Monthly Archives: January 2014

Sakura 2014 (pt II)


We´ll open a presentation of a new softbaits from Sakura with a new player in their program. It´s Slit Finesse. Slit Shad had fantastic fish catching ratio last year, I think he caught a fish on every water we visited, from pike, zander, trout, perch, barbel, bass, seabass, and so on. Slit finesse is Sakura´s logical step forward. It is a soft jerkbait, made of a Slit Shad´s body which ends with V shaped tail. It comes in 3 lenghts: 75 mm, 100 mm and 125 mm (3, 4, 5 inches).


At first glance it looked thinner in a profile than Slit Shad to me, but then i realized what´s going on. Finesse Slit 125 is made on Slit Shad 100, SF 100 is based on SS 85 and Slit Finesse 75 is only slightly larger and thicker in a body than Slit Shad 50 mm. All of them are salt free and they are ´pimped´ with crawfish scent. If you find colours that Sakura is offering boring, you can make your own colour chart with a little help of a lighter. As they are salt free, you can cut 2 of them, warm up the ends and connect it. You can mix them with Slit Shads from Zander selection, too, for they are salt free as well.


Slit Finesse can be used on a drop shot rig, on a jig, a jig hook, or with worm hook. Weightless, texas rig, carolina rig, there are more than a few ways you can rig it. Slit Shads from Perch and Zander selection come salted and scented. In year 2014 they come in a 4 new colours, apple mint, junebug, hasu and pink shake. Pink shake already proved itself in perch fishing, junebug will be great for bass fishing, while apple mint and hasu look great for clear water. Sexy shad colour worked great for seabass last year, I feel hasu and apple mint will do the same this year and years to come.


For those who fancy big bites and big fish, Sakura offers Slit Shads in a new dimensions, 150 and 175 mm (6 and 7 inches). Colour chart contains 8 colours plus golden shiner which is exclusive for Salt water selection. Pike selection contains 3 Slit Shads 175 in peper mint, blue back, and apple mint colour. Although it looks really massive, biggest Slit Shad works at a smallest move. We even tried it rigged weightless on a big worm hook and stayed astonished by the action. Tail works in dropping, and even at a slowest retrieve it shows nice body roll. If you let it drop on the bottom, let it rest and then twich it, it jumps, turns on a side and flashes while ´dying´ again. This thiing is a main reason I can´t wait pike season to start! Material of which this great bait is made of is really soft, but bait itself is fleshy enough to handle enough toothy fish before it goes in deserved retirement.


We can´t wait to get our hands on couple more treats from Sakura:

Notobug- 30 mm long and 3,5 g of a weight great looking imitation of an insect made of high density foam.

Crawl´n frog 65 mm 20 g, Basirisky lookalike frog

Queen rana (45-55-65 mm i 10-15-20 g), another frog we find interesting,

L16 shad, great looking swimbait that is coming in 120 and 150 mm of a lenght,

Balatuna (35 mm 15 g), little metal jig that looks like bullet and casts evenly, I supose and

Crazy anchoa jig- another casting jig.




We wish to thank Top Fishing store crew who conceded us baits. Thanks, guys!

Sakura 2014 (Pt I)


We´ll open a presentation of novelties from Sakura for 2014. with hardbaits. There are some new colours, first of which is pearl lemon which works great for zander, as well as in mudy water and when dark. Mat wakasagi is my kind of a colour. Lures with mat finish only look dark and matte, or dim. Truth is that they produce a lot of flash when sunny and in mudy water, or on a cloudy day they have clear contour which helps fish to target it better.


Crystal anchovy in the other hand is a really flashy, shiny colour and it will lure fish from far on a nice sunny day. Great summer colour for active fish. Najas and Pop´n dogs in frog pattern will be killer lures for bass and chub. It goes the same for cicada decor.


Real life series is reinforced with some new colours. Mulet looks so real that is unreal! Chinchard looks nice as well. I know they are imagined to be used at sea, but try to explain to our crazy ass asps and bass! They will love these for sure! Najas have allready proven to be lures with great fish catching ratio, in this 2 colours, mulet especially, they will kick ass!


Next great new thing is real life sunfish. It goes the same for it as it was for mulet- it looks damn good and I can´t wait to get my hands on crankbaits in this pattern. Bass won´t be able to resist them for sure.


Speaking of largemouth and cranks, we saw new Bomba crank in RL bass decor. You can see it in a picture, and you should know it´ll be avaliable in RL sunfish colour and 4 more already proven colour schemes. Bomba crank comes in 60 and 70 mm lenght and 13 and 20 grams of a weight. It runs about meter deep and has strong vibration tuned up with loud rattle. Wide diving lip makes him almost snagless so you can work around heavy cover that big bass love so much. Name suits well for this little fellow, for it will surely be a bomb for warm days that are coming.


