The final day
So, it was finally upon us, the last day of our adventure fishing the mighty River Ebro. Some of the non-anglers among us decided to give fishing a miss on the last day, and instead did a spot of sight-seeing. Having already caught some huge fish, and been subjected to the blistering heat for two days straight, a break from it for the less ‘hard core’ to spend time soaking in some of the local culture was a fair shout.
With the party of anglers now slightly smaller, our guides suggested we go out as one group instead of splitting into two, more manageable groups as the previous two days. This worked really well, as the spot we went to fish had been baited the day before by our group, and all being together we could have a bit of banter and all our rods in one area. We certainly couldn’t have fished as one group if everyone in our party was fishing, there would just be too many anglers on the bank in the same spot, and way too many lines out, as it was we had a fair number in the water!
As the day wore on, getting hotter and hotter action was steady but fairly slow. A couple of German guys pitched up for the week across the river had landed one cat if memory serves me in the early hours, so not a lot of action. They’d fished it solid for a week, sleeping right on the bank under the stars, kept warm at night by a few crates of vodka!
Nearly everyone in our party had by this point caught fish of over 100lb, which was basically our loose ‘target’ for the trip. Only Dave was yet to bank one over the magical 100lb barrier, fingers crossed he’d bag one today!
It certainly felt like the hottest day of the trip, I’m sure the beers at night, small amount of sleep and the previous two days fishing were taking their toll too, so we took refuge from the heat wherever possible. By far the best way to cool down was to jump in the river and have a swim about with the big cats!
Here we take a dip to cool off while Ben poses for the camer with one of his cats. At least I think thats what he’s doing! (this camera had a soaking by the way hence the blur)
Boating the baits out as normal, Gaz also crashed the boat around and across his own bow wave, cats are well-known for being attracted by noise and vibration, and though it looked totally wrong by normal fishing standards, it proved to be a valuable trick as we soon started to catch fish! If your curious about cats and sound/vibration, google ‘clonking’….
Soon followed by Dave! Would it be the fish he was after, a 100lb plus fish? It was certainly a decent size, and inside I was praying for him that it would just nudge the scales over the mark. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite, and correct me if I am wrong please Dave, but I think it went 98lb!
It actually turned out to be one of the bigger fish for the day. As the day wore on, we continued to catch quite a few fish, but often smaller cats in the 40-70lb bracket. Great sport, but the biggies were noticeably absent from our catches.
When it was my turn to have a scrap with a cat, being so hot the lads decided to ‘help me out’ and douse me in water mid fight, yeah cheers lads!
Then Dom hit into a fish, that was a little different! Clearly a bigger fish, and hell bent on staying a long way out in the flow. It surfaced close on half way across the river, and we all saw it was a fish of a colossal size, before it disappeared again into the depths!
The battle raged on for some time, and it’s always difficult to estimate how long, but it must have been getting on for three quaters of an hour before it was close in, and tired enough to glove, or so we thought. A last gasp lunge from the fish and my heart sank, the hook had been removed by this point and I could see it rapidly vanishing into the murky water churned up from the battle. However, quick as a flash Scotty dove straight after the enormous fish and wrested it back into our safe hands! Incredible gut reaction from the man to save the day!
On the bank, weighing it at 186lb, it certainly was an impressive creature to behold:
This incredible encounter with such an impressive creature took my breath away! Gaz guided us to the fish, Dom played it to perfection all the way to the bank, we all helped move rods out-of-the-way, and Scotty saved the day at the last gasp, a real team effort!
Dom made it into the top 15 fish caught with Catfish Capers during 2009 with this capture!Not only this, but on the second day, he also caught the biggest carp of our trip, a lump of a Common at 37lb!
If you want to go to the Ebro fishing, and are looking for a guide, search out Gaz, Paul or Scotty, you wont go wrong I promise you! I’d seriously recommend anyone going out for the first time to book a guide. If you are lucky enough to locate, and then hook a cat of 186lb, its imperative you know how to handle them correctly, for yours and the fishes safety. Along with this, they will put you on the fish every time!
The journey home was as sombre as they always are after such an amazing adventure, and it wasnt helped by a total lack of baggage handlers at Stansted, leading to a really long delay at check out once back in the UK. I think nine planes landed around the same time, and there was only one baggage crew on.
Airport issues and boat groundings aside, the whole trip went brilliantly and without a hitch, and to this day lasting and fond memories of the trip stay prominently in my mind, for all the right reasons!