The Balkans meet Malaysia

The Balkans meet Malaysia

Paul Arden | Thursday, 4 June 2015

Well firstly a big thanks to Craig for an awesome set of Front Pages; it's been very interesting to read about your fishing and I'll thoroughly recommend your guiding services to anyone visiting your region!! Hope to have you back after a busy summer! It sounds like you have a great thing going :)

I also have a good thing going; and have just returned from Bosnia/Croatia after fishing with Ti and Irhamy for the last 9 days straight. We were unfortunate to have heavy rainfall the weekend immediately prior to their arrival. This rain flooded the Ribnik and it was 1metre higher than normal and unfishable. This altered our trip somewhat but gave us three days on the Pliva and one on the Gacka, instead of two on the Ribnik and two on the Pliva. Fortunately our plans were flexible!

They were fishing within 90 minutes of arrival in Zagreb, Croatia. Our first destination was to be Latohegy, Hungary, to show them my vineyard and for some good Hungarian hospitality and wine tasting. The Croatian Canal at Prelog is almost on route so we went for an afternoon fish. The Canal is always a challenge, it is hard fished, you need sunshine and the water is fast, but the rewards can be good if you're technical. We met up with Sasha the next day and fished together too - it's always a pleasure meeting and fishing with Sasha, he's one of the best anglers I know, a great instructor and a good story teller! Ti and the Gov really enjoyed his company.

That night we made the 4.5 hr drive to the Pliva to stay with a couple of my favourite hosts at the bridge cafe/bar/accommodation. We struggle to communicate but that's part of the charm! I caught up with a few of my non-fishing bar-resident Bosnian friends too. Bosnian hospitality is always welcoming.

The Pliva was high, but fishable. The Pliva is possibly the hardest water I know. It's hard sometimes to catch just small fish, large fish are always very hard to come by, but they are most certainly there. Consequently it's a great place to learn. And there I have a good friend who is one of the very best teachers/anglers I know; Zeljko. There's not much Zeljko can't do when it comes to river fishing and no one knows the Pliva better than him. He tried to take me for a swimming lesson on the last day we were there, but neither of us went swimming, although both our waders were full of water after the end of an hour! An excellent location Cool

With the Ribnik out and fish hard to come by, we made our way speedily to the Gacka. After one quite safe, but also illegal, overtaking manoeuvre I was pulled over by the Bosnian cops. I managed to talk my way out of it!

The Gacka was good, not much rising but I had four nice fish that were, with three excellent browns in our evening fishing session. We also had the river to ourselves which was surprising. The following day it was completely full of Italians!

Our next destination was a Croatian fishing show at Ogulin. We fished a couple of rivers there, I gave a casting presentation and then a workshop on the Sunday. A great bunch of people and a lot of fun, well organised by my new friend Ratko! Milan was there to welcome us too as was Zlatimir, who is Captain of the Croatian Fishing Team this year for the world championships.

This is the sort of trip I was hoping for, introducing my good friends Ti and Irhamy to my other good friends and top anglers from the region. We could have been luckier with the weather but we caught plenty of fish in the end. We fished six different rivers, with two days on the Kupa to finish off.

It was great to meet Carlo and other Italians at the end too. This is the experience; crazy people, technical fishing, lots of Grayling, different nationalities, all brought together through a love of fishing. A great time I'm sure Kiss 

More pics will follow!

Cheers, Paul