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 My week on the Ebro
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Adam S
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10 March 2002

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Posted - 15 July 2002 :  9:53:00 PM  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Adam S to your friends list

Hello maggotdrowners.

I just got back from a weeks fishing on the river ebro below
amposta in northern spain,i thought i would keep this report
seperate form the "where you fished today" thread as i intend
to use quite a few photos that might slow things down.

Here goes:

I had long been aware of the Ebro`s potential as a coarse fishery but it wasnt intil the spring of 2001 that I began to consider it more seriously as a possible holiday destination. I was due to finish college in June 2001, and I had planned to reward myself with a trip abroad to sample a different kind of fishing in July. Initially I had planned to go to Canada and carp fish, but cost eventually ruled that out. So one day in June whilst searching on the internet for possible holiday sites I came across the one of the many web sites dedicated to the Ebro, carpdreamfishing.com. I made contact with the owner of the company Gary Sheridan, an Englishman living in Spain, and while listening to stories of huge carp and unstoppable catfish I made my mind up, the Ebro was the place for me.

There are two major factors which combine to make the Ebro an ideal habitat for catfish to thrive in. The first of these is Spains hot climate which allows an almost year long growing season for the fish, with an average yearly growth rate of about 15lbs they grow well and quickly and the Ebro has produced many huge fish over 100lbs.
The second factor is the abundance of smaller fish in the river which give the cats an almost infinite food source. This is particularly true in the final reaches of the Ebro where grey mullet swim upstream from the sea in their thousands and are easily picked off by the predatory cats.

The fish life really is unbeliveably rich and the Ebro is regarded as one of mainland Europes most productive coarse fishing destinations.Aside from the cats the head of beautiful wild common carp in the river has to be seen to be believed, with 200lbs catches achievable from any number of locations. Individual specimens of over 40lbs are possible with a large number of 20lbs fish and literally thousands in the 5-10lbs bracket. There are also barbel, zander, roach, dace, american largemouth bass, eels, crucian carp and mullet . During my first trip to the Ebro in 2001 I managed to catch all these species, except zander. I recorded catfish to 70lbs, carp to 21lbs and barbel to 8lbs, over the week I easily averaged over 100lbs a day, with the fishing this good its probably no surprise that I just had to back in 2002, again in the first week of July.

On the 6th of July of this year myself along with two friends, Andrew Pringle and Eoin Beatty (both completely novice carp and cat anglers), arrived at Reus airport in northern Spain. We were greeted by Gary at the arrival gates and after hellos and introductions we were off on the one hour drive to the river below Amposta. We had chosen to fish three swims within 30 metres of Gary`s front door in order to be close to the house and to the kitchen and bathroom facilities which can be provided as part of the fishing package. We had decided to sleep outdoors in bivvies so we could avail of the legal night fishing that Gary has obtained (he is the only guide in these parts with legal night fishing) but the home comforts of the house were a welcome luxury in a region were daytime temperatures can easily exceed 35 degrees. This choice of swim meant we also had the use of a boat for catfishing at night and for baiting swims during the day.



(above)Eoins swim

Our fishing area had four wooden jetties in total, two large ones to the right and left (where we set up our rod pods and bivvies) and one smaller one in between, with the boat tied up on another small jetty on the far right. The pegs were enclosed on either side by large 8 feet tall cane beds with large flat sandy areas to peg out the bivvies behind the jetties and long fish holding weed beds growing in the shallow water at their front, all in all the pegs were just right both comfortable and full of fish. Gary supplied all the fishing gear 6 carp rods, 3 catfish rods, 2 huge landing nets, rod pods, reels , carp sacks, unhooking mats, alarms, bobbins and enough maize,groundbait and hemp to last all week.



(above) mine and andys swim.

After spending most of the first day exploring our pegs, shopping, setting up gear, baiting up and lying in the sun we started carp fishing properly during the second day which was a sunday. The rigs used for carp fishing here are basic method feeder rigs with either 20lbs mono mainline or a stronger braid line depending on swim,fish size etc. Heavy feeders are a must and hooklenghts of 18lbs or over tied to a size 6,4 or 2 wide gape specimen hook are also needed to land the long, lean and poweful common carp.The most common bait is three or four grains of hair rigged maize fished over a bed of groundbait, maize and hemp but boilies,pellets and paste also catch a lot of fish, with boilies often producing a better stamp. With the vast shoals of mullet present heavy feeding is vital to encourage the carp and this is why maize is so popular, as it is cheap, easy to prepare in large amounts and most importantly the carp love it.On the first day, with only two people fishing at any one time, we had 18 carp with the best going just over 14lbs and also that night we had our first catfish.

