When I got
the invite to make a film and fish for Barbel, a fish I knew nothing about, in
the middle of Spain, I was quick to reply. My home country is Norway, which is
cold and horrible at this time, and I like Spanish people and tapas.
The fishing takes place in big reservoirs where the normally river dwelling fish has been locked in for 50 years, making it change its behavior from bottom feeding to surface - dry fly-gobbling game fish.
A yellow roach?
In Norway any fish with scales bigger than that of a grayling is regarded as some sort of roach - and a big fat yellow roach is what I expected to fish for. Boy was I wrong. We started walking along the bank with Lois, our guide. The bank was lush and green and I felt like fishing on a golf course.
Luis had the intense stalking look of a flats guide, but I still could not get my head around it. “Barbel!” Luis points into the light ripple and a red-like shape cruces half a feet under the surface. I made a cast three feet head of it. “again .. closer!” the second cast lands two inches in front of it and I see a head lift itself out of the water and in goes the fly. Tight line rushing of my reel. I was baffled as my backing appeared.
My gear shifted, and soon I had the same style as my guide - half crouched with slow long steps, I looked like a retard wading bird. It was intense. I my mind it was the perfect combination of getting enough chances, and at the same time being difficult enough to keep you on your toes. The area had several lakes, and also some rivers, and the fish behaved quite differently within the lakes. Some Barbel behaved aggressive, and would go for the fly from a few meters followed by long runs. Others went deep dogging down. But with most of them the ant had to be served right on the nose.
I was told the fishing was referred to as Europe’s bonefish – I agree
Watch the film from Spain here: https://www.flydreamers.com/en/video/play-5217
Presentation is not important, but accuracy is. Well that is not entirely true, you have to present the fly, a big foam ant, but with a proper splash -or "pock" as the guide called it. Casting lengths from 25 – 60 feet is needed, as the fish is easily spooked.
I highly recommend this very affordable fishing witch you find in Europe’s front yard. The best part of the season (unless you like fishing in 42 degrees), is September through October. Yes I have worked for the outfitter on the video, but fact of the matter is that the fishing is awesome.
In 70% of the chances you get to cast on a fish, you mess it up by scaring the fish or cluttering up your cast. Luckily, another 20 meters ahead you will get a second, third and fourth chance.
You can fish for it in several lakes, rivers and the fishing in general is very comfortable.
You have to know how to cast a fly, and if you do not, you will after a few days fishing for barbell. You will need a guide and fishing license.
Anders Dahl Eriksen
Filmmaker at www.corecom.tv