On expedition with the spinning rod

Wels Catfish

May 2015 . Spain . Ebro

Martin Sack

It was a really good feeling to travel to a cat fishing tour with such less tackle. In the 4×4 was only the lure fishing equipment, on the roof a canoe and the journey on the highways to Spain could start. Dominic was joining me on this tour, on which we wanted to fish for wels catfish for twelve days with lures only. Our tour program was ambitious and should lead us to all interesting sections of the Ebro. Next to the classic sections Cinca and Segre around Mequinenza we fished also at the Matarana and two days at the Flix dam section with a motorboat. But our main target were the wild areas of the Ebro, where so far nearly no other angler was fishing.

Our spacious canoe with sonar was allowing fishing by standing, so we could drift and cast comfortable and stop and fix the boat on all interesting spots at the shore or step out on a gavel bank. Thereby our focus was on the shallows with current, rapids, waterfalls and dams, at which we were casting with spoons and rubber shads. But we also never disregarded river passages with much sunken wood and deeper holes, where we fished in casting or vertical style and high precision on all water depth with heavy jigs and high pressure causing big cycada lures.

On nearly all days we had contacts with cats, and we always were surprised how brutal the Zander of 60-75cm were attacking the 15cm and 18cm shads – with nearly no fail attacks. Everything was working perfect – but the cats more than two meters didn´t want to play our game at the moment. Because our Ebro stretch is facing in the earlier spring time regularly heavy floods, we planned the tour just before the spawning period – because only at lower water levels we had a safe boat access to the river. Whereas the smaller cats were attacking our lures with high aggression, the bigger ones seemed to be busy with their spawning. We saw on our tour six cats of more than 2m in the shallow water direct in front of us in the shallow water or at the surface next to the canoe. All tries to cast a lure in front of them was leading to no attacks. Either the fishes were escaping ore were swimming away bored – we were desperate! Domenic was hooking one big fish, which was losing the hook during the fight.

We experienced every day some adventures and fished at around hundred kilometers river stretches, from which also for me half of them were completely new. Domenic could catch three cats on sight, another one wanted to attack and bite him in the shallow water and I nearly managed to catch one with my hands. Around us big amount of carps were spawning, sometimes the e were around fifty big fishes in a shallow rapid.

It was a great feeling to explore the last nearly untouched wilderness of the Ebro. Nevertheless it should be the first tour to the Ebro from which we were going back home without a 2m-cat. When fishing with lures for cats you never have a big fish guarantee, and the success is depending from many factors. If only two or three of the big cats would have taken the lure I could report from a big success – what a thin red line. But we had much fun and many new ideas for the future!


Angler: Dominic, Martin

Fishing days: 12

Wels Catfish: 33

Zander: 22