by Karel Křivanec
Between 1st and 7th July 2019, the 25th European Fly Fishing Championship was held in Montenegro. The following competitors qualified into the Czech team: Antonín Pešek (fishing captain), Miloslav Hosenseidl, Luboš Roza, Lukáš Starýchfojtů and Roman Heimlich, but he had to be substituted by Petr Červenka, at the last moment, as Roman’s daughter started having problems after her birth and he decided to stay at home with his family. The Czech team had a week for on site preparation and during this time the competitors should have seen and tried all competition sectors. This year’s championship was exceptional also by the number of teams – twenty team took part in it.
The organizers marked Sector 1 near the village of Gusinje lying on a small Ljuča River which flows from the Prokletie mountain range and it is a river with very cold and crystal clear water whose temperature does not reach higher than 8 Celsius degrees. The meandering flow, 10 – 20 m wide and about 0.5 m deep, is known for grayling, brown trout and sometimes huchen. I have to remind that the minimum fish size was set for 20 cm and it was allowed to fish with one fly only and this applied for all Championship’s sectors.
The Plav Lake was chosen as the Sector 2 at the village with the same name, which was also the centre of the entire event. Relatively large glacier lake with very clean water is fed by the Ljuča River and there are many stones on its bottom. The lake is located in the altitude of 907 m above sea level and I guess its size to about 200 hectares. The lake was made in limestone caverns and its maximum depth is 9m and in its waters you can find the biggest treasure of local fishermen, which is called Black Sea Trout (Salmo Trutta labrax).
This trout occurs in the area of the Black Sea in the countries of the Balkan Peninsula, Ukraine, Russia, the Caucasus and Turkey. Only very little is known about this salmonid species. It is known that it has three forms. A migrating form, which reminds of the sea trout or salmon, then there is a lake form and a river form. Despite the Plav Lake is near the Adriatic Sea, its waters flows through the Lim, Drina and Sava rivers to the North into the Danube River to Beograd and from here it flows into the Black Sea.
It seems that in the Plav Lake, there is non-migratory form of the Black Sea trout in a relatively large number and in all sizes up to the fish reaching 80cm. From the brown trout it differs with its silver body with large black stains, absence of red stains on the body and cut out tail fin. The spawning time in the entire territory is from October to January and the local trout spawns in the river near the village of Gusinje.
Besides the Black Sea trout, also pike and chub are abundant in the lake. Chub is mercilessly decimated by the local trout as well as other fish species which get here from the Ljuča River. The lake was divided by the organizers into two parts, one was marked for training and the second for the competition and the boats with electric motor were used for the competition.
The river flowing from the lake is called the Lim River and three sectors were marked on it, where grayling, brown trout, rainbow trout, chub, nase and huchen occur there. The Sector 3 was located near the Plav Lake, the flow was about 20m wide and the depth ranging between 0.5 -1 m. The Sector 4 near the village Andrijevica was characteristic with wild and deep streams with flow width 30 – 40 m and the Sector 5 was located just upstream of the little town of Berane and it was up to 50 m wide and it was visible that fishing is here more frequent than in other sectors.
It is interesting to mention that the human population here is very ethnically mixed, when near the Sector 1 in the village of Gusinje the population is created by 43% Bosnians, 41% Albanians and only 2% Montenegrins. Similar population is in the village of Plav, where 74% Bosnians and only 4% Montenegrins live. Near the village of Andrejevica, Serbians prevail with 62% and 32% Montenegrins and only in Berane Montenegrins prevailed with 26% and there were 17% Bosnians. After this analysis we can say that Bosnians are more domestic here and so the international supervisors should have been used more for competitors from Bosnia than from Montenegro, but this is a permanent Balkan problem.
We can say the most often fish species were grayling which is a trouble-free fish of this Championship. Another river species was brown trout and under the lake it was rainbow trout and chub which is quite abundant in the size smaller than the minimum eligible size. There were only a few individuals over 20cm and therefore it depended on controllers and their measuring. The Czech tactics on the rivers was based on the fact whether graylings were taking flies from the surface, they used duns in size 16 – 18 in three colour options at the end of the Stroft tippet 0.09 mm and if the fish was not seen, they were fishing with green weighted nymphs in size 12 or less weighted green nymphs size 18 and fluorocarbon tippet (HC) of the diameter 0.10 mm.
In the Sector 1, the team of Slovenia won with the sum of placings 14, the Czechs were on the second place (23), Spain (31) was third, Poland (33) fourth, Portugal (34) fifth, France (35) sixth, Slovakia (42) seventh and Bosnia-Herzegovina (42) on the eighth place. Federico Santi Amanti from Italy recorded the highest number of fish (29) in the third round. From the Czech team the best performance reached Luboš Roza (19 fish) in the first round and Antonín Pešek (13 fish) in the second round, both finished on the third place in their sectors.
The most difficult sector was the Plav Lake, however, there were no doubts about the number of catches as you were fishing there in couples with a common controller. Czech tactics after preparation was clear, they were fishing with black streamers in places around edges where the lake bottom was falling deep. In crystal clear water you could see as much as 4-5 m deep.
In the first round on the Plav Lake, altogether 14 fish was caught and 11 competitors were blank. David Porter from Ireland won with 3 catches. Miloslav Hosenseidl from the Czech Republic caught a lake trout 375 mm at the start and then he lost a pike in the grass in the shallow water and then he had a lake trout around 55 cm on the rod, but it was shaking with the head until it released from the hook. Then the boat sailed to the opposite bank and he lost 3 fish there. After the competition he assumed that he used too much sinking line (7), which might have been the reason that the fish released. His only catch brought him the seventh place in the group.
