High Noon

Wels Catfish

September/October 2013 .  Spain  .  Rio Ebro

Martin Sack

This year everything was different in spain. Heavily increasing water levels of the Rio Ebro in spring were quite normal, caused by rain and melting snow in the Pyrenees. But the hot summer temperatures led normally to decreasing water at the latest from May. This year there was rarely no trend to normality. Several times rain falls let swell the Ebro and the tributaries. We observed the water levels during the summer time by internet with a little bit of sorrow. Just before our departure the things seemed to get better, allowing us access by off-road vehicle to some promising Ebro banks.

For Minca and me the program was a three week’s tour to make good the uncomfortable disaster of our spring trip. The first week „the evil scotsman“ Hugh as well as Theo and Lisa wanted to spend the time with us to fish for carp only. So we had a big meeting in Mequinenza city with the last possibility to eat in the civilization the common kebab menu.

For end of September it was with more than 30°C unusually hot, at night the temperatures dropped seldom under 20°C. At the fishing spot the situation looked confident. We built up our camps at the shore and enjoyed the beautiful summer weather.

Already the first hours with sharp rods showed us, that we were back to the fish. But the phases with high activity were very periodical and unpredictable. Often we had one to three days many bites and we hoped, that a specific factor now will lead to a more constant feeding. But everything we supposed was at the end not the reason for the behavior of the fishes. No further decreasing gauges, no constant water levels, no increasing water and not the three thunder storms and the following accumulation of the water with oxygen. Even not the phase of the moon and not noticeable the falling water temperatures of the last week with cold nights. There seemed to be only one constant: The cats more than 2,30m and some other big ones took the bait this time at high noon! The time of the showdown was like in the Wild West!

We focused on improving onward our fishing tactic to get absolutely every bite. The most important change was to fish with multiplayers and a nonstop main line of 0,71mm (200lb), which was also at more current no difficulty. So we had absolutely no problems with lines cut at rocks ore muzzles, no weed in the knots of main line and thicker snag line and many range.

Also if some days were very slow we could outwit regularly very big fishes. Often the feeding phases of cats and carps alternated. We took all our chances and lost only one very big cat by going off the hook of the mouth. Among the high noon maybe the female hormone played a role. So Minca could catch three cats more than 2,30m. The biggest of 2,40m gave up only after an exciting fight from the small dinghy. In our last 30 minutes fishing followed a fish of 2,38m. Because of the very big head and massive neck we first thought that this fish was much longer. But, for sure, both were counting to the biggest cats ever caught at the Embalse de Mequinenza! But not enough – another big one was our so far longest common carp with 1,09m!

But also a day without any bite on our baits will stay forever in my memory. At dusk one of our marking buoys disappeared and I thought first it will be some flotsam. But as I drove with the boat to the spot I found the causer: A cat of ca.1m had inhaled half of the styrofoam ball with a diameter of 12cm and was not able to spit it out. Crazy, I thought this you can only see at some faked fun pictures! After a while I managed to grab the marker and as I lifted it completely out of the water the small glutton disgorged its prey. What a pity that I had no camera in the boat!

Also if we normally prefer to fish a spot in a group of two persons, the combination of cat- and carp fishing was a good symbiosis with many wilderness camp life and amicable gathering. Besides carp guide Nick came around with his guests and occasionally with his family. So they cooked two times kinglike for us. Many thanks again to the entire wild group for the good time together!

The carp teams were successful as well and caught ca. 60 carps in the first week. Nicks groups put another multitude of commons on the mat, among them many species between 18-22kg.

But not only fans of catch&release and a respectful, inconspicuous behavior in the nature found their way to the Ebro. We found again rubbish, slaughter and dead cats hanging in the trees. At two days, where we were not fishing in the big group, they tried to displace us from our spot. The situation was escalating more and more, calm places were melting like ice in the Ebro sun and the Spanish public authorities did nothing. Next year they are planning to introduce an additional license. We are waiting skeptical what then will happen. And are forced to have a look also on other waters in the next time, hard but necessary. What a shame! And for all other reasonable anglers there we have a big appeal: Never put pictures with landscape in the internet, your tracks will be traced very easy in short time!


Angler: Minca, Martin

Cats more than 1m: 68

Cats more than 2m: 19

Carps: 5 (14-18,5kg)



2.17 – 1.76 – 1.16 -1.03


2.27 – 1.93 – 1.50 – 1.23


1.97 – 1.80 – 1.79



1.67 – 1.56 – 1.39


1.95 – 1.84


2.01 – 1.86 – 1.84 – 1.80 – 1.79 – 1.70 – 1.27


1.86 – 1.68 


2.31 – 1.67 – 1.57 – 1.36 – 1.28

10.Day:8 2.00 - 1.95 – 1.88 – 1.82 – 1.45


1.73 – 1.72 – 1.39 – 1.20



2.07 – 1.67 – 1.66 – 1.59 – 1.45 – 1.32


2.34 – 1.60



2.40  – 2.15 – 1.99 – 1.90


2.252.20 – 1.86 – 1.85 – 1.84 – 1.82 – 1.66


1.60 – 1.35






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