Before we look at the fishing in these two areas I would like to offer a few tips on arranging a fishing holiday in the Ebro valley. There are several forms of accommodation available with a wide price range, but those readers who read the first of these articles will recall that I recommended that on your first visit you secure the services of a guide, and this is most easily done by arranging a package that includes such a service. Once you have familiarised yourself with the river, there is no reason why you should not make your own arrangements, so saving a considerable amount of money. As I have already said , several forms of accommodation are available, whether you make your own arrangements or travel as part of a package:.
There are several lodges offering specialist accommodation to anglers, and most of them operate on a half board basis. All of them are good but the angler should satisfy himself that an adequate guiding service is offered, and it may pay to check the exact location of your chosen lodge on a map of the area.
There are numerous hotels in the area, varying from the rather grand (and expensive ) Parador in Tortosa to the homely and inexpensive Mora Park in Mora. Most of the hotels offer accommodation on a room only basis but in the more modestly priced hotels breakfast and dinner can be purchased far more cheaply than in the U.K.
These buildings offer good accommodation on a room only basis, and do not normally have restaurant facilities, in consequence it pays to check that there is an adequate number of restaurants in the area.
Normally this would mean choosing a town centre Aparthotel such as the Corona Aparthotel in Tortosa.
For the really keen and hardy amongst you, several groups, including Dan and Peter Sales (referred to in the previous article) offer twenty four hour riverside accommodation in bivouacs. Arranging your holiday this way maximises your fishing time but the lack of creature comforts does not appeals to everybody.
Self catering facilities are not thick an the ground in the Ebro valley and it may be that those anglers who prefer to holiday in this way would need to find accommodation along the coast and travel daily to their chosen pegs.
Whatever form of accommodation you choose you will be pleasantly surprised by the availability quality
and cost of shopping. There are a number of large supermarkets in Tortosa and Amposta, with smaller but
adequate facilities in Mora and Flix.
To give a few examples of rural Spanish prices:
A litre of lager beer 40p-60p
Rolling Tobacco (pouch) £1-25
Spirits (litre) £3-£4.50
Sweetcorn (large can) 30p-45p
Lunch (roadside cafe) £4.50-£5.50 Normally four courses including wine, water and coffee.
Dinner (from) £6
In addition to the prices shown above, most food prices compare very favourably with the U.K.
There are three separate venues at Riba Roca, all of which offer superlative fishing, and all of which are
approached from the same direction.
Travelling north along the N230 from Mora D'E1 Ebre you will reach the traffic lights at Flix after about twenty kilometres. Turn 1eft at these lights then first right past the fire station (Parc Bombers)to the T junction where you turn left. Some three miles down this road you will come to the village of Riba Roca, but you drive straight through, past the Club Nautica and under the railway. About a mile and a half after going under the railway you will see the dam and at this point you should look for a dirt road off to the right. If you follow this lane to the end you will be just below the dam. The best pegs are between the large tree and the b.b.q. but any of these pegs are productive. A word of warning, if the weather is wet, the lane down to these pegs, normally easy, can become dangerous!
If you ignore this lane the road forks sharp1y after it. Take the left hand fork, drive up to the dam, and cross to the far side. At the far side bear right and park where the road has become blocked with gravel. The walk to the river is about two hundred metres and the best pegs are numbers three to five which are to the right, but once again, all these pegs are productive.
Alternatively if you do not cross the dam you will see a dirt road leading down to a picnic and b.b.q. area.
Drive straight through, and you will come to a series of bays. All of these pegs are good, but numbers one to sixty are very deep and can be difficult to fish, whereas numbers one hundred to about one forty seem to be the most consistent. One big advantage of fishing above the dam is that it is still water and offers the opportunity to fish with a float. Polaris can be a killer here!
At the traffic lights at Flix turn right towards the town centre, following the signs for the ferry (barca). The ferry is a free continuous service and will take you to the far bank and the wonderful fishing in the nature reserve. Pegs are on both sides of the disembarkation point, but the most popular are to the right.
Fishing here can be brilliant, and in addition to the Carp there is a large head of quality Roach and Rudd. For those of you interested in predators, there are abundant Black Bass and Zander, together with some of the largest Catfish in the river.
