Pontoon21 Team Croatia won national boat challenge!
Croatian predatory angling league. Long-awated opening
After years and years of preparation and imrovement Croatian league - Carnivorous Artificial Baits Boat Angling starts in spring 2017. Accepted by Committee with all adjusted rules everything was ready for 1st historical round. Croatia as a country of diversity has excellent fishermen and can provide excellent team for Championships. It is an unused ‘’treasure’’ with which national team can surely come back with a trophy.
It was up to us, 8 teams of very experienced fishermen, to make decisions about leadership and, more importantly, choose rivers and lakes which will provide the best conditions. Choosing experienced Hrvoje Kuzmić as league manager was the first step. As manager of the Spinning league Hrvoje is well-familiar with the Committee and paper work, as a very important part of the organization of the competiton. Choosing lakes and rivers we followed different aspects, we wanted to gather as many styles as possible, from ultra light to serious zander and pike fishing. We had an idea to show and to adjust more techniques in 5 rounds.
As Pontoon21 Team, Hrvoje and I were more than ready to new challenges. Also working as a team from the times of Croatian Bass League, paired boat fishing was not new to us. Combining our tackle and our tricks, we made plans and tactics to cover all possible techniques of fishing. We were ready for very fast changes of style within one and the same round if it is necessary, of course. Later, it turned out that the fact of our targeting a lot of species at the same time was one of the key reasons for our winning the competition.
Pontoon 21 rattlins - original solution for perch fishing near the bank
The first round, as it is the most important for everyone wishing to make advantages was held on the lake Lešće, near the city of Ogulin. It is a deep canyon of the river Dobra with total length of over 15 km. It is a lake rich in zander, chub and perch. As it was my domestic lake, we knew positions and configuration from many previous training. Unfortunately, zanders were still in mating season because of extended winter, so hauls were very low. What we were left was perch and chub. Based on it, fishing with Awaruna lures, Bet-a Vib and Kalikana Vib cover all possible fish species to catch. That way we caught several perches around 15-20cm. Besides we cast ZipBaits Rigge 35F along the bank hoping to trick chub which appeared on the surface from time to time. In half of 6 hours round we knew that we are close to the first place and that this type of fishing is effective and if we continue it can bring us a medal. After we caught several perches near the bank, Hrvoje managed to hook a well sized chub with CrackJack 48mm lure which brought us a great relief. After measuring the haul we became the winners of the first round. Even fishing didn’t go as it was expected, it was a good start to us and advantage was in our hands.
Trait spinners - favorites of shallow waters
Next two rounds where held on the river Drava in the north of Croatia. As it is one of the biggest and longest rivers, it is home of all predatory species. Like in the previous competitions there we were again concentrated on fishing chub, asp and perch as more appropriate ‘’point collectors’’. Round two was held in the upper part of the Drava near the city of Varaždin. It is a wider shallow part of the river known as a great ultra light competition venue. As our first visit in boat it was new to us. Domestic teams knew everything that was necessary to know and our objective was stay in top 3. Choosing the upper part of the venue was a good decision and many catches were realized, mostly chubs around 25cm caught with Trait 00 spinners. As time was passing without ‘’serious’’ catches, we didn’t know our position. The final calculation brought us to the top of the list, to the 2nd place. It was like the first place to us and more than a proof that we were still in game. After a week, the Zrinski lake, which is also a part of the river Drava was the venue for the 3rd round. Practically, it was the same water and we expected pretty the same conditions. But, unfortunately, dam was under reconstruction and water level had dropped dramatically. To cancel the round was one of the options but by hand voting we decided to continue. Using the same tactics as in the 2nd round wasn’t bringing us any luck. Trying to catch pike was one of the options. Low water level shows us usually hidden tree stumps which is a perfect place for pike. Few casts with Megabass Great Hunting Minnow in hope to catch chub or asp, brought us pike nearly 60cm long. Luckicky, fish didn’t unhook, which proved our pike fishing theory. Heavy tackle is now in hands and just few more Kalikana Dun casts brought us one more pike about 60cm long. The first part of the competition was excellent. The rest saw our tactics and they also put several pikes in a net. Others found perch and our advantage was questionable. Then we caught one more pike and referee whistle stopped us. Time passed unexpectedly quickly. After measuring catches, the 3rd place was won. We were satisfied, in final ranking the 2nd place was ours, which separated us from winners in just total number of catches, placements were the same.
The autumn part of the league, the 4th round, took place on the Stara Drava, an old part of the river Drava, 200 km to east. It was the same river – water but there are totally different conditions and environment. With very little information we were preparing usual sets of tackle, covering again, all types of fishing. As the round started, unfortunately, one call made me stop the competition. During the last period the whole Croatia was struck by heavy rains and the river Dobra threatened my city with floods. I left the round to save a flooded house and Hrvoje remained to complete thetour. Once again, unfortunately, after my leaving, he lost a huge catfish. Still, with not giving up he managed to catch pike around 50 cm long. Black clouds carried by strong winds occupied the sky, there was lightning, and it was raining cats and dogs. After half of the round had passed the teams decided to stop competition. Hrvoje reached good results and it was the only good news that day for me. Still, now in final ranking we are the 2nd and we lacked two points to win the first place, so the final 5th round must be ours and even with that, it will be hard to win the championship.
Micro jig with Awaruna - the elegant stroke of the victory
Last round – last chance. We were aware of the situation and all calculations couldn’t promise anything. Now, on last round, on the lake Šoderica near city Koprivnica we have more than just an advantage, it’s a lake near Hrvoje’s home and trainings will show us a way to win. Mostly we were thinking about the final league results, our winning was undoubtful, no matter how confident that sounds, a real question was, how the 1st team will finish.
That was a round based on perch fishing. We used to catch there a lot, organized Pontoon21 tournaments and we knew fresh positions from previous trainings. Prepared tactics were very effective and 1,5’’ Awaruna soft bait rigged on very light gold and silver jig heads were more than the best choice for perch fishing in grassy holes. The number of pretty big perch in the net was close to 40. We knew about our unquestionable first place but because of heavy fog we didn’t see the others. Few teams passed and talking to them we found out that nobody caught as much as we did, not even close. Then Hrvoje had something bigger with a small Awaruna soft bait. It was a pike around 50 cm which just again confirmed our winning. The final measuring made us winners of the 5th round and WINNERS of the first Croatian League - Carnivorous Artificial Baits Boat Angling. Namely, to our luck, competition finishes 5th what push us up to the top of a table.
Very interesting, very healthy competition and various fishing are some of the words to describe this league which is new to us. It is a fast-pace competition which demands many skills and lot of knowledge and experience. New styles and of course new territories are very challenging and require serious approach. We were successful in it and we are ready to stand up to the best fisherman in Carnivorous Artificial Baits Boat Angling discipline on World Championship - England 2018!
Mario Matiashich, Croatia
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