Deltebre, Tarragona (ES)
The Ebro Delta is one of the most famous deltas in Europe. Here, the Ebro - Spain's largerst river - meets the Mediterranean Sea. After hundreds of years, large amounts of water brought sediments and formed this wonderful wetland. It contains the famous rice fields and 320 square kilometres of Natural Park.
The Delta isn't only a mecca for bird watching fanatics, it's also a great place for sport fishing. In fresh water there's carp, blackbass, sander and catfish. The salt water species are bluefish, leerfish, sea bass, amberjack and bluefin tuna just to name a few.
Considering this, it’s no wonder that the Delta del Ebro is considered one of the best places for fishing along the Catalan coast, if not the very best place along all of Spain’s Mediterranean coast. Here are the top 5 fish species from the Delta.
Bluefin tuna: One of the most sought after species in the Delta del Ebro, bluefin tuna can grow up to 3.7m and weigh more than 600kg. Bluefin tuna are very strong and are well known amongst anglers for struggling when caught. They tend to dive deep, emptying the fishing rod’s reel.
When the tuna surfaces, you can use spinning techniques and throw larger lures so that when the tuna is close enough, poppers, stick baits and vinyl can be used to catch it. There’s certainly a lot of action when catching bluefin tuna and it can be spectacular to watch.
Another popular technique used to catch tuna is to drive a fishing boat at 7-10 knots and drag lures behind. However, perhaps the best technique to fish larger tuna is chumming, when you use a boat offshore and put sardines and mackerel overboard to attract the tuna. The best time to try this method is from April to September.
Bluefish: Bluefish are one of the finest species in the Delta del Ebro. One of the best techniques used to fish them is trolling, especially using artificial lures and natural bait such as small barracuda or garfish. Another technique to try is to fish using a boat in well-known areas, trying to provoke the fish to take a bite with stick baits, lures or poppers.
Bluefish can be found in the Delta del Ebro throughout the year but between April and October, they are found in abundance particularly close to the coastline and in shallow waters between 7-15m.
Leerfish: On the bucket-list of anglers and fishing enthusiasts is fishing for leerfish in the Delta del Ebro, as these brave fighters can reach up to 30kg! To catch them, you can use surface lures and poppers, but these large fish prefer a natural bait. Using espet/barracuda, needles and curricando, they can be caught in waters 4-15m deep. Leerfish first appear from early June.
Sea bass: During winter, you can fish for sea bass throughout the day with vinyl line in the river. If you catch a female sea bass, it’s advisable to drop it back as the females are breeding at this time of the year. The sea bass is most active during the morning and at dusk.
Catfish: As a freshwater fish, fishing for catfish in the Delta del Ebro will be concentrated upstream. Catfish go for bait and pellets (a manufactured bait that’s compressed with fish food) and they tend to be out during dusk and nighttime.
You can fish either from the shore or from a boat using well-chosen and strategically placed mounts. Catfish can be caught throughout the year, although the best time is from April to November when the water is usually above 12°C.
Common dentex is a saltwater fish of the Spiradea family, Latin name Dentex is related to dent?s which means "teeth". Adult Dentex can reach a length of one metre (3 ft), and weight up to 14 kg (30 lb) most catches average is 35 to 40 cm.
The Little tunny or False Albacore (Euthynnus alletteratus) is easily identified by the dark spots under its pectoral fins. They like warm temperate and tropical waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The larger Little Tunny weigh up to 35lb and can reach 1,2m.
Anglers target this pelagic fish trolling lures or casting jigs, poppers and other top water lures to the frenzies.
Atlantic Bonito are a rapid fish species known for being great hunters. They have striping on their backs with silver-coloured undersides and they grow up to 30 inches long. They have a hydrodynamic body shape, even more so than larger tuna, with a fork in their tail and small “finlets” going down their back from behind their dorsal fin.
Amberjack is an Atlantic and Pacific fish in the genus Seriola of the family Carangidae. They are a game fish, most often found in the warmer parts of the ocean. Amberjacks are predators, they feed on pelagic and benthic fish.
The Bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) is the only extant species of the family Pomatomidae. It is a marine pelagic fish found around the world in temperate and subtropical waters, except for the northern Pacific Ocean. Bluefish are known as Tailor in Australia and New Zealand, Elf and Shad in South Africa.
Carp are a freshwater fish that are originally native to Europe and China but have been introduced to many other environments, such as the United States. Carp are known to be able to thrive in virtually any environment, which means that when they’re introduced to a new area, it’s likely that they’ll stay.
Gilt-head Sea Bream (Sparus aurata)
Mahi Mahi are also commonly referred to as dorado, dolphin or dolphinfish. They are recognizable by their bluntly shaped heads, long dorsal fin and their bright colouring, dark blue and green on their dorsal side and yellow on their sides and underside.
The Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus) is a pelagic fish that can grow up to 500kg (1000lb). The biggest Bluefin Tuna every caught was 780kg (1496lb). These great fighters can be caught trolling, jigging, casting or drifting mainly in off-shore.
Spring: During springtime, the Delta del Ebro begins to come alive with freshwater and saltwater species (and also, an increase of plankton-feeding small species that are eaten by larger predators). During April and May, you can start trolling and jigging to catch bluefin tuna and little tunny. It’s also a good time to catch leerfish and bluefish using dead bait (small barracuda or a garfish) in depths of 7-15m.
Summer: This is the best time of year for fishing in the Delta del Ebro. During July, August and September, the waters are full of activity with large amounts of sea gulls hovering over the frenzies. Again, the fishing will be in both freshwater and saltwater, and it’s a good time to fish bluefin tuna just offshore. Closer to the coast, you can try trolling with natural bait (squid or mackerel) to catch types of fish like barracuda, bluefish, dentex or leerfish.
Autumn: Fishing in Delta del Ebro during autumn is an excellent time of year, particularly for trolling along the coast with small lures and feathers to catch mackerel, melva, little tunny and dolphinfish usually in waters 40-50m deep. It’s also a good time to fish barracuda with a garfish to catch leerfish or bluefish in depths ranging from 7-15m.
Winter: During wintertime the marine fisheries are calmer. However, in good weather conditions, Ebro Delta fishing can still be a very productive place to fish. The most common species to be found here are black spot sea bream, forkbeard, conger eel, Atlantic wreckfish and grouper.
During winter it’s better to fish in the River Ebro because, although the temperature is lower and there is a chance of storms, the river remains calm and sheltered. January to March is also an excellent time to fish for sander and catfish as the water is clearer.
Ebro Delta National Park: The Ebro Delta, one of the most important wetlands in the Mediterranean, is one of the best spots for birdwatching in Spain. Over 300 different species of birds are either resident or migratory to the Ebro Delta. Observe wonderful species like the Great Reed Warblers, Red crested Pochard, Black-necked Grebe and of course the Greater Flamingo.
Other activities in the Ebro Delta: Kayak, Windsurfing, Kite Surfing, Hiking...
Visit Poble Nou, l'Ampolla, the beach of Riumar.
You need a fishing license for Ebro Delta fishing, (fresh water and salt water) which can be obtained on the website from the Generalitat de Catalunya:
remember that the fishing charters or your fishing guide normally have the fishing license included in the price, so you don't need to buy one if you're chartering a boat.