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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.