(below) eoin with a 7lbs common.





(above)andy and i with a double.

The rigs most often used for catfish are also very simple. They consist of 100lbs mono mainline with either 95lbs plastic coated wire or 100lbs mono as hooklenght. A large polyball float with a swivel at one end and a starlight for night fishing at the other is used to keep the bait in the top few feet of water where the catfish like to hunt. Top baits are either live eels or carp, with a single size 6/0 hook used in conjunction with the eels and two size 1/0 trebles for the carp. Strong swivels,beads and bullet leads complete the basic cat rig. When fishing from a boat the rig can simply be trotted down the river with a stop knot set at 5 feet to keep the bait shallow, this can be done either with the boat drifting or tied off to a tree. When bank fishing the rig can be used as a "bottle rig", this is done by clipping the rig to an anchored bottle (a bottle tied with cord to a largre rock on the river bottom) via a lenght of weak line (6lbs mono). This holds the bait in one position close to the surface and when a cat hits the bait the weak link snaps and you are left in direct contact with the fish.

It was from the boat that I had my first catfish of the week, while fishing near an inflow a cat hit my carp livebait like a train and fought like fury for 15 minutes until Gary was able to grab it in the mouth with a gloved hand and pull it into the boat and then onto land for a few photos. It was a big fish at just over 50lbs, but this was only the tip of the iceberg. On the second day the carp fishing continued to go well with Andy really getting among the fish, he had about 8 good commons with the best a new best of just over 12.5lbs. Eoin also had a PB carp of 16lbs and then on the monday night caught his first catfish. Actually he had his first two catfish within the space of an hour and a half, first he had a great fish of 70lbs on an eel livebait while fishing near a huge submerged boulder and 90 minutes later he had a 65lbs cat also on an eel bait from the same spot where I had my 50 pounder the previous night.He was exhausted, elated and in awe of the sheer strenght of these beasts and as he landed the second fish a
a thunder storm far away in the mountains lit up the night sky. These were by any accounts all huge fish but even bigger was to come.

(Below) my 50 pounder



Tuesday was a real scorcher of a day with the midday temperature soaring well over 30 centigrade, so we spent most of the day lying about and drinking chilled coke, only when the sun slipped behind the tress at about 8pm did we begin to fish. After the heat of the day nobody felt like heading out in the boat and so bottle rigs were set up for the catfish and rowed out along the lenght of our pegs, and we also put out two carp rods to pass the time while waiting for the livebaits to be snapped up.We had caught a few carp to 10lbs when the bottle rig to the right of mine and Andys swim was taken.

(below)A double figure carp taken at night




It was 1.30am when the float and starlight vanished and Andy yelled "catfish", however it turned out to be just a kitten that had taken the small carp livebait and Andy weighed the cat in at just under 11lbs, regardless of size he was happy to have landed his first "siluro" as they are known locally.

(below) andys 11lbs cat



At 2.30am Andy had a real screamer of a run on his carp rod and he struck into what was obviously a good carp
, as the fish swirled a few metres to our right I could see that it was clearly a 20 pounder but then disaster, the hook had pulled. As we laid the rig down at our feet and inspected the hook and line Andy threw a dejected look over my sboulder and saw that the float on our second bottle rig had gone. Just as he said "catfish" the ratchet on the multiplier exploded into life and I turned and struck into what felt like a battleship. The cat buckled the rod (a 6 pound test curve rod) and hooped it over as he swung in a semi-circle from left to right, its power was unbeliveable and in my mind I estimated him at over 80lbs, at times during the fight it needed both Andy and I to hold the rod and pump to prevent the fish ripping it from my grasp. The fight probably lasted around 16 minutes but to be honest I cant remember much of it, I do however remember what happened at its end.



(above)as the big cat loomed up in the water i wondered how the hell
i could get it onto the bank.

Both the cat and I were becoming very tired, but thankfully I less so. I pumped the cat close to the bank and she surfaced for the first time, Andy was waiting with the massive net but it was clear that there was no way she would fit into it, this fish was well over 100lbs. We had to scream for Eoin and after a minute he came running with the gloves, by which time the cat had slithered out of the net that Andy had him half in and half out of. There was nothing else for it Andy took the line, Eoin took the rod and I put the gloves on and jumped up to my waist into the warm waters of the Ebro, Eoin steered the fish towars me closer, closer and then finally I got my hands in her mouth and she was mine.

