Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Deseaba que yo Pescara en España! Part I

Wished that I fished in Spain Part I  
Córdoba and Seville, Andalucía, Southern Spain

I hope the title displays the correct Spanish to match the English translation above!  Google Translate is pretty cool.  But for all I know, it could say that I stink at fishing!  My translation is also titled above, and I hope that it actually is the correct translation.  Since I don't speak Spanish, please forgive me if I've accidentally typed something that doesn't make sense, or worse, insulting!

A couple months ago, my wife and I flew across the pond to Spain for a few reasons, to meet my daughter after she studied for an entire Semester, have a vacation experience that we’ve never had, and make sure that we bring her home…single, and with last name, unchanged!

Neither fishing nor fossil collecting were on the agenda.  We had plenty of tours lined up.  My feet, two months later, still ache from all that walking, although we did take our share of hairy cab rides too.  Don’t get me wrong, in those Spanish cities, where narrow streets and heavy traffic are the norm, those cabbies aren’t bad drivers at all.  In fact, I'd say that the majority of the ones that hauled us around were very skilled.

Our daughter refused to let us rent and drive a vehicle, and after the visit, I agree with her assessment.  Those cab drivers are skilled, but they’re crazy, and they pretty much have to be.  Each cab ride was almost like an amusement park ride, full of thrills.  It was very impressive to see the traffic flow as it did, with so many close calls and tight situations, so many pedestrians, and the amazing thing was that we didn’t witness even one single traffic accident!  That's either pure luck or a testament to their driving talents.

OK, so what about the fishing?  And what about the fossiling?  You do have an outdoors blog, don’t you Kevin?  Hold your horses folks, I’ll get to that.

Our vacation began in Seville, a city in the Southern part of Spain, in the second largest and most populated autonomous community known as Andalucía.  During that stretch, we also toured the city of Córdoba.  These areas are rich in history, art, architecture and are really a sightseeing paradise.  You just can't see it all in a couple weeks, and we only stayed here for a few days.

Our arrival in Madrid followed the night flight across the mighty Atlantic, a first for me, was followed by an enjoyable connecting flight to Seville during the daylight hours.  Of course, I’m like a kid on a plane, I need a window seat.  I always try to see what’s down there, try to figure out where I am, and as an angler, try and figure out what those bodies of water are, and ask myself, what species of fish do they fish for.

I observed many bodies of water from the air that looked like grassy pike type lakes, with what looked like standing timber.  But as it turns out, most of them were gigantic puddles, and most were really temporary.  The terrain around Seville is fairly flat.  As the plane's altitude decreased, I noticed that there were not any homes, docks, or anything that would indicate recreational activity surrounding those bodies of water.  Just to the North of Seville, there are quite a few reservoirs that can be fished as well as a couple of them to the South and East.  Those bodies of water looked pretty fishy too.

Seville does have a river.  In fact, during the final minutes of our tour of Córdoba, and after touring the amazing historical buildings of this fantastic city, we made the most of our final minutes admiring an old Roman bridge that was built during the 1st century BC.  Of course, as if the historical significance of the bridge wasn't enough to amaze me, so was the river.  Were there any fish in there?  Did people fish there?  What kind of fish live there?

Seville and Córdoba share the same river, with Córdoba being upriver from Seville along Rio Guadalquiver.  Well, of course, upon returning home, I had to do a quick internet search of that river.  According to Wikipedia, it's "the only great navigable river in Spain.  Currently it is navigable to Seville, but in Roman times it was navigable to Córdoba."  Interesting, but what about the fishing?
Seville does have a river, Rio Guadalquiver.  Of course, I had to check out the fish along with the Roman Bridge!
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the river is known, as far as fishing goes, for trout and barbels.  What's a barbel?  I had no idea.  I suspected that they are carp, and as it turns out, they aren't, but very carp like.  The truth is that they are native to Spain, and one species is only found in Spain.
In the short video above, you may see fish moving in and out of the current breaks created by the bridge pilings.  When I was there, I wondered if they were salmon, trout or carp as I overlooked the ancient bridge, mesmerized by the many fish moving in and out of the eddies.  After researching on the net a bit, my guess they were barbels, but they could have been carp.  I took a brief walk and noticed some anglers down river, but didn't have time to take a picture.  I had a tour bus to catch!  The river in Cordoba is freshwater, and reminded me much of the Eastern U.S. rivers that are home to our smallmouth bass.

Prior to our departure from Córdoba and my fascination with the bridge, we toured some amazing historic sites, including Mezquita–catedral de Córdoba (the Great Mosque-Cathedral of  Córdoba), which had many fascinating architectural and historical sites, gardens, artifacts, enough to entertain oneself for a month.  And of course, the Muslim influence in the architecture was evidenced by the many gardens shaded with orange and lemon trees, flowers teeming with wild parakeets.

