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Carpets of wild flowers amidst the olive trees. Majestic mountains and valleys of twinkling rivers and azure lakes. Flame bellied Barbel on dry fly and nymph. Carp cruising the shallows. Warm nights dining on the terrace. the moonlight glancing off the water. Glad you came?

Barbel & Bass Fishing in Spain

What better way to rediscover your barbel fishing afresh or for the first time than on a 5 day trip with fantastic company in Andalucia? The trip is timed for when the river is usually at its best to fish.


Spain is a hidden fishing miracle. Where Angling Travel and John Bailey love to take small groups of anglers, is different from the popular monster catfish of the Ebro - we offer a mini fisherman's paradise, tucked away, well inland in the Costa del Sol. Stunning valley. Extraordinary wildlife. Beautiful wildflowers in late spring especially. Enchanting villages. A placid, unspoilt pace of life. And a river that's a cracker. AND it is delightful for your wife/partner/spouse if you wish to bring them. It's a small stream, meandering down an exquisite valley. Deeper pools empty into long, enticing riffles. And fish abound. And they're barbel.


Why barbel fish in Spain?


These are not barbel like we're used to in the UK. Barbel are one of Spain’s hidden treasures with at least 9 accredited species. By far the most beautiful of these extraordinary fish is the Andalucian barbel with its canary yellow and mandarin orange colourings. Andalucian barbel are stunning- and excitingly come to the fly. In fact, believe it or not, dry fly often out fishes the nymph. A six or seven weight outfit, a box of flies and you can roam daylong, picking fish up here and there to your heart's content. Generally they won't be big. Two to six pounds is the average but they fight like demons on fly gear and straighten out suspect hooks like you wouldn't believe. Bigger fish exist but you've really got to stalk them. Of course you can bait fish. Trouble is you catch too darn many! And don't worry if you're not an expert fly fisher. Casting is often barely necessary at all. It's all about watercraft, stalking visible fish and putting a fly to them in the most cunning of ways. Thrilling stuff.


We do emphasise fly fishing. This is simply because bait fishing is too easy! We’ve had people catch twenty barbel before lunch on bait & it really does neither the fish nor the river much good at all. Fly fishing is a really good option. It’s quite possible to catch the fish on nymphs and dry fly both. On fly gear, they fight like demons. You still catch plenty fish on fly, don’t worry about that. And if you’re not a hugely proficient fly angler, don’t worry. No long casting is called for at all here. Most of the time, you’re fishing at about two or three yards maximum. In fact, it’s all creepy-crawly, stalking, sight fishing stuff which most of our clients absolutely adore. This really is breathtaking stuff in the most beautiful part of Spain. Over years we have  taken very happy clients to a handful of intriguing, intimate rivers where these exquisite fish grow to good sizes and in prolific numbers. They meander through the  most spellbinding country, through olive groves, past traditional  white shepherd’s cottages & past cascades of wild flowers.

The cleaning up of the rivers is also opening new stretches whist the bass fishing-black bass that is-is also going from strength to strength. And we have an added bonus this year. Not far from the river is one of the huge Spanish embalsas or reservoirs. For many years, John has fished this wonderful, scenic water but without much success. We’ve known that barbel, bass & carp are present but we tended to think in not many numbers and not great sizes. Trips up to the lake proved that the water is heaving with fish – and big ones, too. On the first trip, there was a hatch of flying ants and the whole water – all seven miles length of it – was like a cauldron. Big barbel and bass were taking black flies from the surface like there was no tomorrow. And, they were easy to fool. Simply put any black floating imitation close to them and you were likely to get a take. Landing these fish, though, was a completely different matter. Upon being hooked, they simply dived. And dived. And dived. In short, they were hitting snags at thirty or forty feet down and in the short time we had on the water, proved almost impossible to land. But we’ve got plans in our mind, and we’re looking forward to rectifying the situation this coming year.


How do we help you?


The groups is small because John likes this to be a very hands-on trip. you can learn to fly fish with him. He will show you where the fish are so you can wander happily all day alone or with others. Getting licences in Andalucía is an absolute nightmare. We really do need ayou to book well ahead so we can go through all the complex, bureaucratic channels-we take the bureaucratic jungle out of your hands so it is a doddle for you.


Once you are booked, you are welcome to email or call John if you’ve got any doubts whatsoever about the fly fishing aspect of this trip. Remember that this is not set in stone & that people do bait fish still – especially after rain if the visibility clouds. All we can do is really reinforce the fact that this is spectacular fly fishing and it’s absolutely perfect also for anyone who has never wielded a fly rod before but wants to learn. You couldn’t have a more exciting introduction to the sport.


Join us & enjoy John Bailey’s inspiration, watercraft and insights. Many of his cunning approaches have arisen from experiences diving and watching and photographing barbel underwater for hours on end! If there’s one species John reckons he knows about then its barbel. He’s been addicted for twentyfive years and for fifteen of those has been pioneering all manner of new approaches for this fascinating fish.


