Mondego barbel

Iberian

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
226
Location
Coimbra, Portugal
We are having a very mild summer here, probably hotter in Criccieth than it is in Coimbra. This has made for some pleasant evenings on the river with good insect hatches, including sedges, and lots of barbel in the 3-6 lb range feeding in water a few inches deep. Last night, I got there at 7.30 pm, river had a good flow of water from electricity generation and feeding fish everywhere. It took about half an hour and a couple of fly changes to figure out what they wanted: a hare´s ear body with brown CDC hackle and red plastic bead head dead drifted towards them. I had anticipated a bit less water, so had tackled up with a 9-foot 3-weight and WF4 line with a 15 foot leader finishing with 5 feet of 4 x flurocarbon tippet 7lb b.s. A small yarn indicator was attached about a yard above the fly. As soon as the hare´s ear fly went on, I got good takes from two fish but missed them both. I then spotted a big tail in a few inches of water and covered it a yard upstream - bang and fish number one on! Off he went like a train towards deeper water then it was a few minutes back and forth and a couple of anxious moments when the line went between some rocks. The 3-weight was giving as good as it was getting and quite soon I was able to slide him up the gravel. By this time, some cloud had come over and there was a big hatch of large midges and some small sedges. I put on a size 14 klinkhammer type fly with a brown peacock quill body and ginger hackle and the hare´s year fly attacked to the bend with about 1 yard of tippet. First cast, a small mullet took the nymph. Second cast ahead of a big tail right into the bank the dry fly was inhaled with a huge splash and fish number two proceeded to sprint upstream until I was well into the backing. This one took me up and down the river a few times before he was beached. By this time it was getting dark, the water was dropping back, and the fish activity was tapering off so I called it a day.
 

Attachments

  • Fish1  nymph.jpg
    Fish1 nymph.jpg
    210.7 KB · Views: 75
  • Fish 2 dry fly.jpg
    Fish 2 dry fly.jpg
    190.5 KB · Views: 75

PaulD

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 11, 2020
Messages
2,901
Location
South Northants
. . . and quite soon I was able to slide him up the gravel. By this time, some cloud had come over and there was a big hatch of large midges and some small sedges. I put on a size 14 klinkhammer type fly with a brown peacock quill body and ginger hackle and the hare´s year fly attacked to the bend with about 1 yard of tippet. First cast, a small mullet took the nymph. Second cast ahead of a big tail right into the bank the dry fly was inhaled with a huge splash and fish number two proceeded to sprint upstream until I was well into the backing. This one took me up and down the river a few times before he was beached.
Ever wondered how, 'slide him up the gravel,' and 'he was beached,' affects the well being and health of the fish as you photograph them in your mild summer?
 

Iberian

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
226
Location
Coimbra, Portugal
They were carefully beached on to wet sand under cloudy conditions, you can see the water by the tail of fish 1. Both fish recovered quickly, the first one stayed for a few minutes in a little run so I was able to watch how he was. When they are feeding in very shallow water, they actually expose a lot of their sides out of the water for quite extended periods, so I believe they can tolerate the ~30 seconds or so it takes to get a picture. Reading again the phrase "sliding him up the gravel" does conjure something more injurous and traumatic to the fish than what actually took place, so I will try to describe more carefully next time! These are magnificent and precious fish and on the few occasions I take photos, I always have their welfare uppermost in my mind.
 

kerryjordan

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 1, 2009
Messages
230
That’s fascinating! How far inland are you fishing?
I went on an ill fated fishing quest in Northern Portugal some years ago based in Gois. Unfortunately information was hard to come by and the only shop I could find selling tackle wouldn’t sell me a licence!
Any pix of the terrain and further information would be much appreciated!
 

Iberian

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
226
Location
Coimbra, Portugal
I live in Coimbra, and I fish the lower Mondego quite close by downstream of the city limits. It´s a shame that you could not get set up in Gois because you have some nice trout fishing very close by during the season (February-July). Licenses can now be got online (check one of my previous posts). Inland, a lot of the fishing is run by municipal angling associations so most of the time a ticket is neccessary and you will see signs on the riverbank. Where I fish is a bit of a no man´s land so ok with just license and I don´t see many others fishing either. But more than enough fish in the river.

Last night, I went for a couple of hours before sunset and the shallows and runs were alive with feeding barbel, but apart from one take (which could well have been a foul hook, given the sheer number of fish I was covering) I couldn´t get a fish to save my life! All the usual flies were spurned, so what on earth they were feeding on remains a mystery. I suspect that they might have been feeding on tiny buzzers or midges and I had nothing in my box that was small enough to match. Next time we´ll see..........
 
Last edited:

Iberian

Well-known member
Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
226
Location
Coimbra, Portugal
When they are in a taking mood, they seem to like flies with red or orange bead heads. I did try a San Juan worm type fly the other night but no joy. I also tried some tiny midge pupa imitations as well but they got no response either. Whatever they are taking it is quite close to the surface but not so abundant that you can see masses of them. I´m thinking of taking a fine meshed net and just letting the water flow through it for a few minutes to see what appears. Nothing like a good mystery......
 

Latest posts

Top