The abundant fountains complete with ancient irrigation systems connected each of the many garden sections.  That was all fascinating enough, but did any have fish in them?  I managed to locate some pools filled with carp and goldfish.  Well, they don't allow fishing in the mosque gardens, but at least I could see some real teleosts to remind me of my favorite hobby.
My fascination with the history and architecture in Córdoba was enhanced when I found fish!
Upon our return to Seville along with a nice siesta, we freshened up for a night out on the town.  Our plan was to walk along the river for a bit, then head to a restaurant complete with entertainment.  We ate dinner and watched a Flamenco show at the Tablao El Arenal.  The food was fantastic, but the show was spectacular!  Never in my life did I imagine attending such an event.  The dancing was amazing the the music was very entertaining.  And let me tell you, those flamenco dancers were in some kind of shape!  I was in awe.
A walk along the river in Seville at the onset of our night on the town.  Actually, the body of water is the Canal de Alphonso XIII along the Rio Guadalquiver.  It was beautiful, but I had to  once again ponder the fishing potential.  This stretch of the river is navigable to the Mediterranean evidenced by our sightings of a couple cruise ships and several large tour boats.  It has to have some big fish!
This typical Seville street was the location of Tablao El Arenal.  We waited here for the doors of the flamenco show to open.  The place was small, but was packed.  We had a great time and the food was outstanding!

Here's a view of the river in the distance from the tower of the Seville Cathedral, the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world, and also the third largest Cathedral in the world.  You can see the huge drawbridge crossing the river to accommodate the shipping traffic.  With water that big, what big fish can be found here?  In the foreground, you can see part of the Alcázar of Seville, which is a royal palace and a former Moorish fort.
As far as the fishing in Seville goes, the river seems to be tidal, and is known for it's sturgeon fishery although overfishing and pollution may have caused the population of the once abundant caviar source to decline drastically.  Other species caught in the region, either in the rivers or lakes include various coarse fish such as carp, barbels, and tench.  The local Seville waters also harbor perca-sol (sunfish) and róbalo (snook)!  But the thing that, from an angling standpoint, makes me feel at home is possibility of catching pike in some of the local rivers, and even black bass!  

That's right, the famous largemouth bass!  Imagine traveling across an ocean to fish for bass!  The warmer reservoirs are stocked with bucketmouths, while the cooler ones provide action for brown trout, which are native to Spain.  There are also trout fishing streams, although it seems that they are off limits all but for one day a week, where catch and release fishing is permitted (see link below).  I have no reason to not trust the website below that cites those regulations, but take them with a grain of salt and check the regulations yourself (as you might anywhere).

The following website provides specific on where to fish in the Seville area:

The website below has an interesting read on fishing in Andalucía, an article from an angler with many years experience there.  The author's name is Phil Pembroke.  After reading this article, on my next trip to Spain, you can bet I'll get a license and won't forget my fishing tackle, along with a rod and reel! This article also has some licensing advice too.  That is, as long as my family sets me free to explore these fishing opportunities.

I will share more about my vacation to Spain and my missed angling opportunities in my next post, titled, "Wished that I fished in Spain Part II:  Malaga and Barcelona".

For any of the readers that have fished these waters, I'd really like to state that these are merely observations and thoughts combined with a little bit of web research.  I'm far from an expert on this subject, and would welcome comments.  I apologize in advance if I've provided erroneous information or anything, so I will check back on the comments and correct anything that isn't right.  Also, please feel free to share any information about fishing in the Seville or Córdoba area, not only to benefit the reading public, but also to inspire my chance at fishing in Spain during my next visit!

Sources:  Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Brittanica, and the linked sites above.


Nancy said...

Enjoyed reading about your trip to Spain. I was in Seville and Cordoba about 11 years ago and loved the country. I visited Madrid, Segovia, Toledo, Avila as well. Would love to return one day.

Enjoyed reading about your shark teeth searching in MB too. I am a perfect example of someone who doesn't yet have "the eye". My brother and I own a place there and he finds lots of sharks teeth whenever he visits there. I've found about 5 in 20 years. I have the eye for shells. Have to turn it off to focus on teeth. I gather that you are from MD. Do you ever find shark's teeth in OC, MD or in Fenwick Isle, DE? Will enjoy following your blogs

Fat Boy said...

Hi Nancy, thanks for the nice compliment. Avila looked like a cool place to visit, we saw it from the train. It is on my list of places to see next time.

I haven't found any teeth along the Maryland/Delaware beaches. But a buddy of mine found a white tooth, a modern day sand tiger shark tooth that washed up on the beach, possibly after one of the hurricanes. You can find shark teeth along the Maryland Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay where the cliffs are and the neighboring beaches. Also, in Delaware, you can find a few shark teeth from the Cretaceous at the C&D Canal spoil piles. They are tough to find there, but there are some. The more common fossils are gastropods and mollusk shells, and the internal shell of an extinct squid known as a belemnite. Happy hunting and thank you for following my blog!

My apologies to all for not writing more, my life has been upside down lately, but should have some stability soon which translates to more time to blog.

Bass.Junky said...

nice read, looks like you has a blast. I too had a big trip this summer, I was Italy bound.