Winding road takes us thru Risnjak mountain from Delnice to Čabar. Deer jumps from the woods, stops for a moment and disappears back in woods. It´s been 7 or 8 years since I visited Cabranka (it pronounces chabranka) last time, maybe even more. I knew nothing about trout back there. However, among couple of rainbows, I was so lucky to lure beautifull 44 cm long brown trout. I couldn´t take my eyes of her when I finally landed that lovely fish. Adrenalin hit me so hard i was shaking for quite some time after I took some photos and released it. Every now and then, photos of some trout caught in Cabranka river were released in fishing magazines in Croatia. Each time it was like they are calling me to come back.
Couple of years later, here we are, drinking coffee in Klaric caffe bar and talking with Mr. Klaric. Through conversation with him, Robert and me decide to start our excursion all the way downstream, where Cabranka meets Kupa river. I am occupied with trout, while Robert has his mind set on grayling, whose population is rich in those parts of Cabranka. Cabranka is pretty low, but I manage to trick couple of smaller brownes. Robert is bathing some flies somewhere behind me. In a deeper part of river I finally see school of nicer fish. I try with inline spinnerbait first, then with a twitchbait, but I get no response. So I move along upstream, certain it these are graylings.
In next gap happens the same, and in a third try i finally have a fish. It came out after an inline spinnerbait, but didn´t take it in a first try, so I offered her Megabass X-55 twitchbait next. It couldn´t say no to that. Brown around 30 cm soon got back in a certainty of a hole she jumped out. In a couple of hundred meters upstream I caught couple more fish, and then at Gerovcica river mouth strong strike stops my inline spinnerbait. I am sure I hooked nice brown trout, but happiness lasts only till I saw chub under my feet. He packed lure in its mouth like he hasn´t eat for days. Now i realise those shadows from deep weren´t grayling, but chub. That´s why Robert couldn´t catch any!
We skip shallow parts upstream and then rain starts to fall like crazy so we rest in a car for a while. As soon as rain stopped, we are back in business. We fish on a part of Cabranka that is shallow at first and then starts to deepen. I can´t hook decent fish which strikes my Aglia with gold blade 2 times in a row, I land only a couple of smaller fish. We take a break for a quick snack and we´re back on the water in no-time. It´s late afternoon and I simply can´t postpone a visit to the place where I caught my first brown trout any more. I recognized the rock beneath which it jumped out at first. But water level is lower than it was back then, who knows where it is now.
I am going downstream back to place where I left Robert. He had cople of smaller trout and nice grayling on a fly rod. It´s getting dark so we pack. In that moment a car parks, guy comes out and says to us Mr. Klaric sent him to show us a fish. He grabs a big bag from a trunk. At first I thought he has a huchen in it. When he took it out of a bag, I couldn´t believe what i saw. It was a trout. Big, fat brown trout. 6,9 kilos and 70 centimeters. Robbie takes few shots of a lucky fisherman with his trophy and they leave. When we came back to caffee, Mr. Klaric just looked at us and smiled..
What´s up, guys, he says..
What´s up? Someone catches a 7 kilo carp and he´s happy, pike, or zander that big is a nice trophy everywhere. This guy caught 7 kilo brown trout, that´s what´s up! We were lucky to see biggest brown caught in Cabranka river ever. Couple of beers after we are still under impression, but it´s time to hit the bed. Tomorrow morning we are back on water. We fish for a couple of hours and come back for a coffee.
Mr Klaric suggests us that we go upstream and give it a try around powerplant. Cast a jig and you´ll get some fish, no doubt, he says. We´ll do, sir! We parked somewhere downstream the powerplant and went up. Cabranka flows thru woods here and there are lot of rocks in it. Lot of whitewater. So I tie a jig head on a knot, rig Sakura Slit shad on it and cast it in a whitewater. It sank, water caried it and i felt something. I wasn´t sure if it was a rock, or a fish, but I decided to set a hook anyway. My Ghetto rider bended as fish wildly swam downstream. I managed to turn her, and it jumped out of the water. Rainbow! Another jump, some more pumping and here it is, in my hand. For a moment only. Each time I try to catch it, she goes ballistic! Finally, it lies tired on a side. Silver beauty rests in my hands just as long as robbie needs to take couple of photos and then it jumps out of my hands. That´s some crazy ass fish, I think to myself.
We get out of river bed just by the powerplant and got back couple of hundred meters upstream. Waterfalls, one after another but with not much water. Tough terrain. We finally hit one that is richer with water and has a deeper pool. Again I lay my hopes in Slit shad. Cast in a corner of a pool takes trout around 30 cm out of its shelter, but it misses my lure. I decide to let it rest so I aim straight in white water. Lure dissapears and only a second or 2 laterit stops. Maybe it jammed between 2 rocks, I am thinking, so I nicely try to free it with a tip of my rod. As line got tense I realized rock moves. I set a hook as hard as I could and fish got mad. She pumps like crazy, Ghetto Rider is bent like I am fighting big bass, and fish is all round the pool. I am yelling for my friend to come down and help me, but he´s talking on his cell phone and doesn´t hear me screaming. He finally sees I am in a trouble, but trout is tired enough I can pull her in a shallow water. Beautifull brown trout rests there for a while, while Robbie sets his Canon and after a number of photos I bring it back to life and there it goes. I light a cigarette to calm down and buddy goes back to his cell phone. I wanna catch that smaller one as well. i rig new Slit shad on a jig hook, cast it and half a meter before that rock I was aiming another nice trout grabs my lure. I yell Robbie, Robbie again, he turns around, sees my bend rod and he´s like, oh no, not again! I start to laugh. Ghetto rider tames this as well, fish is soon tired, I wanna unhook it while my buddy gets down and in that moment fish twitches, runs thru my hands, my boot slips and I lose my balance as I try to turn to catch it once again and I fall in water. What the hell, some have to get away! We get out of the water satisfied and go search for some tamer terrains. We find a dam and decide to give it a try. 10 minutes later Robert catches nice dark trout and that´s it. Time to eat something. We fish some more after, Robert lands nice grayling again and the day is at his end.
Tomorrow morning after coffee we pack. Time to go home. We got what we came for, we saw giant brown trout and we´ll sure come back.