Spain: Barbel on the Dry Fly


Best described as upside down bonefishing, you see cruising barbel as they come into the shallows to hunt, fins above the water like small scale golden sharks.
With the theme tune to Jaws playing in your head, you cast your terrestrial imitation in front of blunt, moustachioed noses. If you get it right, the fish will raise its head and knock the fly several times before rearing up, grabbing it and running in the opposite direction.

The shallow water gives them nowhere to go but out into the deeper water, and they keep going until your line is heading for the backing or you are (wo)man enough to fight back. Welcome to barbel on the dry fly…Spanish style.

It is possible to fish for barbel on the dry fly for 10 months of the year, although the best seasons are between April and early July, and September until November. The barbel fishing peaks in October with bags recorded at a tremendous 40 barbel a piece.

Route march
Within a two hour flight of most British airports you can be enjoying the Spanish weather for a long weekend’s guided fishing. Outside Days creates bespoke packages for up to six fishermen. Accommodation includes a range of traditional Spanish lodges and hotels well off the beaten tourist routes.

Barbel are by nature river-dwelling, bottom-feeding fish. When reservoirs were created by damming rivers, the barbel were trapped and have adapted to their new habitat, cruising the shoreline and margins for hapless insects. Instead of imitation flies, dry fly for barbel involves faux beetles and ants.

reservoir landscape

The reservoirs offer a huge variety of habitats from boulder-strewn outcrops to white sand flats to grassy coves populated with sheep. This diversity means constantly changing challenges that ensure you are never bored. Each rod takes a turn walking and casting for barbel visible cruising just beneath the surface and tailing as they feed on the water’s edge.

Fishing the reservoirs requires fitness, stamina and the desire to fish and walk for eight hours to get the best fishing. The pay off is that the clear, shallow water turns these bottom-feeding monsters of the deep into upside-down bonefish with all the muscle and fight of a flats fish.Book Now

Toby and the Barbel

Fact File


All year
Prime season: April to June and  September to November.


There is no specific clothing required, but neutral and natural colours are most suited.
Wading is not normally essential, and on the few occasions it is required or desired, the weather will be warm enough to wet wade rendering waders superfluous. ,
Polarised sunglasses and a hat will not only provide protection but make spotting of fish easier.


9 – 10 ft  5 – 7wt


All  fishing can be accomplished using a floating line, we ask that you ensure you have a minimum of 50yds backing well attached.
The leader and tippet recommended are in the region of 10lb breaking strain and should about 10-12ft.


Ants and beetles in hooks between #10 and #14, your guide will have a supply of local favourites with him at all times.

Group Size

For 1 or more anglers

Airport of arrival



Travelling to the UK from within the EU needs no visa
Travel from outside the EU may require a visa at the port of entry

Spanish fishing licences will be arranged by Outside Days




Non required


It is standard practice to tip the fishing guide at the end of the day/trip.




GMT +1

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