Well as you can see it has been a busy time on my fishing
calendar, back from Lochnaw roach fishing for just a week and I was off again
on a Catmaster Tour trip to Spain, roach and carp being the target. The start of the trip was not good when the Monarch
Airways flight going out was delayed for four hours, but we eventually got
going after the fault had been fixed.
That ‘we’ I mentioned are John Found, Pete Reading and myself, all
well-known and successful roach anglers who also fancy a bit of carp fishing on
the side. All three of us had previously
tried the Spanish roach fishing on a previous carp trip, catching roach to over
two pound, but this time we would allow more time in their pursuit.
Picking up a self-drive car at Barcelona the two hour drive
to Mequinenza was soon completed and with a phone call it was arrange we would
meet our guide to show us the apartment where we would stay. This proved to be a very satisfactory
accommodation with all that we needed for our holiday there but for those intending
to go out to Spain, take your teabags with you!
Once settled, we had already decided not to fish on the first day and we
made out way to the local eating establishment - The Citron Blue. We again met up with John Deakin who was to
be our guide for the week and over a meal we discussed the various options open
to us. John suggested we fish just up
along from the town frontage in an area that had been producing a number of
good fish so that was agreed and having set a start time we retired to bed.
John Deakin chats with John Found after checking all was well .
Just after dawn John came along to take us to our swims and
before too long we were fishing out to the distant weed beds that could be seen
on the surface some 80yds or so out from the bank. There were gaps in the line of weed as it
followed the bank and we were attempting to place baits within these areas with
a single 22mm pellet along with a bag of 6mm pellets as an extra
attraction. The 3.5lb test rods were
supplied by Catmaster, but the Biomaster reels were my own and loaded with 15lb
line and a 45lb shock leader, this would make casting the 4oz lead safer and
also give extra resistance against the weed when playing any fish that was
hooked. John had mentioned that a number
of anglers had lost fish through them going into the weed and becoming totally
snagged, I was determined this would not happen to me.
John in the camp, Pete in the background, and myself to the right of the photo
The weather was very nice with what wind there was coming
from slightly behind us and the temperature going over 20C. We were spread out over perhaps fifty yards
of bank which allowed for a little exchange of comments during the hours we
waited for action, but then just before midday my indicator began to scream and
I was quickly playing a big fish. You
will probably know that pumping a fish gives it ample time to move away as you
reel in the line you have gained as you pump the rod upward, I used the other
way to get him away from the weed beds.
With plenty of open space behind me available in this swim I just
clamped up and walked slowly back away from the water’s edge. This is a method I’ve used over the years at
various times when snag fishing and space is available to do it, it works a
treat. Once I had gained perhaps twenty
yards and I was reasonably certain he was clear of that problem I began to reel
in and walk forward making sure the tension was kept on the line whilst doing
so. It took a little time, but
eventually an obvious big common came towards the waiting net that John held
ready and he slid in to be safely mine.
John gave a surprised comment when he went to remove the hook and all
three of us looked in wonder at the state of the hook that had brought him to
the net, how much longer it would have held is anybody’s guess but I soon
changed to a much stronger pattern.
Mugga hook before and after capture.
It was with a lot of excitement that the weighing was
completed since I was positive this would be a new personal best common carp
for me and so it proved when the scales showed 44lb-14oz. That was to be the only carp of the day for
our group, though others staying with Catmaster did get fish after dark, but we
packed up at dusk having had enough for the day.
44lb-14oz pb Common.
Since the carp fishing was mostly my idea, the other two not
being anywhere near as interested in their pursuit we would spend most of the
rest of the holiday after roach and the next day saw us start. From previous trips we had come to the
conclusion that the roach are spread throughout the river downstream of the
Mequinenza Dam and all you need is a suitable bank to fish from. Sounds easy, but there are cliff faces and
rocky reinforced banks all over the river side and suitable fishing spots can
be at a premium. Fortunately there are
still plenty to go at, and we were set ready with tackle already assembled in
the chosen swim at dawn. This can always
be a useful time to be on the bank if it is reasonably calm as the roach do
tend to show themselves for the first hour or so of light before they disappear
from the surface for the day.