(below)Finally we got her on the bank



That was task number one completed, task number two was getting the fish out of the water and over to the weigh sling, with Gary summoned and all four of us lifting and heaving we finally managed it. Task three was actually weighing the fish, we did this by wrapping the fish in a huge sling , which we then attached the scales to, a bar then went through the ring on the scales and we all lifted, the fish just about came off the deck and weighed in at 152lbs, more than double my previous best and the biggest fish ever landed by a client of carpdreamfishing.com.Its lenght was 7 feet 6 inches. After a lot of photos and some video footage the huge cat was held in the shallows to let her recover and then she inched forward to the edge of the shelf and with a swirl of her mighty tail she plunged into the deep water and was gone. I was shattered but over the moon and that night I slept like a log and dreamed of dreams that had just become reality.

(below) 152lbs of hungry predator about to be released



That turned out to be the last catfish landed during the week as the feeding spell tailed off , on the following night we again took to the both but a bad run of luck that saw two catfish takes missed and also saw Andy snapped by a big fish that pulled and spun the boat around before making it to a sunken tree and escaping. We still carp fishined a little and on the thursday I landed the best carp of the week at exactly 20lbs on maize,



(above)the plumpest carp of the week at 14lbs
(below) the biggest carp of the week at bang on 20lbs



however aside from this action slowed and we spent most of the last couple of days relaxing and shopping for those at home, we also got to visit an eel farm and aquarium where we saw a 160lbs cat, and the 65 pounder that eoin captured which had been transferred to the aquarium the morning after it was caught. it looked a bit small in the huge tank with the 160, but otherwise was alive and well. i also tasted smoked eel for the first time, it was delicious.



(above)andy at the tank with 160 and 65lbs catfish.
(below)packing up the gear on our last day



As we were ready to depart at sunrise on the morning of saturday the 13th we said goodbye to the Ebro and thanked Gary and his wife Loring for their hospitality and the huge effort they put in to help us catch fish. As we pulled out of the driveway I took one last look at the river and quietly whispered "thank you".

The end

Just a few more pics that I just got developed to add onto the original report.

This pic shows the full depth of the cat.





(above and below) hand landing the cat.



(below) i hope this pic comes out, it shows a huge shoal of mullet
where a gusher stream enters the main river, there were thousands
of mullet feeding on the nasty stuff that flowed in,the shoal was about 50 metres long ,it was an amazing site.



and finally this is the tank of small eels and the eel farm, destined to be smoked most of them.



Good luck
ADAM








http://groups.msn.com/ADAMSALBUM79

Edited by - Adam S on 04 August 2002 02:06:17 AM

Edited by - Adam S on 04 August 2002 02:11:28 AM

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Dave
Red Leader

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Posted - 15 July 2002 :  10:07:40 PM  Show Profile  Visit Dave's Homepage Bookmark this reply Add Dave to your friends list

WOW - 152 of Cat !!!

Sounds like a great time was had and I doubt you'll forget it in a hurry,

I'll link this from our 'Been fishing' page and if catman wants to add a few contact details please feel free.

Regards, Dave



Dave


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Adam S
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Member Since
10 March 2002

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Posted - 15 July 2002 :  10:11:23 PM  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Adam S to your friends list

Thanks dave, i dont think i will ever forget it

and thanks also for deleting the duplicate topic, im getting
real good at doing that, trigger happy on the old mouse i think.
adam


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goin_fishin
'Tiddler'

West Yorkshire
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Posts: 325

Posted - 15 July 2002 :  10:20:21 PM  Show Profile  Visit goin_fishin's Homepage Bookmark this reply Add goin_fishin to your friends list

Lol you Been Busie Well done Adam!!!!!

Regards Gf


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Peter
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Posted - 15 July 2002 :  10:29:30 PM  Show Profile  Visit Peter's Homepage Bookmark this reply Add Peter to your friends list

Adam,
GOBSMACKED
How do you follow that????????????
Truly a fish of a lifetime,
Heartiest Congratulations

Peter.
Make Friends,Go Maggotdrowning.





Winner MD's Alders Farm Match 2012
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Geoff P
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Posted - 15 July 2002 :  10:37:27 PM  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Geoff P to your friends list

What can I add to that.

Well done Adam, a truly magnificent catch.

Geoff
RSSG member - are you?
Clean Banks Campaign member



Geoff


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Stu Dav
Davi

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Posted - 15 July 2002 :  10:45:31 PM  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stu Dav to your friends list

Adam
It been said I know.

But well done, Am proud ov yer.

It looked a bit scary, there must av been some scary bits.

Nice one ar kid.

Stu Dav


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MALC
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Posted - 15 July 2002 :  11:16:19 PM  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add MALC to your friends list

Adam,

Great Report.
Great Pictures.
Bloody Great BIG CAT.

Well done to all of you on what without dought was the trip of a lifetime.



