Catching big carp from rivers has always appealed to me. You never really know what’s in rivers due to the nomadic nature of the fish. I was invited to the Ebro and I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. A crazy, prolific trip that I won’t forget in a hurry! Ebro carp fishing at it’s finest.
I think it must have been around 2010 when I visited the river Ebro in Spain. An old friend of mine had started providing guided holidays along a famous stretch of the river. Nick Shattock had put down roots in Riba Roja, a quiet little town that was right on the river. Nick runs Ebro Carp Fishing. He basically sorted everything from the airport pick up to the tackle and bait. We just had to get ourselves there! It was early spring yet it had already started to warm up in this region of Spain in comparison to the UK.
Once we had arrived we were keen to get straight down to the river as soon as possible. We boarded a small boat which took us to a range of fishing spots to check out. We looked at a number of areas including the dam which is an awesome sight. We ended up fishing a wide section of the river. A guide was provided for the trip and a base camp was set up. We got straight to work with baiting up our spots. We baited them up fairly heavy using a mix of pellet and boilie and it wasn’t long before we had all the rods in position.
The landscape here is quite breathtaking along the Ebro. Rocky mountain’s ascend from either side of the river. It’s dry, almost baron and the river pushes through the rock at a strong but steady pace.
Above: A wild, rocky environment along the banks of the Ebro.
Above: Note the rocky slopes in the background as I hold just one of the many commons we landed on our trip.
Rigs were kept simple. They were basically beefed up versions of what you would use back home. Hook lengths were made of strong braid of around 8 inches, size 4 hooks, lead clip type arrangement with a fairly long hair to accommodate a couple of boilies or large pellets.
Above: Big pellets mounted on a hair. Simple, strong rigs were order of the day.
All rods were ledgered on the bottom using heavy leads to ensure they were not dragged away with the current. On the surface the flow didn’t appear to be strong however the undercurrent was very much evident.
There was little activity until the night drew in. The fish here move in very large shoals or at least that’s what we experienced on this trip. When one rod ripped off it wasn’t unusual for several other rods to go at the same time! Our first night saw us by plenty of big fish including several Commons over 30lb. We had several double takes which resulted in us having multiple fish in the landing net at once!
Above: A brace of gnarly old 30’s from the Ebro.
Above: None of these fish were retained – they all took baits simultaneously. It was crazy! All good commons around the 30lb mark.
Above: A wild environment that I absolutely loved!
When you hooked a fish they were extremely powerful. These river fish are large and made up of pure muscle. Once they are in the current they are pretty hard to stop and that’s where the heavy tackle comes into play. These fish are tough. They are kinda like gnarly, hard, wild fish. They are not like their soft, ‘spoon fed’ counterparts that bob around in lakes all over Europe.
Above: Just one of many common carp landed during our short trip – we were only there 3 nights.
Above: Not an ounce of fat – these fish are built to fight hard. Bad sunburn – ouch!
We also landed a big catfish that took a string of pellets. It fought like an absolute steam train and when these big cats get in the current you’ve really got one hell of a fight on your hands!
Above: Like a big croc – we land a 120lb + catfish.
Holding feeding fish in front of you for any prolonged period seemed quite difficult. They move in a very large shoals and wipe out your bait and move on quite quickly. When this happened several fish would be caught either at once or in a very short space of time before the rods fell quiet again.
I went with long term fishing buddy Martin, who I have fished with for years. We were given a guide who helped us choose our spots and advised us on tackle and techniques to catch some of these big old carp.
Above: Martin with a nice common.
I would highly recommend a trip with Ebro Carp Fishing. To find out more information then please visit http://www.ebrocarpfishing.com. You can also follow Nick on his Facebook page and keep up to date with the awesome carp and catfish that are landed during his trips.
I can’t believe that I’ve not been back to the Ebro for a number of years now. It’s a fantastic place to visit especially when the climate in the UK gets a bit chilly. If you really fancy mixing it up you can also catch some decent sized zander on lures too, something I think I’ll try during my next visit – which I hope is very soon.