HARD SPANISH LESSONS
Our new home for the week – taken the day we left, just as it was warming up again
After a very long Autumn long trade show period on the road, I was seriously ready for some fishing, as the rods had hardly been out for over 9 weeks.
I consider myself very fortunate, in that my wife Heather is almost as passionate about fishing as I am, and she was more than happy at the prospect of week soaking some baits with me.
We finally decided on Mequinenza on the Ebro and Segre confluence in
Looks like a nice day luv, storks gone missing though – as actually its -5C !
A BIT FRANK SPENCER !
Day one over there, after a good journey, and we woke to frozen water pipes, and a -5 frost! Still, we got thawed out, and put the gear together and were on the water by late morning in
The river had dropped around 7 degrees as cold water came off the mountains into the Segre. We eventually found some warm water pockets against the far bank of the
The bottom of the river was very broken, full of the remains of tree stumps and hard snags, but we were using 3 ¼s, with15lb SIC, and some new Connection lead core, and heavy coated Cocoon hook links; so were well prepared, (or so we thought).
Rigs were kept simple, a size 6 Connect 3 long shank to 20cm of green 35lb Cocoon, and an in-line 3oz coated lead, with a balanced bait pinned down with putty, to keep everything nailed hard on the bottom.
Tutti with a Pineapple Double Top please barman
Baits initially were chops or dumbbells tipped with slice of Pineapple pop up, with small PVA bags of mixed pellet soaked overnight in a mix of Aminol and Molasses. This ‘jollop bag’ was there to pull the fish to the hook bait, without overfeeding them, as we were fishing in some pretty deep and cold water, and did not want to overfeed the fish.
It stayed cold all day, never getting above 5 C, and with a stiff wind, it was not the
It seemed weird fishing for carp on the lead without an alarm, giving you at least a little warning of an impending screamer! First run, was of course, to Heather, and she was soon into her first Spanish carp. The fish really pulled back as she leant into it, banging the tip of the rod round savagely, but was lost to a snag after a couple of minutes. Sadly that was it for the day.
Next morning, following an overnight low of -4 C, sport was predictably slow, but
However, next day we awoke to the broken cloud, and no frost! The baits went out but confidence was now high!
A few hours later I lost one, and was beginning to wonder whether the gear was up to the fish in some of these swims. As the day drew on the water in the
Next day. we hurled the baits near the baited marker, and it took all of ten minutes before I had a screamer on the right hand ‘jolloped’ rod, but it came free on yet another snag.
We moved an hour later, and within minutes our baits were in position in a new swim, that was alive with rolling fish. You begin to really realise the advantages of fishing from a boat for carp on a big system like the
Off the mark at last, and though our fish were small, it was a start.
The smaller fish were more cooperative in the cold water, and we needed to keep changing our approach until we found the best bait and rig to nail the bigger fish. We rooted around in the tackle shed at
Orrible place, the
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER CARP
Out we went again to our main baited spot; full of anticipation for a day of blistering runs, but after a couple of hours, spotting only the very odd fish, it was clear that, the fish had moved. The water had cooled off again – they had pushed some more water through the dam.
So we figured a move was in order; and after anchoring, Heather was soon away on her left hand roving rod. A good scrap followed in around 12m of water, and we netted a nice 21 – her first bar of Spanish Gold.
A fabulous first fish for Heather – Spanish Gold
Now it was my turn on the rods. It had been hard fishing from the off so far, but we felt our fortunes were about to change. Then, nothing for the rest of the day !
We retired early, as we were both tired, especially Heather, who decided to have a lie in, catch up with her book, and leave the blokes to catch the fish.
We aimed to come in and collect her later, having emptied the place in the morning!
I had a take within minutes, but it fell off. I cursed, changed my hook to a size 6 Connect 4 snag hook, and then had another take, and a good scrap resulted in a low 20, followed by a great fish from
A spanking 29 for
GIRLS ARE LUCKY
I picked up a few more fish around midday, and then picked up Heather again from the dock. As I had already caught 2 fish (being such a gent !) I told Heather that she could take the next two fish.
Sure enough, she did !
Within 20 minutes she had casually cast out, played and netted both her fish, both of 24lb! We had been fishing hard like loons all morning, and she saunters down to the boat, and has 2 good fish in tough conditions. Fair play girl !
This is easy lads – an immaculate 24 for the boss
And again please ! Another 24 for the book-worm !
ONE LUMP OR TWO
The following day, the boys headed out to fish the first spot again. Out went the baits, and on went the kettle.
I had lost more fish than I had landed so far, and they weren’t exactly crawling up the rods. I was getting very tired of it, and decided it was time to give them some !
On went 20m of a test snag link, and out it went again on the same spot, and the tip was soon bouncing round as another fish picked up the bait. I kept the rod high and wound down as hard as I dare, and the fish was soon rolling on the surface some 40m downstream of the boat. A lovely fish of 24lbs was in the net in no time, and I felt in control of the fish for the first time!
Soon, the balanced Buzz was away again on the other rod. This fish felt heavier, and I gave it some stick to get it up in the water. It broke the surface about 30m downstream of the boat, but after a few minutes of plodding around a clonking fish rolled into the net at last. It was a long fish, but heavy in the body, and in great condition again, and went 33.5 lbs. At last, perhaps now, the lumps were beginning to feed?
Sure enough, we had steady action all morning, with
A high 20 goes back to its winter lair in the snags
We headed back to collect Heather from the dock on the Segre; and in no time we put her back on the fish. She had a 20 and a high double, then I had another big 20. Then back to her book of course, her fishing done for the day again !
SNAGS AND ZEBRAS
Fish losses were high due to the very snaggy bottom, the Sounder was showing deep troughs and snags in two areas that we were trying to play the fish back over, and these fish knew it. I think we had around 17 takes that day and only managed to land 12 fish; most transferring the hook to a snag, plus the odd loss to the dreaded zebras. We sorted this fishing with a snag link of 30lb Fireline braid, and frequent re-casting to limit the amount of time the line was on the bottom.
A big part of the problem revealed, and boy, are they sharp ….
The last full day of the trip proved our baiting plans were finally working, as fish were crashing regularly all morning over our bait, and we had four fish from four takes within an hour.
We only had about 4 hours to fish on the last day, and once again, it was just the boys out in the morning, moored up off our favourite mark again. I picked up another couple of fish, one around 17, and another of 23lb; before we headed back to take the boat out of the water for the last time on that trip.
A last gasp 20 to round off a tough, but enjoyable week
It had been a very hard week, full of problems to overcome, but with
Guide: Gary Allen of Regency Angling
Sponsor: JRC/Pure Fishing
Catch up again soon, with part 2, on
Til then, good fishing !
STOP PRESS !!