Malc
Fish with Friends @ MaggotDrowning.com


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Ziptrev
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Posted - 16 July 2002 :  01:06:16 AM  Show Profile  Visit Ziptrev's Homepage Bookmark this reply Add Ziptrev to your friends list

Adam,
That is one incredible fish and thank you for the superb report and pictures!

Geoff, is this where you are going?
Book me in!

In all honesty, I don't think I would have the strength to land that thing, but I loved reading about it!

Glad to see the Zippy curse didn't rub off on you Adam and that post has given a new dimension to this forum!

Thankfully, as norm says, 'It isn't the size of the Tiddler that counts' or I'd have no chance, seeing as how today I caught 5 minnows on the stick LOL, but there was extra, and I'll post tomorrow.

Today was Adams,
Yesterday was Darryls!

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Good Luck all,

Trev

ZiptrevShouldn't happen to a DOG!


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Trogg
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Posted - 16 July 2002 :  01:25:00 AM  Show Profile  Visit Trogg's Homepage Bookmark this reply Add Trogg to your friends list

Adam

Thanks for that mate.

I've read of the Ebro in the angling press & seen many pictures of the cats & carp, but its never seemed real untill its someone you "know".

Actually seeing your pics & reading your report on here makes it seem all the more real so why apologise for it being so long?

Am i jealous ?? hell yes who wouldn't be?

Thanks again Adam.


Alan



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ray
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Posted - 16 July 2002 :  06:29:11 AM  Show Profile  Visit ray's Homepage Bookmark this reply Add ray to your friends list

excellent stuff adam, would a pole be any good for the ebro?

dont give the antis any ammo, take your rubbish home.
original "clean banks campaign" slogan.


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Adam S
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Posted - 16 July 2002 :  3:38:15 PM  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Adam S to your friends list

Hello

thanks for the kind words everyone, now off to the canal
to get back to reality.
good luck
ADAM

http://groups.msn.com/ADAMSALBUM79


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danzante
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Posted - 16 July 2002 :  8:38:37 PM  Show Profile  Visit danzante's Homepage Bookmark this reply Add danzante to your friends list

I caught a catfish once, it was ........nahhhh!, you don't wanna know about that.

Adam,
unbelievable lad!, brilliant report.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
He makes me wanna puke.

Danny


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teepee
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Posted - 16 July 2002 :  10:06:33 PM  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add teepee to your friends list

Adam its all been said, well done absolutely brilliant m8, and great report.

All the Best,

teepee.



teepee.
happy potting


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beatty
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Posted - 17 July 2002 :  04:31:59 AM  Show Profile  Visit beatty's Homepage Bookmark this reply Add beatty to your friends list

yeah, sure was a good trip. lots of sun,and of course, lots of fish.
i'd highly recommend it for anyone to wants to feel real power when they're fighting a fish.
unfortunately i didn't get a photo of either of my cats as one was being taken for an aquarium, as adam said, and the other managed to bite through a very thick rope overnight somehow. mind you, the disappointment didn't detract from the satisfaction of catching the fish in the first place. seeing such a monster being hauled into the boat is something that is hard to imagine until actually experienced.
im just looking forward to my next fishing holiday to dingle now. there's nothing like some totally diverse fishing. from the canals of kildare, fishing for roach to the ebro in spain fishing for catfish and carp, to the bays and beaches of dingle, co. kerry, fishing for all manner of sea fish. conger to flounder, sea trout to ray, cant wait. variety is the spice of life, and i think that applies to fishing more than anything else. it really adds another dimension.

happy angling,
eoin

beatty


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catman
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Posted - 17 July 2002 :  09:22:16 AM  Show Profile  Visit catman's Homepage  Click to see catman's MSN Messenger address Bookmark this reply Add catman to your friends list

well it does look big adam i have just been down to where we fished and have seen this morniong about four cats feeding on the surface. the two lads that are here have just had three cats this morning.nothing big about 60lbs upto 85lbs they did lose one over the tree.in front of the house. i realy enjoyed the time you was here adam i look forward to seeing you lads again. the report was as good as it gets adam,if anybody wants to come over with adam then contact him and he will arrange for a trip anytime for carp and cats.
hope all goes well with the p.h.d. hope the stress is not to much for you. cheers lads.
gary (catman) www.carpdreamfishing.com


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Ziptrev
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Posted - 17 July 2002 :  2:00:25 PM  Show Profile  Visit Ziptrev's Homepage Bookmark this reply Add Ziptrev to your friends list

Welcome back Beatty,

Would love to join you in Kerry, but with my luck?

On 16th June had my headlight smashed in Tarbet! and if I fished Dingle Bay, I bet I'd hook Funghi!

Cheers

Trev

ZiptrevShouldn't happen to a DOG!


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