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Cat Fishin Lower River Ebro 2005 - by Steve Ralph



Cat Fishin Lower River Ebro 2005 - by Steve Ralph

My wife came home from her brothers and said that her Dad and her brother were thinking of going to Spain fishing why didn't I go along with them I thought about it for a nano second and said that I would see how much it was going to cost. I contacted my brother in law (Charlie) but they hadn't made any arrangements as yet so we decided to get together and look on the internet to see what we could find. The days passed and I was searching every day looking at possible places for us to go to and by the time Charlie came down to have a look I had narrowed it down to about three different places that did guiding on the Ebro. We opted for Cat Hunter www.cathunter.co.uk this guy looked like he knew his stuff, was open about how he fished and also the lower Ebro record had been taken from his boat the previous year. It was decided that due to Charlie's work commitments we would go on 31st July and stay for one week fishing Mon to Fri so this was booked with Tyrone from cat hunters and we then booked flights and a hire car from the airport, sorted sit back and wait now After what seemed like an eternity the day arrived for us to go Charlie, Tom (Father in law) Gray Dicko and myself left Hull at 3am on the Sunday morning for the drive to Doncaster airport where we got a plane to Valencia picked up the hire car and drove 203km to Deltebre where we met Jackie (Tyrone's wife) from cat hunters. She showed us our apartment which would be our home for the next week. It was a very nice place with a super view from balcony of the pool and the sea, she also left us with a hand drawn map and told us to meet Tyrone at 9.15am the next morning at the place on this map.

The map made no sense to us at all so we decided to have a drive there that afternoon to make sure we could find it, 9kms away and 15 minutes later we were at the boat launch which was where we would meet every morning. The view was stunning the river was huge "where do you start" more cat fish talk over a beer and then out to supper.

We had been told that the fishing would be difficult in Aug due to high temps and had said amongst ourselves that if just one of us had a fish it would be a bonus the target size was set at 50lbs.
Monday 1st August Up bright and early to see if we could find somewhere to have a bit of breakfast before our rendezvous at 9.15. We went to a little bar right near the boat launch that we had spotted the night before and it was open so in we went. The owner didn't speak any English at all Gray and I got by between us ordering 4 bacon sandwiches 3 coffees with milk and a fanta orange Charlie wanted brown sauce but we decided not to push our luck and left it. Tyrone turned up with another guide called Graham and two boats.

Charlie and Tom went off with Graham in his boat down river, Gray and I went off with Tyrone up river that was it we were on this mighty river we caught a few Mullet that were around the 3 or 4lb mark, this was to be bait it was at this moment that I realised these fish must be big. Penn up tide rods Okuma reels 80lb braid 10oz ball weight and massive hooks, baits cast out,

Tyrone had said that it is best to take turns at the strikes so Gray decided that I would go first I thought that was nice of him then realised he just wanted to see how much I struggled if I did get one on, At about 11.30am there was an almighty splash about 8 feet from the boat it sounded like someone had fallen in then we saw it a tail about 4 feet long slapped down on the water, the cats were here chasing the shoals of Mullet.

This carried on for about 2 hours but we didn't get any takes we passed the day getting to know Tyrone and generally having a laugh 5pm came quickly and it was time to head back to the launch when we arrived Charlie had a big grin on his face he had had a kitten of about 4lb he was made up I asked what they were using as bait as our bait was that big and he replied eels hand shakes all round for catching the first one although very small.

Tuesday 2nd August. We had been to the supermarket the night before and stocked up on supplies Tom made a great breakfast at 7am pots washed off we went to the launch getting there at about 9am Graham was already there with his boat in the water ready to go it was Gray and I that where to be with him today so we left the others and headed off down river. Graham's boat was called Hooked On Pussy and after the days fishing using small eel baits and only having knocks from kittens we decided to rename it Keen On Kittens which he wasn't that impressed about.

Charlie and Tom had gone out with Tyrone using the big Mullet baits and Tom had managed a cat of 108lb.

