Monster Catfishing and hospital

Monster Catfishing and hospital

Today was a strangely mixed day. My friend Martin invited me to go monster catfishing with him in his boat on Lake Domasa. I’ve been looking forward to this for quite some time. I was amazed by the amount of technology Martin had on the boat, including sonar and electric GPS anchor motor. We used large live bait (tench) and massive hooks and strong lines, and Martin employed the traditional wooden clonking method on the water. The trip lasted about 5 hours and was unsuccessful, unfortunately, but we had a great time together sitting in the middle of the lake, amid beautiful scenery, discussing the state of the world. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

However, a black cloud hovered around me all day as my eldest boy, Brano, went into hospital today for a hernia operation (the actual op is tomorrow), and he should be out on Wednesday. I have very little faith in the medical system out here as I’ve had way too many bad experiences with it so I am concerned. Hopefully, everything will work out well and he’ll be home soon.

Feeding fish with bread

Feeding fish with bread

Today was a very fish-related day.

The photo shows the effect of a chunk of bread thrown into the River Ladomirka – a fish feeding frenzy.

I also started the process of getting my fishing license so i can fish around my village. The bureaucracy is really off-putting and requires visits to several offices for various permissions, plus it’s fairly expensive in local terms. I’m not a freshwater fisherman but getting away from it all might help to induce the writing of a new book.

Peacock Blenny

Peacock Blenny

This has to be one of the strangest fish I have ever encountered. It was about 20 cms long and was crawling across the rock at the bottom of the harbour using its fore fins like arms or legs. Until I found out what it was (Salaria pavo) I would have sworn it was some type of saltwater salamander. It even had a distinct head and face reminiscent of a seal.

Really creepy, primeval creature. Apparently they’re much sought after by specialist aquarium owners to clean the algae from the side of the tank. I personally wouldn’t want one staring at me from behind the glass. It would give me nightmares.

Photographed with a Dazzne P2 in Croatia.

Mediterranean Rainbow Wrasse Fish

Mediterranean Rainbow Wrasse Fish

One of my favourite activities whilst on holiday is sea fishing. I picked up the bug for it whilst in Florida (especially pier fishing in the Keys) when I was younger. I’m not really a fan of freshwater fishing as I like watching the sun go down over the sea of an evening (and being bitten alive by mosquitoes) – it gives me time and inspiration to think.

Sadly, the area around Croatia where we were staying has been massively over fished and this is noticeable in the virtual lack of large fish, although there are still plenty of fry about. I caught this beautiful Rainbow Wrasse (Coris julis) but nothing else this year. I had to retire my old telescopic rod last year as the saltwater had rusted it to pieces so this year I tried out a new, much larger telescopic carp rod which my wife had bought me as a present. It was much too unwieldy for the type of fish I was catching and no tuna wanted to take my bait.

Handmade fishing flies

Handmade fishing flies

Today my friend Martin, who is ranked 2nd in Slovakia for individual fishing, brought me some of his homemade flies, lures, spinners and plugs to look at. My eyes strained just trying to focus on their minutae and I can’t imagine the patience he must have to craft tiny flies from feathers, deer hair and alder wood. ┬áHe even makes his own three pronged hooks because he can’t buy them small enough for his liking, nor sharp enough.

I love the idea of knowing the fish, river and season so well that you can create a lure which will attract your dinner, plus have the skill to fly rod. That’s a sport I might take up next year. My grandfather did it with a bamboo rod set up and maybe I’ll try the same. There’s something very natural and gentlemanly about fly fishing.