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Ronan's report

Monday 12th August, 2013

I think the week we've just had here in Hungary will turn out to be the hottest of the summer! Certainly it's cooled off a little now, whereas last week we had one day that topped 40C! I really enjoyed that one, and was out and about in the garden building the trellis for the vineyard - which incidentally has turned out to be enormously hard, (hot), dirty and sweaty physical work! Earlier this summer I acquired over a hundred posts for the task; I've been stripping them of bark and then rope-heaving them along a hard track and down a perilously-sloped hill, before dropping them into bored holes. I'm building H-brace, Stonehenge-lookalike, post-ends to maximise the number of vines - and therefore bottles! - as well as minimise the number of trip-wires! The structure has to be strong because Latohegy gets regularly hit by storm winds. Never having done anything like this before, I have no idea what the hell I'm doing and it could all turn pear-shaped at any moment!

The evening fishing - yes I have been fishing and quite a lot actually! - around the islands below Latohegy hasn't come together for me. I don't know why, but there is very little Asp activity in this place, despite there being HUGE numbers of baitfish, so I've taken-up morning fishing with 5am starts following Janko's sterling advice on the Board. On Saturday morning I fished the islands with Adam (Babus' brother - and the chap who first invited me to Hungary). Adam had a couple of small ones that he pretended were fish, but were in fact bait, and there was bugger-all else activity.

The final part of the mission was exciting however, because during the lifting of the kayak up the steep bank to get it back to the car, the bloody rope broke. This resulted in the kayak shooting back down the bank and half way across the river! A quick decision was in order: to save it or to watch it disappear off downstream towards the Black Sea, which it was doing at a rapid pace. My first thought was, "It's Peter's kayak and he should have checked the rope, it will be a useful lesson for him that will stand him in good stead for the future" but then I thought, "Maybe Peter and I will use it tomorrow and I'll catch a large Asp!" So with that thought in mind, I tore off down the bank, throwing my Wild Sheep ChestVest into the bushes, along with my hat and sunglasses, before diving - otherwise fully clothed - into the river to swim downstream after it.

That evening, having saved the kayak from the perils of the Black Sea, Peter and I repeated the islands trip. I moved and missed a large Asp on the drift down and then nothing else at all, all evening! So over a few wines and potatoes (this is Hungary; we have potatoes with our wine - Ronan would like it) we decided that we should go back to our previous method of fishing the Drava and float the 10Km from Ortilos to Latohegy. It's always been good for one, two and sometimes even - wait for it - three Asp. I don't think we've ever caught more than three Asp, but we've never caught less than one either!

So yet another 5am start was arranged - "how does he do it?" you're wondering - I have no idea. And it's such a difficult stretch of river to work out, the bit where I live - how the hell did I end up here anyway? Thanks Adam! Anyway there basically seems to be three different types of Asp-fishing available. One is when they holdup in trouty lies, sitting on the edge of currents, just one side of a drop-off, or else where two currents converge, especially where a back-eddy connects with the bank - trout hold up in these places too, and would do so here if the water wasn't so bloody warm(!), and just like trout, Asp will take a swung streamer fished in exactly the same way.

The second type of Asp-fishing is very much like trying to catch bass: ie tucked under banks, or logs, and especially tucked into the slack and shaded water behind a tree, ie downstream and into the bank. I love this type of fishing, which is 90% casting (as well as picking your shot of course) - immmense fun and actually our most successful method here.

And then the third method that's been working, and from what I can see it's mostly how it's done elsewhere, is where the Asp are in the process of hitting bait fish. One either has to be there exactly when it happens - as I was today! - or be patient enough to wait for the fish to return a second or third or fifth time to make a shot. I like this type of Asping too but it's not the typical method here, possibly because we're rapidly floating downriver! I've been using the Bunny Cat on these fish; I think the fluoro green is seeing my fly hit instead of the real ones inside the activity.

There may be a fourth method available too - and that is to fish deep, but I haven't spent much time doing this. Lots to try over the next couple of months! Have a great week fishing wherever and for whatever fish has got your attention at the moment!


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