse Fishing in Spain.

Spanish match fishing teams have been world-beaters for many years just like their U.K. counterparts. Ex-pat fishermen and women are joining local fishing clubs at a faster rate than ever before. A few are listed below, and if I have omitted your club please don’t hesitate to get in touch so I can give your organisation a mention in next month’s edition of Buscalo.

As mentioned, match fishing has become a sport for everyone. At the Spanish national fishing championship; the crowd numbers thousands. The winner of the competition is decided by total fish weight or sometimes in combination with total number of fish caught, which is decided by a sophisticated formula.

This fishing event isn’t just for the active competitor but also for the majority who attend as spectators. An competition may last typically 3-5 hours on a weekend and attract hundreds of visitors. No one knows the outcome until the final weigh-in, and betting odds are decided on previous form and local advantage. A combination of good angling skill and application of technique to suit local conditions decides the winner.

Today, prize money runs into thousands of euros per event and a top angler can buy a house with their combined prize money and sponsorship earnings that a successful fishing season brings.

Recently, the fishing governing authorities have introduced a programme to detect drug abuse among their elite anglers in a bid to legitimise their sport and create a new Olympic event in the same way that competition shooting is. Stakes are always getting higher and probably in the past a quick sniff of snuff kept many an angler’s concentration at optimum level for the duration of the contest.

We are all well aware of how easy class A drugs like cocaine and amphetamines are to obtain on the Costa resorts. And apparently this culture is now finding its way into the sport of match angling.

As winter approaches I think I will stick to sharing my flask of whiskey with fellow spectators by the riverbank but I still be wearing shorts, weather permitting.

return to previous page

Santana Books
Websites for Business created by Click-IT