Monthly Archives: November 2015

The town of Mequinenza from the far bank

November Carp Fishing on the River Ebro.

Mequinenza is a town in the province of Zaragoza in the community of Arogen, Spain. It sits on the confluence of the rivers Segre and Ebro. Around a mile above the town sits the hydro electricity dam which holds back the upper waters of the River Ebro. Around 16 miles downstream of the Ebro is the next dam on the valley holding back the Mequinenza Reservoir. The Mequinenza Reservoir ranges from a third to half a mile wide and holds some of Europe’s largest Catfish to weights of over 250lb, along with Carp to over 70lb.

Edd Brett, our guide and owner of Catfish Tours.

Edd Brett, our guide and owner of Catfish Tours.

Pat Gillett had received an invitation from an old friend of his, Edd Bretts, to join him to fish on the River Ebro at the famous fishing village of Mequinenza. Edd runs Catfish Tours, one of the most popular companies on the River Ebro. Catfish Tours not only run guided tours for Catfish, but also guided tours for Carp fishing. This where I come in. Pat asked me to join him on his adventure.

The layby swim just outside Mequinenza

The layby swim just outside Mequinenza

Edd Bretts runs the full package. All you need to take is your essential end tackle. No need to take reels, rods, indicators, pods shelters, nets etc. Everything is provided. The packages for both the Cat fishing and carp fishing also includes, free Airport pick up, accommodation and a guide for the week with a boat.

We arrived at Barcelona Airport on 21st November to be met by a taxi which took us direct to meet Edd at Mequinenza.  Edd then gave us a guided tour of potential fishing areas of the Mequinenza Reservoir.

The weather calmed down on the Friday and this Common graced my nets.

The weather calmed down on the Friday and this Common graced my nets.

The evening was spent dining at the Wembley Bar, which came to be our social club for the rest of the week. Brilliant meals and beer, and was the meeting place for anglers from all nationalities over Europe.

7 am on the Sunday morning  and we were on the road, setting off to our first fishing location of the week. This was going to be a new fishing experience for me, a huge river system with depths of over 40 feet, where the flow and undertow would be determined by the Spanish electricity companies as they let water in and out of the 2 main dams. Rods would be fished high, almost vertical to keep the line as high off the water surface as possible.

This Kingfisher caught a lot more fish than I did

This Kingfisher caught a lot more fish than I did

Initially I saw fish showing at around 80 yards out into the main river system but after a couple of hours they were at range. I initially cast the baits out and was fishing in around 30 foot depths at 80 yards. I  recast to the fish until they well behond my casting range. This is were Edd came into his own. He rowed the baits out along with some loose feed to ranges of up to 200 yards. Due to the flow of the river and cross winds, we were fishing with 6 to 8 oz leads in order to hold the baits in place, with the rods almost vertical on rod pods. The rigs were set up so that any pick up would result in the leads being dropped almost immediately,this bringing the fish to the surface as soon as possible. My hook rigs were made up of 15lb N-trap soft with the blow back rig to size 4′s long shank hooks, and 4″ hook lengths.   My baits were attached to a long hair in the form of a snow man set up, with a 16mil Patshull Park Squid and Orange bottom bait and a purple fluro Squid and Orange pop up.

River Ebro sitting in the back ground

River Ebro sitting in the back ground

The weather determined our fishing locations during the week as we tried to make the fishing as easy as possible for ourselves. For the first 3 days the temperature did not rise above 9C which is well below the average for this time of year. The fishing was slow and we had some huge winds on the Wednesday and Thursday making fishing almost impossible at times due to cross winds and the wave action on such a huge water system. Friday saw a change in the weather with the temperature rising and hardly any wind.

A 36lb common, the last fish of my session on the Friday

A 36lb common, the last fish of my session on the Friday

At the end of the week I had hooked and landed 7 carp to 48lb 8oz with 3 huge catfish lost to cut off’s on the marginal rocks.

The biggest specimen of the week at 48lb 8oz

The biggest specimen of the week at 48lb 8oz

Our guide and Host, Edd remained with us for all our fishing, providing excellent advice and showed that he had a vast knowledge of the water systems around Mequinenza.  I would fully recommend the service that he provides as being a totally professional operation. There are many companies that run tours on the Ebro but few provide the fully guided tours that Edd provides.

