The EBRO River… It would be hard to find a better place in Europe where in a short amount of time you can face off against record catfish, carp or zander. There is also a chance of running across the legendary black bass or a really big perch!
At the beginning of September I had the pleasure of participating in a fishing escapade along with my colleagues from the company, the purpose of which was to properly test the new MIKADO tackle. The combination of new gear and our “modest” experience resulted in fish whose sizes went beyond our wildest expectations.
But let’s start from the beginning.
The two of us set out on Tuesday from the company headquarters - “us” that is “Chudy and Walec” - on a journey of almost 3 thousand kilometers, taking turns driving our company car, Mercedes Sprinter, packed to the ceiling with new tackle. The rest of our crew is taking a plane.
We reached our base on Thursday at 1a.m. The owner, Robert, fixed a wooden house for us, called to inform that he left the keys in the door and arranged to have coffee in the morning. A quick sleep, our favorite form of rest for the next couple of days. At seven a.m. the promised coffee and a strategy session. Shopping and… instead of zander we go big from the start, for the next six days we will be living on the Ebro river and catfishing.
On Robert’s advice we land in an unfamiliar spot, but you can see the fish, catfish at once, movement and tails, anything you could ask for and such a sight greatly increases the speed with which we set up the camp.
The rod rests are the first to be put to the test. Different models but among them:
CAT TERRITORY ROD POD new in 2017.
Special build - an arch preventing the rod from falling out when fishing with a buoy rig and other methods that require you to strain the braided line, a wire that fits the lower section of the rod working with the belt and, crucially, it endures being hammered into the ground very well. Those of you who catfish on hard banks know how important that is.
Next, the rods, and we have a slight problem. We can only fish with four at once and we have quite a few of them. Over the course of the whole trip we will test all of them but we start with
CAT TERRITORY STATION UNLIMITED, the strength of the rod coupled with a thick braided line allow for a dynamic haul and the angler’s endurance may be a larger problem than the tackle’s. The first morning catfish takes me on a trip of the bank, dragging me from the embankment into the water. Adrenaline, excitement and, unfortunately, rocks - we didn’t make it to the boat in time.
BANK2BOAT is our next choice. A very strong reel seat, good guides and a deep bend which helps to lift the fish out of a floating boat, a comfortable foam grip and a great price for a rod of this grade.
Cat Fish is a veteran but I cannot imagine a trip without this rod. Deep work completely absorbs tail shots, escapes and other catfish tricks. The force of the blank makes hauling big fish amazingly comfortable and for such a powerful rod it has a very sensitive tip which shows even subtle bites.
The choice of these particular rods wasn’t random. Sunken trees, rock ledges and huge stones leave no room for compromise. The tackle needs to be STRONG.
Time for the reels.
AceHunter seems like the only good option, large spool capacity, a reinforced mechanism, a convenient handle - what more do you need?
But these were supposed to be extreme tests so in the absence of our company carp specialist Adrian we borrow his gem, the new Lentus A.D. not hiding the fact that we intended to murder it catching “real fish”. We use the one and only braided line OCTA BRAID from the dedicated CAT line for all our rigs. Did our idea work? We will get to that in a moment…
We set up our camp following the local rules: a bed, sleeping bag, canvas just in case … and after a four hour fight with the temperature close to forty degrees we are ready to start fishing!
The rods are set up, the bait is in the water and we start to experiment. As always, the fish find a way of surprising us! They seem fed up with traditional pellet put on the river bottom, there are some bites but we want more!
That is why Mariusz grills our “french liaison” (a Polish friend who lives in France, a catfishing specialist, who was able to give us some very useful tips over the phone - a bit of international cooperation) and we start to experiment in earnest.
In the meantime “Rydzu” joins us with more new tackle: ready rigs with underwater floaters, very durable fluorocarbon, weird hooks, soft lures, sleeves, all at our disposal.
We move our camp closer to the base - hard work again - but what is hard work when you have your sights on fish that big?!
With a larger crew on the fishery and extra rods we can experiment with the rigs even more and that turns out to be the key to success. We put earthworms, seafood, pellet and all possible rig combinations in the water.
We put some of the rigs on the bottom, but the vast majority float in the depths of the water held up by different floats. The floating lures are a big hit, most bites happen mid-water. The BEADER hook coupled with the new fluorocarbon is another good idea. One such rig withstood the hauling of three fish over two meters without us having to switch out even a centimeter and thanks to its shape the hook always found its way inside the catfish’s mouth.
The next days brought new ideas, we took out our vertical fishing rods! In his chosen trough “Walec” starts to “scare” the catfish with a clonk while feeding them lots of earthworms weighed down with a Clonker sinker. We get more fish out onto the bank, including a two meter catfish hooked by hand and hauled very quickly. Another rod scores a mustachioed giant: CAT TERRITORY VERTICAL defeated the fish in ten minutes. “Walec”, the rod’s operator who was also the best out of all of us at landing fish, had reason to be satisfied.
Our film and expert crew joins us for the last two days. The “Hunter” hooks a fish at once, just after he arrived. Other fish also apparently read the script. The bites don’t stop! Three people on the bank and two on a boat is standard, rods for vertical and ground fishing, underwater floats. There is no time for anything, we are fishing to the full!!!
To sum up.
Almost 30 wels catfish graced our rigs, a couple of fish going way beyond two meters, the rest between 170 and 190 cm, we didn’t take the kiddies.
As for Adrian, he got his LENTUS A.D. back - for some unknown reason it is still alive after hauling three of the four biggest fish… maybe it will be a new catfishing favorite? While using it I had one catfish escape for two hundred meters and it was only the end of the braided line that forced me to go on a boat.
I will add that we paired the LENTUS A.D. with the strongest rod on the fishery, CAT TERRITORY STATION UNLIMITED and nobody was very concerned about the reel during hauling. The braided line was, as always, up to the task.
The ready catfish rigs fared brilliantly. And the new fluorocarbon will surely accompany me from now on when I attempt to catch big fish, especially since you can create any number of leaders using sleeves.
We pack up our camp and drive off.. No, not home! Adi is waiting with the carps - we will torment the new ULTRAVIOLET METHOD FEEDER, but that is a story for another time…
See you by the water!
Mikado TEAM and, reporting this story, “Chudy” and “Walec”