Spanish Barbel – Catalin Constantinescu


catalin4It looks like winter took Europe and the surroundings in her grasp and is not willing to give it up so easily. As you can imagine fishing in these conditions can be an adventure. I’ve come to believe that nothing is impossible and with a bit a luck I was fortunate enough to spend some time outside these harsh conditions and to really put the pin on the map in the beautiful city of Bilbao, Spain.

As for the majority of anglers when you say Spain then it’s about the Valhalla of monster Wels, record breaking wild common Carp or Zander but for me is all about the Barbel. I really grew a passion for this hard fighting torpedo shaped river fish and I never miss the chance to catch one if the occasion arises – so here I am searching a suitable spot on the Nervion River.

The problem is this a tidal river and salt water from the North Atlantic Ocean is pushing for a good 8 or so miles upstream but after two days of scouting I’ve found what I believe to be a good peg. Deep water, slow and steady flow, plenty of big rocks carpeting the bottom – all that remained to do was getting out my feeder rod and have a go.

catalin_1Although the weather was pretty warm, around 15C but the water was cold as ice since I was close to the mountain stream that meant winter fishing tactics were necessary. I went and combined Mantra and Special G Green thus resulting a pretty sticky groundbait with the benefit of that wonderful GPS90 fast dissolving fishmeal that works its magic even in cold water.

First cast and we have a winner, a bolder that is – my cage feeder went under a rock and that was the last time I saw it. No. 2 and 3 went the same way and not long before my rod bent like a twig by a fish so this could not continue! The solution for this problem I found was changing my rig, using a running 20gr led stopped by a swivel with a 40cm hooklength.

ctalain2I had to make some minor adjustments to the mix by adding a little more water to make it even stickier and to be molded around the lead. The thinking behind this was that the “bomb” will be jammed between the rocks but when I strike the groundbait will break and the lead will be free. In addition, the presence of so many obstacles on the bottom made me loose feed halibut pellets knowing they will go to inaccessible places driving the Barbel nuts seeking to feed.

There is no greater joy as that felt when all the things come together. After modifying my rig I was able to catch my first Barbel – with a bonus! This was not your common Barble (Barbus Barbus) but a variety found only in Spain and Portugal, the Bocagei Barbel (Luciobarbus Bocagei) the ‘little’ sister of the granddaddy Comizo Barbel (Luciobarbus Comizo) that can grow up to 40+ pounds!

This one is next on my list and I’m hoping Bait-Tech will be there to assist me !

catalin5


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