Fortunately we saw enough to give us high hopes and we settled into our
chosen spots. Although you can at times
get away with using bank sticks it is far easier to use the carp pods provided
along with chairs etc. At the moment
Catmaster is not geared up for the roach angler but I’m sure this will be
changed as they take advantage of this incredible fishing on their doorstep.
The veiw from one of the roach swims.
Griffin Vulture soars overhead.
Roach fishing Spanish style.
A Griffin Vulture with up to a 9ft wingspan the King of the mountains.
My tackle comprised of two rods which I had taken out with
me along with a suitable small net and landing net pole. With those rocky banks you need the longest
rod it is reasonable to use and I had chosen a Drennan Medium 11.5ft to 13ft
Feeder rod with the intent to use it at the 13ft length. Along with this I also took a Drennan 12ft
1.25lb test Avon Specialist which I could use either as a standard top joint or
the quivertip top joint option should I need.
My end rig was a simple water knot paternoster rig of 6lb main
line. This was tied to give a 1ft length
for the Drennan 35 gram open ended cage feeder, and a 3ft tail going to a 4lb
fluorocarbon hook length and a size 10 wide gape Drennan super Specialist hook. The bait was single grain of corn that had
previously proven to be deadly bait for the roach and this was readily
available from the local store, we think they must have wondered what had
happen as we emptied the shelves each night of the tins they put out.
It did seem that any groundbait that carried a high halibut
content worked better, and this would of course make sense with the amount of
pellets fed in for the carp and catfish.
Indeed it can sometimes be a problem for those anglers to wind in and
find a large roach stuck on the size 4 hook or even bigger, much to their
dismay. That first day set the pattern
for those that followed and John opened the 2lb plus account with fish of
2lb-3oz and what proved to be the largest of the week at 2lb-12oz. At first Peter was catching roach at a far
better rate than John and I though we eventually realised that it was just
because he was fishing at a greater range.
This did not make much sense since we were going into 30 foot or more of
water just a short distance from the bank but results were undeniable so out we
John's best of the trip at 2lb-12oz.
The first 2lb of the trip at 2lb-3oz.
A planes trail gives us our own volcano on the opposite bank.
The scenery is both bland and majestic at the same time, mountains
dominate the region and very little grows on the banks while what had grown had
already dried up to a tinder. The cliffs
behind this swim and also another we visited hold a group of griffin vultures,
magnificent birds that ride the thermals with ease throughout the mornings. The weather held up throughout our stay with
the wind being the only problem on one of the days causing us to finish early
avoiding the waves crashing over the bank and drowning us as we sat there. Daytime temperatures went over 20C and even
the late evenings were still in the mid-teens.
Over the five and a half days we fished we caught 16 roach over the
magic two pound figure with the best going to John at 2lb-12oz as already
mentioned. Peter and I both had a best
fish of 2lb-8oz, but all of us caught a good number of the fish just under the
2lb mark these going 1lb-14oz and 1lb-15oz, still magical fish but not what we
came to Spain for. The 3lb fish are
there to be caught, but don’t make the mistake of thinking they will fall for
your bait every day. The value of a
specimen fish is that they are exceptional and with 2lb plus roach being a
worthy target and caught almost every day, it is nice to know the 3lb fish could
be the next bite.
My best of the trip at 2lb-8oz
A rare shot of me with a hat on plus a sunny 2lb roach.
Pete's 2lb-8oz taken at dusk.
An equally sunny 2lb-6oz for Pete.
Throughout the roach
days I occasionally put out a carp rod as my second rod and this did produce
another carp though nowhere near the size of the first. Meanwhile we were being kept updated on the
results of the other groups of anglers with Catmaster and these seemed to be doing very well indeed
with another 40lb carp along with lots of 30’s, and two catfish over the 200lb mark
falling to one lucky angler who was definitely pleased with his weeks fishing.
The larger of two 200lb cats landed by David at 205lb.
The second 40lb common in the week at 40lb-2oz for Iain.
In closing I would
mention that the one essential bit of gear we missed was that of a small
unhooking mat for those rocky banks, but I’m sure Colin Bunn will have those
available should the anglers take up this roach fishing as should be the case. Mild winter weather and great sport catching
specimen fish, give it a try you will not be disappointed!
My carp is returned but not forgotten.