With it’s 75 000 km of rivers and it’s 2 000 km coastline and it thousands of lakes and reservoirs, Spain can be considered a fisherman’s playground. There is a little bit of everything for everyone here. In Spain’s fresh waters you will find barbel, black bass, bogue, bream, carp, mullet, perch, pike, sturgeon, tench and trout. In the saltwater surrounding Spain there are grouper, sea bream, mackerel, cod, tuna, mullet, bonito, swordfish and various species of shark.
One of the reasons people come here to fish is the gigantic Wels catfish (Silurus Glanis) you can catch in the waters of Spain. Especially in the river Ebro. The wels catfish aka sheatfish is a large catfish native to central, southern and eastern Europe. These big fish can live up to 50 years and if you are lucky to catch a big one you will never forget the feeling.
The wels catfish lives on annelid worms, gastropods, insects, crustaceans, and fish; the larger ones also eat frogs, mice, rats, aquatic birds such as ducks and are occasionally cannibalistic.
Exceptionally large specimens are rumored to attack humans in rare instances, a claim investigated by extreme angler Jeremy Wade in an episode of the Animal Planet television series River Monsters following his capture of three fish, two of about 66 kg (145 lb) and one of about 73 kg (160 lb), of which two attempted to attack him following their release. A report in the Austrian newspaper Der Standard on 5 August 2009, mentions a wels catfish dragging a fisherman near Győr, Hungary, under water by his right leg after the man attempted to grab the fish in a hold. The man barely escaped with his life from the fish, which must have weighed over 100 kg (220 lb), according to the fisherman.
There are two points to make here, when providing information about carp fishing in Spain. Spain’s southerly latitude maintains even better conditions for fish to carry on feeding right through winter. Smaller fish have less body mass and loose heat quicker, they are less active in the colder months. Therefore the odds of landing a large carp or barbel or pike are increased from December through February.
Secondly the Spanish record carp – 72lb is closing the gap on its French record catch counterpart. And the news gets better. In France these monster fish are nurtured on a diet of boilies – artificial foodstuff introduced into 20 acre managed fisheries to increase fish size. Like a pumped up body builder looks can be deceptive.
Bulk comes before fitness and any river carp, half this size in Spain, will put up a better fight. In Spain all carp are left to their own devices and will grow to their natural potential weight over a longer period of time. A specimen over 30lb will put up a fight of a lifetime for any angler. Just imagine what a fighting fit fish of 50lb or more can do when hooked. These fish are all muscle there is no fat belly.
The number of large carp caught in France far exceeds the total number caught in Spain at present. This is because the number of anglers fishing for specimen carp is much greater not because the fish do not exist in the first place. Therefore the potential for large fish not just carp is greater in Spain – and Portugal than elsewhere.
Winter is a good time to go predator fishing. In Spain that means zander and pike, unless visiting the river Ebro for siluro catfish. Both species are caught using similar methods. Spinning and dead baiting are the most popular tactics.
Watch out for the drop back bite when zander attack. When the line goes slack seize the rod and reel in as fast as possible. The zander will make a powerful first run then it’s usually all over.
There are some big fellas out there but nothing compares with the fight of a large pike. They don’t give up as easily. Unofficially some monsters have been netted occasionally from balsas – irrigation ponds in Navarra, northern Spain. These waters are stocked with trout and this explains why the pike grow quickly in some locations.
The trout ponds are netted every few years for these large predators that recently have exceeded 70lbs. Any angler can fish here provided they have the regional angling licence and sometimes a day ticket is available from the local bar or restaurant.
So if you would like to go to Spain and get the best fishing experience of your life, click here and we will give you the best deal for your fishing tour