My Story About Bass Fishing in Croatia Part 1
I started fishing for bass around 15 years ago. For a few years, I was checking everything I'd heard about bass, waters, equipment, baits and fishing technique. I was one of those people who didn't believe everything they saw on Youtube videos or read in magazines. Rather, I've reached success in bass fishing because of my own fishing technique and constant checking of everything mentioned above. When I started, there were no specialized baits for basses. Neverthelss, there were a lot of basses – you could see them in clear waters, but usually they didn't want to take anything. Even when they did, it was very rare. Therefore, realized catches were rather more accidental than the result of targeted fishing. Only a few enthusiasts having love for fishing along with volunteers were trying to discover the secret of bass fishing. The real expansion started with internet boom and, therefore, finding about the way of bass fishing in the world. After that, there were more and more baits and fishing tackle on the market, which increased the number of people interested in targeted bass fishing. It all helped to start the competitions for bass fishing in Croatia and, consequently, the HŠRS Bass league. However, the popularization brought damage to some waters because of non-existent interest for their protection. Today we witness the fact that Trakošćan and Borovik, lakes which used to have great population of bass, lost their basses because of incapable and uninterested leadership of organizations that had been granted the right to manage the waters by the state. Despite high interest of fishermen, nothing has been undertaken to protect the fish.
Observations About Bass
Let's go around 15 years back and look at some of my first observations about bass. We can't possibly say that bass belongs to new species of fish in our area, although we can agree with the fact that the fish was considered to be a destroyer of the whole ichtiofauna. Also, bass didn't belong to protected species in a huge number of waters where it lives or it used to live, especially in north Croatian region of Podravina. Ironically enough, bass fishing started in Podravina, which later caused its popularization in the whole of Croatia. We should also mention that the bass was described as an invasive species, which deprived it ofthe state protection.
Fortunately, nature knows nothing about state borders, which helped bass to cross the border with our northern neighbors 20 years ago. In Hungary they haven't noticed any negative effects on ichtiofauna and bass is protected in the majority of waters.
Using the Drava river and its surrounding lakes as a ''passage'', bass has over time ''won" most of the lakes in Podravina. The fish has used ideal conditions that the lakes are offering (for all aquatic organisms) as a motive for its future propagation and spreading. Consequently, the fish is present in almost all waters at the moment.
You are more likely to catch a big bass in larger lakes, especially because of their wilderness and unaccessability. The most common catch weight is around 400 g, which cannot be compared to the catches in other European countries, especially Spain, Portugal, Italy and France. If you catch a bass weighing 1 kg, you can be considered very lucky. Also, catching a bass with weight of more than 2 kg is really a big deal. Around 10 years ago, a few catches had weighed more than 3 kg, meaning that basses in Croatia can grow. Unfortunately, uncontrolled fishing during the last couple of years unabled us to enjoy such big fishes, except for the lakes where the fish is protected and regularly returned to water. Despite its weight, the bass in Croatia is a creative fighter and tries everything to get rid of the lure, which the fish used to attack thinking it will satisfy its hunger. By explosiveness, sudden and unpredictable moves and especially by impressive jumps out of water and head shaking, the fish has won the hearts of many fishermen.
Spring and autumn are the best seasons for fishing and the weather during that time is the most pleasing. Even the act of approaching the waters can be experienced as something special, mostly because of beautiful ambient and environment full of vegetation - in and out of waters. During the time, many Croatian fishing lovers started spending their time primary in search for bass. Catching it from early spring until late autumn, they are the only type of fishermen who find "winter break" too short. Occasional perch and pike fishing isn't that satisfying and 2-3 months is too short a period for adventures with the lure.