You can imagine how pleased we all were for him. The beer flowed and we had a good night out with Tom reliving the fight about 20 times over. Gray and I still hadn't seen one properly.
Wednesday 3rd August. Breakfast again and off we went as yesterday. Graham was waiting when we got there So Charlie and Tom went off with him and Gray and I waited for Tyrone to get his lazy arse out of bed and arrive at the river (He was never late but then again never early) This was the sort of banter that was passing between the 3 of us. We went to catch the Mullet but the shoals hadn't moved in yet "we can use eels if you want" Tyrone suggested but Gray and I were prepared to wait for the Mullet. We sat and chatted and a bit of banter was been thrown around and then we saw a few Mullet moving. So bait caught the first rod was set, before Tyrone could bait the second rod the bait runner on the first was screaming for all it worth a bit of commotion erupted in the boat and the bait was dropped by the fish we were told that we had to get on them quicker than that and the rods were put out again less than 10 minutes later the float slipped away and by the time the bait runner had started to move I was on the rod, "wind down to it and strike for all you are worth" was all I could remember from Tyrone's little chat so I did and all hell broke loose, the fish was hooked screaming down river and straight into the nearest weed bed I thought it was going to pull me in as I tried to slow it down on that first run. After about 10 minutes we had it out of the weeds and up along side the boat Tyrone pulled it on board and there in the boat was this thing that we had travelled to see 84lb of pure muscle it looked huge. Beaming smiles on mine and Grays faces said that we where happy.

We put it back and headed straight back to where it was caught. Baits out again it was Grays turn, 5 minutes and he was in (Now I have to tell you that Gray has only been Barbel fishing for 2 seasons and before that he was a sea angler) Gray has been told loads of times by us that he is too heavy handed when playing fish He struck into the fish and again the water erupted and a massive fight was under way by the time we got it onboard we were about 100 yards down the river in the sling and on the scales the needle shot round past the 100 mark and settled on 134lb.

He had just beaten mine by 50lb we were jumping round the boat. Over the moon didn't even get close. Back to the hot spot baits back out and Tyrone got the sandwiches out I told him I would get a sandwich bite and at that moment the float shot away and I was in again. I thought the first one I had was strong but this was in a different league. The fish was hugging the bottom and refused to come up ripping line from the reel as it went where it wanted to go. 15 minutes passed and I got it on top of the water huge gasp of breath as I saw how long this fish was. I had seen pictures of the boat record and I thought this is as big as that one. When we got it in the boat and onto the weigh sling it was over hanging the end of the 2 meter sling it was 7 feet long I said to Tyrone it would be close to his boat record the needle moved round Gray and I were holding the scales as still as we could but its hard to hold that amount of weight still the needle was bouncing between 171 and 172lb, I opted for 171 but Tyrone has put it on his site at 172lb either way it beat the previous Lower River Ebro of 168lb. Photos taken fish recovered and hand shakes that turned to big hugs stood in the boat in the middle of the river.

We went back again and put the baits back out then sat down with a beer to celebrate and then Gray was in again. This one missed all the weed so didn't slow down at all it just kept going we ended up chasing it on the motor not just floating down on current. After what seemed like an eternity of me shouting instructions to Gray about what he should be doing with the rod we finally got it on board. Another super fish of 106lb.

By now it was 2.30pm we spent the rest of the afternoon chatting and having a laugh with each other until going back to the launch at 5pm to find out that Charlie had a 139lb earlier in the day. We had now all had fish over the 100lb mark what an achievement. Beer flowed once more on the evening as you can imagine.

Thursday 4th August. Not a lot to report really Gray and I were out with Keen on Kittens and once more all we had were little knocks from kittens Charlie and Tom didnt do any good on Tyrone's boa, however it was over 40 degrees and the water temp nearing 30 degrees we called it day at 4pm and went to pub.

Friday 5th August. Both boats moored up where Gray and I had our fish from on Wed and we had a bit of a laugh spending the last day all together. About 11am I had a screamer which I hit and had on for about 2 minutes before it snapped me off over some snags. All then went quiet until after lunch when Charlie got into a fish that was 48lb.

Gray ended the session with a fish of 72lb which was the shortest fight in history he just didn't give it anything. He hit it locked the reel off with his hand and just hauled it to boat it went ballistic when we got it on board.

All in all it was a brilliant holiday in great company that was topped off with a lot more fish than we expected.

Will I be going back? You can bet your life on it. Steve Ralph 8th August 2005

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