We intended to stay for eight weeks so there was no need to rush, there was plenty of time to settle ourselves in before we got down to the serious business of fishing.
The caravan had been left unattended for over six months, and we had left Spain thoroughly soaked after three days of continuous rain which had resulted in the worst Ebro flooding for several years, so it was with some apprehension that we returned to our mobile home. We need not have worried, all was well and within a few hours we were settled in. Day two was spent stocking the food store and making sure that we had plenty of bait, and we were ready for the off!
If you arrange a short fishing holiday it is almost certain that you will try to maximise your fishing time, but when you have eight weeks at your disposal there is a great temptation to spread out your fishing and spend quite a lot of time 'chilling out' and this we did. During this particular holiday we only fished two or three times each week, and because we lost two weeks potential fishing when we had a visit from two of our grandchildren, we only actually fished on thirteen days, but what fishing it was.
We decided that our first days fishing would be at a venue mid-way between Tivenys and Tortosa but we were not overly optimistic. The river was carrying about three feet of extra water, and in our chosen pegs it was pulling through so fast that we considered abandoning the day but we stuck it out. Fishing was very difficult and we were having to use three ounces of lead to hold bottom but after about an hour the fish started to bite and they then came at regular intervals. We fished from nine until four-thirty and ended the day with over eighty pounds of fish, including four commons between six and ten pounds, a very nice opening.
The next two trips, to Bennifallet and the Weir were nowhere near as good, but Val did have fish of nine plus and fourteen plus. Even the mighty Ebro does not produce every time and it irks me somewhat to hear anglers who would be delighted with a ten pound bag in the U.K. complaining when they only get thirty pounds on the Ebro.
We knew that one of my readers was on the river and on Sunday May 6th he came round for dinner along with the Sales family, Peter, Dan and Ness with whom he had arranged his holiday. Fishing with Dan he had already had a seventy pound cat, lovely! Although he fished with Dan on other occasions Paul did not catch any more cats, but like so many anglers who visit the Ebro for the first time he fell in love with it and has already arranged two more holidays through Dan, whose email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
On the 7th and 8th of May we fished two consecutive days on the horseshoe bend at Flix. The river was still high making fishing very difficult but at Flix the water level is controlled for hydro-electric purposes and so the problems are mitigated to a certain extent. Nevertheless it was not easy, but what fishing:- in two days, fishing from about eight a.m. to about four-thirty we had over three hundred and fifty pounds of fish, ten of which were over six pounds, including one ten, one eleven, one twelve and a super fish of sixteen pounds eight ounces which was to be the biggest of the holiday. Unfortunately the river rose dramatically during the afternoon and we were unable to fish for several days thereafter.
It was May 14th before we got back on the river and this time we chose the lower reaches near to the village of Campredo. Although it is only fifty miles from Flix to Campredo the changes in the river are immense. At Flix the river is little more than a hundred yards wide, with an average depth of eight to ten feet and very little flow, whereas at the Weir the river is two hundred yards wide, shallow and very fast running. Compare this to Campredo, a mere twelve miles downstream; here the river is more than a quarter of a mile wide, deep and sluggish and offers great conditions for both carp and cats.
The pegs that we use at Campredo are really comfortable with car parking within ten yards and a flat grassy bank, but this part of the river can be very fickle, it certainly started out that way! Despite the fact that we were fishing side by side I was twenty five pounds ahead after only two hours, but Val can be extremely dogged and by the end of the day she had almost caught me with a very significant share of a one hundred and twenty pound bag. Perhaps the most memorable part of the day was my breaking my own personal cat-fish record with a fish of twelve ounces; not only my smallest but the smallest heard of by any of our friends!
In one of my earlier articles I suggested that Ebro fish require catching just like any others and our next outing proved the point. We were fishing at Flix and shared the bank with two groups of British anglers, one group of four and one of two. By lunch time the larger group had packed up in disgust and although the two-some toughed it out, they had only three fish when we left having caught one hundred and twenty pounds of common carp. The river was once again high and Val and I knew where the fish were, but the visiting anglers did not, the lesson? Listen to and watch the regular anglers on the river and learn from them.
After a fairly ordinary days fishing at Campredo on June 9th we arranged a days catfishing for the 11th with Dan, Val being the angler and yours truly crewing. Despite the fact that we saw shoals of mullet being attacked by cats on numerous occasions throughout the day, we had only two takes, but despite the fact that one of them gave Val a screaming fifty yard run, neither of the two fish were landed. It was however a very enjoyable, if frustrating day.
Our time in Spain was fast coming to an end and we had only two more days fishing planned. The first of them was at a new venue close to the regular pegs near Campredo, and what a frustrating place that was! We banked one hundred and thirty pounds of fish, of which Val took the lions' share although I had two beauties of thirteen and a half pounds and nine and a half pounds. Unfortunately the winter floods had deposited a large tree about thirty yards below my swim and I lost count of the number of fish that I lost in it. In a completely different way the last days fishing also proved frustrating. We returned to Flix and caught well, but by early afternoon the temperature had hit 39 degrees and we had no natural shelter; time to pack up and think about the journey home.
Eight wonderful weeks of holiday and fishing, but the final statistics surprised me. In thirteen days fishing we took a total of one thousand three hundred and eighty pounds of fish, thirty six being between six and ten pounds plus nine doubles, the best of which weighed in at sixteen and a half pounds!
Surely enough to satisfy all but the most demanding of anglers? Until next time, tight lines.
David and Val.