Sakura didn´t have jerkbaits (gliders) to offer till this year. Now they have Wafer jerk. It has cool name and it comes in 2 sizes, 15 and 17 cm (52 and 75 g). That is 6 and 7 inches, and 1 ¾ oz and 2 ¾ oz, if you´re not farmiliar with metric system. It´s very loud and demands stiff rod in order to get it to work. We´ll be throwing him around this year and see how our croatian pikes feel about it.


Crispy spider jigs are mini jig for which we think it´ll be interesting to all kinds of fish, from trout, perch, bass, and so on. Jig head is protected with plastic and tungsten powder, and silicon skirt is made of 2 different diameters. It pulses at smallest move of a rod tip, or in minimum water flow. It also has weedguard and comes in 6 colours and 3 weights- 1,8, 2,5, 3,5 g. That´s 1/16, 3/32 and 1/8 oz, my dear Americans!


Monarc spinnerbaits are my absolute favourites! I think about them since I first saw them in a precatalogue and I got to say they look like guys from Sakura asked me how I want them to look. They come in 7, 10,5, 14 and 17 g (1/4, 3/8, ½, 5/8 oz), they all have double willow blade, finest silicone skirt and come in 6 great colours. You can work it as every other spinnerbait out there, but these are finesse lures. They are smaller in profile and more subtle than your average spinnerbait and it will be great for early spring bass fishing, as well as for those heavy hot summer days. Mark my words!


Salmo trutta

Bozic _ Pastrva 11.5kg 023

(photo by Danijel Šnajdar)

On 26.12.2013. I saw brown trout 91 cm long and over 11 kilos (that´s 36 inches and more than 25 lb, my friends!) caught for restocking in Lokvarsko lake in Gorski Kotar, Croatia. December 26th is St. Stephens holiday in Croatia, so we conveniently named it Steffi. I saw big fish before, but none of them made me so intrigued like Steffi did. So, after this monster fish from Lokvarsko lake I made an effort and investigated Salmo Trutta family. Internet is deficient with informations and facts regarding brown trout that lives in lakes. Some informations are misguiding, brown trout is often confused with lake char and that´s why I wrote this text.


Salmo trutta comes in 3 formes:

Salmo trutta m. fario

Salmo trutta m. lacustris

Salmo trutta m. trutta

Salmo trutta m. fario is common form of brown torut who lives in cold well oxygened streams and rivers in upper parts of Croatia. In good conditions it can reach 70-80 cm and 6-7 kilos. I was so fortunate I saw some old photos from river Una in Bosnia and Herzegovina with fishes over 1 meter long, weighting over 10 kilos. Of course fish that big are rare, those up to half a meter are much more common.


Salmo trutta m. trutta is a sea trout. It is rare in Adriatic sea, i found an information that first is caught in 1879. near Split and after that it is rarely mentioned. In cold seas of north Europe is more can reach up to 1,4 meter and weight up to 20 kilos. It lives ina sea, but it spawns in rivers and when it reaches 15-20 cm, it migrates to sea. Interesting fact is that not all fish migrate to sea, but only 75% of them. When it becomes ready for spawning, sea trout comes back to the river where she hatched. When in river, she loses silver pigment and becomes brown.


Salmo trutta m. lacustris is a form of a brown trout that lives in lakes and because of it this text occurred. Lake form of a brown trout is a brown trout adapted to life in lake. Sounds stupid in english, I know. It differs from m. fario form morphologicly and it´s another phenotype. Lacustris form grows much larger than fario, for an example. Biggest recorded in Croatia was 25,5 kilos and 124 centimeters. Guess where? Well, in Lokvarsko lake, of course. It was caught in 1968., while lake was deflated due to repair of a dam.


So, when we in Croatia talk about lake trout, we don´t talk about chars. Hell, no. We talk about big browns. We talk about Salmo trutta m. lacustris. It grows much faster than m. fario, and it can reach more than 25 kilos and more than 120 centimeters. It spends all it´s life in a lake and spawns in stream mouths, or stream itself. It´s silvery fish, who after some time spent in a lake loses red dots and only black ones stay. After some time more,dots turn to irregular freckles. Ferox trout is rather similar to croatian lake trout. Oldest one recorded was 23 years old. Fish caught in 1968. In Lokvarsko lake was around 16 years. Let me remind you, she weighted over 25 kilos. Those between 10 and 25 kilos was 60 or 70. Considering that, I have no reason to doubt that Lokvarsko lake has fish around, or over 30 kilos.






On a november 26th 2013 we decided to make a fishing trip to Mrzla Vodica lake. We were after some pike. Around 9 AM we were on dam. Rain is falling, wind is blowing, perfect conditions! Robert and I are all hyped. 6 hours later, we´re still on a dam. Fishless. We were about to give it up when our buddy Danijel called. He is coming, he and some other fellows have labor action on Lokvarsko lake. Since nothing happened in 6 hours, I ask him can we join. An hour later, everything is ready. Danijel is looking us and dead serious saying: ´Guys, today you might see something what you have never seen before and only God knows will you ever again´. Robert and I just looked at each other without saying anything. You never know with Danijel is he serious, or joking.


