Well, what can I say? Again in true for I am so late in posting this, as this happened back in June! However never too late, as it’s been hectic summer – so think back to June after our tour and that’ll put you in the mood!
Let’s start at the beginning. … we got home on Wednesday and then of course we had to have yet another pre- fishing planning meeting at Susie’s Chinese restaurant in Pego to sort out the last minute details. Having travelled so much in the van it’s actually really hard for me to think about self catering, as there’s just so much to take for such a short time, 3 nights in the apartment, then on the 4th night we were in a hotel in Teruel, so we had to take what we needed but not too much that we’d have to bring it all back with us. So the catering department had to work out quantities including lunches, sandwiches etc for the trip up, and most importantly the booze allowance!
We picked Jim and Deb up on Saturday morning, having dropped off Mutley to stay with his girlfriends Hoba and Lexi, who were being looked after by Nanny Sandra and Aunty Diane while we were away. Nanny Sandra and Aunty Diane came over especially to look after the dogs and have a bit of sun, which is great for everyone concerned.
So, with a car full of people, food and wine we left, only to get to the motorway and be told there was a problem heading north, so we were advised to take the N332 to avoid it, which resulted in queues anyway! But eventually we got past it and made our way to Chiprana which is inland and on the massive river Ebro.
Our apartment was a 3 bed one, which we had pushed the boat out and booked all of it, to avoid having someone else sharing with us – I think we were more concerned that they would drink our booze stash and eat Debs cheese triangles which seem to be the feature of our fishing trips! But to be honest for only 20€per room per night we all thought it was worth the extra.
It was a basic apartment, and only about a 2 minute walk from the river,so perfectly situated.We called Paul Booth, the fishing guide we had booked, from Ebro Crazy Cats, and he came round to give us the low down on timings for the following day.
Normally he fishes from 8am until 6pm, but Bruce has never been an early riser, so they decided to start at 9am on Sunday and 8.30am on the Monday. We quizzed him on virtually everything we could think of, which proved very useful when writing his birthday card, as Bruce wrote one of his famous ditties for him. The evening then dissolved into a haze of vino, and burgers with nibbles before we gave in and went to bed.
On Sunday morning we met Paul, and were taken in his boat to a small beach around the curve of the river. The location was great, and he’d already set everything up for the boys, 4 rods for catfish, and 2 for carp.
He provides all the equipment and baits the river, and worked really hard to give the boys the fishing trip of their dreams. So we all settled down and once the boys had sorted out what to do we waited.
The first fish bit about 2.5 hours later….. and sadly escaped, much to Bruces dismay, but there was absolutely no need to worry, as once they started there was no stopping them. They caught 10 fish the first day, and I think both lost one. Bruce was very pleased with his biggest carp that day of 25lbs, but his catfish personal best tipped the scales at 91lb!
The look on his face was awesome,and something I loved seeing. All the time he been perfectly happy catching anything, but this trip he really wanted to catch something huge, so every time they caught anything we just took as many photos and videos as I could to capture the moment for him.
I have to say I’d never realised just how slippery and slimey a catfish was! I didn’t actually hold one until day 2, I think Paul was keen to involve us, which was fab,but also I think so we got covered in nasty slime!! it was really funny!
Jim also got some fabulous fishies, with a Carp of 35lb and a catfish of 61lb.I didn’t think that sitting around watching fishing rods could be so interesting, but the mixture of the company, loads of sandwiches, loads of fish, and a beautiful setting with glorious sunshine meant that the day just flew by.
We stank out the apartment that evening with garlic – garlic bread, and camembert spiked with rosemary and raw garlic. Add in some vino, and videos from the days fishies and 2 very very happy husbands with massive grins and what more could you want?
The next day was a different location and Paul had said it would be harder, so we weren’t expecting as many fish, but the first bite came about an hour or so after starting, and they caught 13 fish, with I think 5 more that decided they wouldn’t play and escaped from the hook.Day two saw Bruce beat his personal best on the carp with a 35lb one, and then he landed a 103lb catfish! It was HUGE!
For everyone watching, the effort that it took to land the big fish was incredible. He was extremely pumped with the fight it had put up and then having to pick it up to weigh it, and also to pose for the photos where the heaviest part of the fish is the head, and combat the slime!
I tried to capture this in the photos and videos, but I think the grins on their faces says it all!I have to take my hat off to Paul Booth, as he worked very hard to give the boys the very best experience, and was happy to pass on any hints and tips from his vast experience. I would highly recommend him as a guide, and I think Bruces brother Neil is already planning on a trip with him!We ate out that evening in Caspe, in the hotel there, as the only other place we saw in Trip Advisor was closed. But we had a nice menu and walked around. I think the fishing was the highlight, I would say that Chiprana and Caspe didn’t have much too offer at all, so anyone who wants to go, take everything you need with you, especially if self catering as there’s very few shops to stock up.
From there we went to Teruel and stayed in a small boutique hotel and wandered around the city exploring the buildings marked on our tourist map by the receptionist. Eating out in the evening proved somewhat difficult as we’d picked a restaurant with a nice menu only to find out they don’t offer it in the evening. This was after we’d pointed out what drinks from that menu to the waitress. … slight issue…. and she got the drinks order wrong, so by that point we were fuming, so paid for the round and left. After finding yet another place that had forgotten to take their day menu in, we then found a lovely pizzeria and had a fabulous pizza to end off the trip.
On the way home we stopped off at Albaraccin, which is about 30 minutes away but well worth the trip. Luckily we left early as it was great to walk around in the morning sunshine without the scorching heat of the day.
We have been here before but wanted to show Jim and Deb, as it’s like being in a fairy tale Pied Piper medieval town. We grabbed some breakfast before dipping a toe in the small river.