The venues at Riba Rocca and Flix are both day ticket waters, but the cost is less than two pounds a day, and that represents a bargain.
The London Quartet
On our first ever visit to Spain we met four lads from the London area who were "old hands" and knew the area well. These lads offered us much advice, amongst which was the instruction that we must never leave a rod unattended, even for a moment, and although we were used to fishing for hooligan barbel on our Yorkshire rivers, I took this warning to heart.
Throughout the week we became very friendly with Allen and his mates David, Lee and Ronnie, to the extent that we agreed to fish together on what was to be the last day of the holiday for all of us. Flix has a reputation for reliability and for this reason, coupled with the fact that large numbers of anglers can fish together, it was our chosen venue.
The ox-bow at Flix lived up to it's reputation and we had a good days fishing crowned by the laugh of the week. During the afternoon which had become hot and sultry, Allen came to talk with me. In his broad London accent he said, 'Here Dave, you know what I was telling you about never leaving your rod alone?", my ears pricked up, 'Yes Allen," I encouraged him to continue, fearing the worst. "Yes well," he said, 'I was sitting there just now, dozing a little and day-dreaming the way you do, when all of a sudden the butt of my rod shot up and clipped me behind the *****ing ear! Man, you've got to be careful!"
I hope that you are keeping well lads.
Although the weather in the Ebro valley is generally warm and pleasant, November 4th 1999 was to prove very much the exception. On what was to be the last days fishing of that holiday, Val and I had decided to make an early start and fish up at Flix. We arrived at about seven thirty a.m. and were surprised to see the deck of the ferry covered with a white powder, we assumed it was the result of a farmer spilling part of a load. Imagine our surprise when I got out of the car and found that it was a solid covering of frost!
Because the water in the river was relatively warm, a heavy mist was rising from it but nevertheless our expectations were zero. We did decide to fish, and what a good decision that was; we ended up with well over a hundred pounds of fish with the best weighing in at eight pounds!
There's Baggin' up, then there's the Big Bag up!
In November l998 we decided to finish our holiday with a day out at Riba Roca. The chosen venue was the far bank, below the dam, and we fished pegs three and four. The fishing was beyond anything that we had experienced before and because of this we decided to squeeze in an extra day and returned to the same pegs the following morning.
At that time of year we were fishing in shadow until eleven o'clock and by three thirty the temperature was falling rapidly, in consequence we only fished for six hours on each of these two days. In a total of twelve hours fishing we landed over five hundred pounds of fish, all carp and the analysis was stunning:
Day one; Total weight 2531bs including fifteen fish over six pounds, of which two were doubles. Day two: Total weight 2551bs including fifteen fish over six pounds of which one was a double.
After fishing like this it really is time to put the gear away and head off home!
Bigger and Better
When we started our holiday in the Spring of 1999, the biggest carp that we had caught weighed fifteen pounds four ounces and it had fallen to Val. Nevertheless, never satisfied, she was burning to catch a twenty pounder.
On the fourth of June we fished Riba Roca, below the dam on the far bank, and we were having a great day. Just before noon Val indicated to me that she was into a good fish and would need help with the landing net. A glance was enough to tell me that there was no hurry so I brought in my rod before going over to help.
After about fifteen minutes it had became obvious that this was no ordinary carp, and we began thinking in terms of the elusive twenty pounder. The fish fought hard and long and it was over half an hour before I netted it for Val. It was a superb Cat-fish of twenty eight pounds four ounces, taken on three grains of corn fished on a hair-rig to a number eight hook, lovely!
After five minutes or so of congratulations and calming down, I cast into my own swim only to have the bait taken 'on the drop' and as soon as I struck I knew that I was into a good fish. This time it was Val's turn to man the landing net, and after ten minutes or so I was beginning to think that I had imitated Val and hooked another Catfish. Nothing of the kind, I had in fact beaten Val to her ambition, Val eventually slid the net under a gorgeous carp that weighed in at twenty pounds and four ounces. I don't think she has forgiven me yet, nor will she until she takes her own twenty pounder.
Until next time, tight lines
David and Val.