Beer and Barbel with Spanish Gold Fishing

Well after many dry fishing months my stag do had finally arrived. For this trip we were heading to Spain to fish an area in the mountains South of Madrid.

The main reason we were making the trip was to try and encounter some of the large barbel that inhabit these waters. When we booked, Tono had advised us that the best time was the Winter for bigger fish but we were tied to an April trip so we would give it our best shot and see what happens.

I picked up the lads and by 4am we were In Dublin airport with a pint in hand. Due to cabin bag restrictions we had brought only the minimum amount of year (sleeping bag, socks and jocks) and decided to wear our wellies through to save space!

A short flight of about two and a half hours saw us arrive in Madrid where we were picked up by Tono and on our way to the lake. On the drive he told us that this was the worst Spring In recent memory and temps were way down on what that should be.

Our first glimpse of the lake was pretty impressive and when we arrived Raul had already set up base camp and it didn’t take long to get settled into the new surroundings.

When Tono said the temps were down he wasn’t lying, with a few passing squalls pissing down rain this was like piking weather back home!

After many beers it was time to relax and get some sleep and hopefully see what the night would bring. We could hear carp crashing every now and again but although we were all on edge during the night hoping an alarm would start singing, nothing happened.

Then at 5.30 just as I was falling into a deep sleep my right hand rod was off! I scrambled out of the bivvy and struck into it and was happy to feel the reassuring weight of a fish at the other end and I could soon see my first ever barbel In the headlight.

A few quick pictures and was quickly on its way again. I was absolutely chuffed and glad to get a fish on the first night. Now it was time for some sleep before breakfast.

When we woke up the weather was actually lovely and even the sun managed to poke through for a couple of hours. A beer to start off breakfast seemed like the right way to start the day and enjoy the short lived sun.

We baited up again and everyone pulled out a chair to sit outside and the craic was 90. I went for a walk and as I did a big shadow passed over me. I looked up and there was an enormous Griffin vulture circling overhead. I took a few pics and made my way back to the lads.

We spent the rest of the morning talking all things fishing with Tono and Raul and picking their brains on any tips and advice they might pass on and talking about the other trips they run and as with all fishermen talk of pb’s was duly obligatory.

The two lads set off down the lake for a bit of lure fishing for black bass and Aidan, Joe, Derek and myself were just shooting the breeze when we looked up and saw a bonellis eagle getting mobbed by two ravens literally just over our heads.

All this comfort was to be short lived however as we could see the next front approaching. Tono and Raul came back from their hour of spinning having caught a few fish with one beauty being about 3kg! We retreated to cover as the hail stones started.

Back in the Avid base camp tent this was where we spent most of the rest of the trip only getting out for a piss, or to secure the guy ropes from time to time.

That night after dinner we baited up the swim before bed and settled in for a cold and wet night which unfortunately didn’t bring anymore fish.

It was now Monday morning and we hoped that today the weather would pick up a bit and if not fuck it we were having a laugh with good company. After breakfast Raul looked at the forecast and said it was going to deteriorate more with torrential rain and gales coming again….. looks like we had brought the Irish weather with us!

One of the things about this trip was the top quality food the lads had prepared. We were living like kings and steadily getting through the drink aswell life was good.

The thought of packing up the next morning wasn’t something any of us were looking forward to not least cause you were probably gonna get blown clean across the lake Mary Poppins style when we went to take down the tents, but we warmed ourselves up with hopes of the fish coming on as the pressure dropped before the front arrived.

It was all or nothing now and this trip had seen it’s ups and downs with a few Yoko Ono moments thrown in for good measure. Just before the hail started again Aidans right hand rod made a few beeps before absolutely tearing off.

We all bailed out of the Bivvy and slid down the bank which was now like sliding around Woodstock with all the mud.

Aidan struck into the fish and by the way it was fighting this didn’t seem like a barbel but a good carp. After about five mins playing the fish the hook pulled and we we’re all as gutted as Aidan. BUT….. it was a sign of life and got the heart pumping for a while.

We went back to the comfort of the bivvy and the jokes and stories flowed. We planned to make an early start as we knew packing up was going to take extra time in the conditions so we headed off to bed.

Not long after Joe’s alarm screamed to life and yet again we tripped, stumbled and slid down the bank where he was into a fish. A lovely barbel came into the net and Joe had his first barbel.

Back to the bivvies and tried to settle down again with the wind and rain lashing. About an hour past when Aidan’s rod was off again. Getting down to the rods was comical and Aidan was into a fish. Another lovely barbel.

Another couple of hours passed before it was my turn again and a new pb was looking at me from the net, I was elated.

After packing up the next morning in torrential rain and gales we made our way like drowned rats back to the restaurant in the village then on to the airport where we said goodbye to Tono.

We can’t recommend the guys highly enough. They can provide everything from bait to food, airport transfers anything you can think of. Their knowledge of fishing in Spain is unrivalled and to top it off they are two of the kindest funniest guys you could meet. Have a look at their website We will definitely be going again.

About paddykeogh20

We are three anglers who enjoy all aspects of fishing. Whether we are blanking or catching were happiest on the bank or shore. If you like your fishing join us by watching our many trips and as we interview some top anglers along the way.....
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