Next minute we are jumping off a truck, Danijel puts aggregate on his shoulders, Vanja is on ´needle´and adventure begins. Rest of us are behind two of them with buckets and landing nets. First few hundred meters current stuns small chub here and there. Then Vanja sticked a needle in a hole under the tree and giant trout showed at a surface. Suddenly, everyone is jumping and screaming! The moment when it landed in a landing net, screaming became even louder.

We caught almost 1 meter long fish in a small stream, unbelievable!

Kristijan and I fill water in a vat and put this giant fish in it. It is so big it has to be diagonally in vat. I can´t believe my eyes how big it is. It looks more as a grass carp than as a brown trout.

We caught 16 fish total and we are going to fish farm to get the eggs out. To spawn it. Mr Boro will do it, he´s been doing it for a long time now. He is separating males from females first. Then he´milks´ females, and after that males. Females are much bigger as i can see now. While he does that, guys weigh that big fish. Meter shows 91 cm, and digital scale 11,5 kg. Yeah, that´s right. 91 cm and 11,5 kg! We get it back in a pool, trout looks tired, it turns on a side if nobody9 s holding her, but half an hour later, everything is ok. It swims on it´s own. Spawning is over and now we take 6-7 beautiful males caught last weekend back to Lokvarsko lake. They did what they had to do, it´s time to release them now. One of them, around 60 cm long fish, is a really wild one! I can´t imgine what it would be like to hook him. That would be a rodeo!


While Robbie and I drive home, movie from today is spinning in my head. I keep thinking about Danijel´s words…
We saw something we have never seen before and it´s a big question will we ever again.




Bozic-_-Pastrva-11Bozic _ Pastrva 11.5kg 195_MG_6019

PS It´s a first time in my life I gave name to a fish. I named it Steffi. If you ever come to Lokvarsko lake, or any lake with trouts that size, and if you´re so lucky to catch a trout as big as Steffi, pay her respect. That are old ladies. They are grannies and great-grannies, so be nice. Handle it with great care, take a few photos and release it. They deserve it.

Wool socks time


Text and photo by Zlatan Starcevic;

-Pub first-

Boring autumn rain push us to a pub. First agreements about opening season at huchen are made here. We screw one another and lie each other heavier than that rain that is pouring outside. We hunt for huchen on Krivaja river, biggest affluent of Bosna river. It just to be rich with huchen, or danube salmon, as you wish, and its main prey- grayling. Fish caught in 70´s and 80´s were as big as those caught in Drina, or Una river. But illegal hunt made permanent damage. This noble species is cut down to a minimum these days. One needs to be so lucky to meet the queen.


-Autumn hunt-

It´s 4 in the morning. We pack our gear in a car while couples in love come out from a disco and look at us. That guys already caught what they came for. It is custom to drink a coffee and have a cigarette when we come on a mountain. We agree on strategy till dawn. A strategy our national football team manager would be jealous of. Where to cast a cof*, how to fish with wobbler, where to set a bullhead… Piece of cake…

M-(3)-Edit-2M-(2)(1)-Edit Huchen likes to lay in a rapids with first light. Behind the rock in the dark side. In the shadow. I imitate ninja while I am picking cover at a top of a rapids and looking is there fish for me today. Pack of large minnows comes into a rapids and settles there. I cast sinking Ugly duckling over them and start to pull it slowly. Rapids catches it and spits it on the other side. I am not retrieving it any more, I stop and wait till it sinks down at the gravel. One turn of a reel, and BAM! When huchen hits the lure, she hits it properly. In a morning hunt like this, it´s almost every time on a first cast. Yes, first. Later during the day those thousand huchen hunters are talking about come. When it starts to pump and shake head like a mad dog, I know I am dealing with a nice fish. If it starts to curl, it´s only a princess.

-Winter hunt-

Winter quarter. Schools of nases and danubian roaches swim upstream. Danube roach is in the middle layer, nase on the bottom. They swim to rocks upstream that still holds some vegetation. This is the time huchen is on a hunt again. When huchen attacks a prey, she does it fast and efficient. She swims fast, then dives behind the victim and makes halfturn, fast as a lightning and grabs a fish from a head. Here, at an end of a winter quarter I wait for her when the sun is in its zenith. I visit shallow rapids as well, for, in this holiday season, danube salmon wanders places like this looking for mate for spawning. When they find each other, they stay together till spawning time…DSCF0561-Edit-Edit -Back to pub-

Legends originate back in pub. We spread hands, we demonstrate how we hooked a fish and we curse fallen ones. In a pub huchen becomes a monster from B movies, and the biggest one will get what she deserves sooner, or later…