In short, The fishing is bait or fly in exquisite rivers for barbel of 2 to 10 pounds, though the average is nearer 3. The bass fishing is fly or lure & can be thrilling. All this in a stunning landscape based in one of Spain's fine hotels with John's knowledge to boot.  We feel even more confident in offering you this trip, which has delighted so many anglers over the years. Quite a package!!






'The best thing was catching barbel on a small dry. I never considered barbel as a target for a flyrod. They put up a good scrap on trout tackle. It all went very well. Caught plenty of barbel on fly and a few bass too....hotel superb, boats excellent, great mix of people, John excellent as always. we both enjoyed the trip very much and thanks go to you for organising it' Stuart Crooks Irvine, Scotland

‘Excellent - really enjoyed myself and definitely felt I improved. There's really nothing else like this trip. The surroundings are stunning and the fishing is unlike anything most people will have seen before, both for barbel and black bass. Thanks again for a really memorable week. Lots to think about and learn from once again, which is going to be lots more fun'. Andy Davis, London & Delhi

“The company this year was great—all friendly and good "crack". One or two could fish a bit as well! John as ever was very enthusiastic, helpful and patient.” Kerry Jordan, Suffolk

What our clients say

Your Itinerary

Contact us for details of the next trip


Mon -Friday autumn


Depart Mon am  flight from your nearest airport, meet Stansted if wished, or meet Malaga, drive to hotel in convoy if you wish, return Fri afternoon flight to your chosen airport We can extend your stay if you wish.


What is your hotel like?


Our hotel base continues to delight everyone and, as some of you know, is walking distance from one of the rivers. The hotel you will stay in is an absolute gem. Gorgeous gardens, delightful rooms, great food, super bar. A stream running through the grounds. This truly is another world, a unique experience and best of all, you are only three hours from your local airport!


What would be your typical day?


Maybe pop down to the river early if you want. Enjoy a gorgeous buffet breakfast on the terrace. Use a quiver tip and a feeder if you wish but it would be a shame not to look and perhaps learn. Fishing with John gives you whole new perspectives on what river fishing is all about. Stand in the river next to John, watch the world around and begin to understand fully whats happening in the water beneath you. Learn to fly fish. Discover where the fish abound. Wander alone as you wish. Join others on the bank for a chat. There' ll be talk in the bar, talk over dinner in the warm eveing air on the terrace. Enjoy lunch by the river.. A glass of red wine perhaps as the sun begins to sink. Come back home refreshed, wiser perhaps, your appetite whetted for more. You will be spending some very valuable time feeding your soul, enjoying the company of some great people and soaking in the peace and beauty of a blessed Andalucian river haven.


You can bring your non fishing partner


This is an ideal trip for a non-fishing partner. We have had several wives and girlfriends along who have loved the hotel, the pool, the gardens, the walking, the horse riding, the picnics and the trips to Granada and Ronda. They had a very happy time. Some fish with us too!

All i wanted to say is it was perfect. The only fault is it should have been a month long....’


Dave Lambert, Sussex


· You’d never believe that such an adventure lies just two hours from your local airport. Glorious scenery. The endlessly bureaucratic licensing system sorted for you


· The waters pioneered and charted...all you have to do is enjoy. Barbel on bait, yes, and even better on fly. Five or six weight. Small dries on size fourteens. Nymphs. Buzzers.


· Twisting, twinkling rivers that flow through an enchanted landscape.


· This is a serious adventure but yet gentle and charming and so thoroughly addictive that clients come back year after year.


· The countless fish are very visible - a really exciting learning experience and aren't they stunning? Fiery yellow and red barbel glow with vitality, radiance and power.


· John's love for and knowledge of barbel is unsurpassed. Detailed, personal attention to your individual needs.


· Luxurious English run country house style hotel, pool, gorgeous long evening meals



How do you book your place?


A deposit of 50% is payable, although you are welcome to send the whole balance for convenience if you wish. Balance due Feb 9 or can be paid on booking. The following should be added in full to your deposit/balance total if required :-Single supplement is £199 for the four nights if you desire it and should be added to your deposit on booking. Please also add any required extra nights’ accommodation (this has to be booked in advance by us) at £99 half board per person per night shared room.


We have a different price for non fishing partners, friends or family members which is superb value. There is a discount of £39 per person for two people booking together.


Price includes all fishing and guidance and access to river & lakes, four nights' country hotel accommodation of a very high standard (English 4* type), twin rooms, (double for couples), four full buffet breakfasts, tuition & guidance from John Bailey, admin. Licence extra.


We will send you a confirmation, fishing information and directions by email on receipt of your booking. If this is a present please let us know who it is for and what the occasion is and we will post a gift card to them if you wish. Comprehensive travel insurance is a condition of booking.


This is a rich opportunity to learn more about fish and fishing and enjoy a wonderful part of the world and great company. We very much look forward to meeting you!


Email us on joy2curlyaangling-tracvel.com or call 01452 813241 Mobile 07866 470238 if you have any questions or wish to reserve one of the very limited places.

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