There was very few other fish caught during the week by any other parties on the river so I put my success down to the ever faithful Squid and Orange bottom baits and pop ups and the help that Edd provided.

For more information on Catfish Tours click here

Paul Cooper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter is here

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Well, it’s that time of year again when you are fishing for hard earned carp. Over the next few months I will be fishing very short sessions, in the hope of getting a couple of bites. Winter is generally a very non productive time of the year as the carps metabolism slows right down due to it being a cold blooded creature. We has anglers have to react accordingly and  need to reduce the amount of feed and change our baiting strategies. Food still needs to be introduced to the water  but obviously in much lesser quantities.

The results can be rewarding

The results can be rewarding

I always believe that baits need to get smaller, so out come the 12 and 14 mil boilies with possibly even smaller pop ups. Pop ups, critically balanced/wafters, are probably the best option to get that occasional bite. Now bites are hard to come by, so everything at the baited end needs to be perfect. I try to use Ultra sharp smaller hooks, very short hook links and stringers instead of fishing over bait. It is a good idea to over flavour any pop ups so now is the time to get those baits soaked in the flavour of your choice.

Any bait that I introduce to the lake I put in at the end of my session, especially if I intend to return the following days or in a few days time. As for amount of bait, this depends on the weather. If we are due for a mild wet period the fish should feed so maybe 1/2 a kilo of bait can be introduced. I try to spread the bait rather than feeding one spot so that I am getting the bait to any fish that may remain in one locality.

Pleasant Winters day

Pleasant Winters day

With Winter it is guess work when the carp feed, be it for just one hour in 3 or 4 days, but they do feed. If you have timed it right or and Lady Luck is on your side, you may get a  bite or two, but more often than not the indicators remain silent. It can be mind numbing but as long as you have the right clothing and plenty of warm drink it can be pleasurable. The nights are long so it is short sessions for me, a flask and sandwiches and travelling light. Wrap up warm and watch the water.

Paul Cooper

 

35 32lb 4oz 6th November 2015 (5)

More Squid and Orange results

Over the last month I have been back on my old favourite, the Patshull Park Squid and orange. I had some 14mil freezer baits made up ready for a some short sessions on one of my syndicate waters.

This 23lb 4oz linear took a liking to a 14mil Squid and Orange boilie.

This 23lb 4oz linear took a liking to a 14mil Squid and Orange boilie.

I decided to spend a night on the water, arriving at the lake around 4pm. As the light was just fading I had my 1st run and by midnight I had tallied 4 low twenty pound carp. A feeding spell of 4 hours then nothing else.23lb 8oz 29th September 2015 (3)

The 6th of November and I decided to spend a full day on the same water, arriving at around 9am. I had just picked up some 12mil Squid and Orange ready for the cold weather. The weather was mild, around 15C and I saw a few fish moving around so I fed around 2 kilo of bait on 3 different spots which resulted in nothing.

The light was just fading and a drop back resulted in this 32lb 4oz Linear.

The light was just fading and a drop back resulted in this 32lb 4oz Linear.

Mid afternoon, and  I decided that a move was on the cards to a location where I had seen a big mirror put it’s head out of the water. As I was travelling light I was fishing in my new location within about 10 minutes, Out went more boilies. With half an hour of daylight left, one of the rods indicated a drop back. I was soon into a strong fighting carp. Into the net went a 32lb 4oz linear, what a surprise. This fish had put on around 4lb since it’s last capture over 12 months ago.

A 25lb 14oz Common caught on a 12mil Squid and Orange.

A 25lb 14oz Common caught on a 12mil Squid and Orange.

I returned  for an afternoon session a couple of days later. Again armed with my old faithful, Squid and Orange. Out went 3 rods. Again it was mild with a strong South Westerly blowing into my face. 1/2 a kilo of boilies on each rod and after waiting no more than 2 hours I was once again into a fish, a 25lb 14oz Common. More Squid and Orange please Simon.

Paul Cooper