In the afternoon’s round we could meet experienced Luboš Roza started with silver Christmas tree like Humungus from the very beginning. He used the sinking line #5 and fluorocarbon leader of the length of 5 m and diameter 0.22 mm (HC). Luboš, who was in the boat with Manuel Pedroso from Portugal, used advice to stop the boat and cast against the sun due to the fact that the shade of the boat is well seen in the transparent clean water. After the third cast he had a take and in a while he had the first Black Sea trout 28 cm long. Luboš calmed down and continued in long casts against the sun and while he hangs the fly under the boat, he got a hit into the rod which he almost broke against the side of the boat and after a quarter of an hour he had a beautiful lake trout 68 cm long in the landing net.
And then two other lake trouts in the length of 45 cm a 55 cm followed. On a calm lake surface other boats started getting close to Luboš’ boat and he rather got a bit further to be alone and immediately after then he caught another lake trout 50 cm long and after that he got such a fast and strong take that the fish broke the victorious fly and he had no other similar one. He had to use a Black Leech with which he got one more lake trout 40 cm. Suddenly the sun hid behind the mountain and small ripples showed on the lake and in the darkness he lost more fish. Together he had 11 takes which he turned into six fish and this was the highest number of fish from the Plav Lake and of course, the first place in the group. His partner in the boat was blank, altogether 15 fish was caught in this round and 12 competitors were blank.
The third round brought only 10 fish and 14 teams were blank. The Czech team was represented by fishing Antonín Pešek, who had two takes and under the surface he caught a small Black Sea trout and he lost one fish. Michal Drinan (3 fish) from Ireland won the group and on the second place was Saku Nieminen (3 pcs) from Finland and then there were 4 competitors with one fish.
Jean-Guilleume Mathieu from France won the fourth round with three fish (max. 570 mm) and the second was Petr Červenka from the Czech Republic with 3 lake trouts as well (max. 535 mm). Petr started to fish at the time when it was still foggy and he lost the first fish on the Black Leech and he caught two lake trouts with them. The fog disappeared, the water surface was calm and Petr started with Humung and managed to fish with it for 30 minutes without a take and then he got back to the Black Leech and had two other takes and caught the third lake trout. Altogether in this round, 16 fish was caught and 10 teams remained blank.
The final round on the lake brought 16 fish and also there one half of competitors remained blank. The final round won Morgan Bertuzzi from Italy with 4 fish (554 mm) and the same number caught Maciej Korzeniowski (Poland) on the second place – 530 mm and the third Jure Osolin from Slovenia who could take pride of a catch of a meter-long pike, which was the longest catch of the Championship. Lukáš Starýchfojtů from the Czech Republic borrowed a reel with line from Luboš Roza, which he was using during his victorious fishing and 80 minutes he was fishing with the Humungus pattern. But Lukáš was without a take and for the rest of the time he used Black Leech with which he caught one lake trout (395 mm) and one fish he lost.
The Irish won deservedly on the lake with the sum of placing 19 and 9 fish, Czechs were on the second place with the sum of placings 21 and 12 fish, when both teams had no blank competitor. The third were Fins with the sum of placings 34/8 fish (once blank), fourth were the French (35/6 fish) with one blank scoring card, the fifth was Slovenia (41/5) – once blank. On the lake you could not only gain a lot, but also could lose a lot, which proves four teams with four blank competitors (Montenegro, Holland, Hungary, Portugal, England, Italy, Sweden) and two teams were completely blank (Belgium, Norway).
In the sector 3 on the Lim River downstream of the village of Plav, the top of the contest was very stuck. Again, Slovenia won with the same number of placings as the second was Bosnia-Herzegovina (29), the third was the Czech Republic with the same number of placings as the fourth France (30), fifth were the Poles (36) and the sixth were the Spanish (38). The best result in the sector had in the first round Maciej Korzeniowski from Poland, who had 35 catches, which was the maximum performance in the number of fish of this Championship. A certain curiosity of this sector were the controllers, because there were several children of the school age among them. In the Czech Republic we keep to the rule that the controller can be a person who is older than 18 years of age. Despite this fact we can say that young controllers were doing a very good job.
At this sector needs to be said that beats were rotated after the half of the contest. Miloslav Hosenseidl who caught 24 fish and finished on the first place in the second round was the best fisherman from the Czech team in this sector. Out of this number, he caught 12 graylings with a dry dun in beat #1 and 12 other fish he caught with a small green nymph size 18 in beat #2 when the sun was hidden behind the mountain. In the third round, Luboš Roza finished there on the fourth place, in the first half he caught 9 graylings with dry duns and in the second half he was fishing in the strong stream, where he caught one grayling and there was a deep pool, where fish were swimming on its bottom. It took him a while before he came with the idea that he must be fishing static and on eyes with a small nymph at the bottom. When he saw that the fish swam to the place where he guessed his fly, he slightly stroke and this way he caught five roaches which were not mentioned in the rules to the Championship but they counted to his catch. In the fourth round, Antonín Pešek was second with 15 catches, he was fishing with heavy nymphs in pools and with small nymphs (18) so-called on eyes. In this round he was defeated only by Simon Kid, who won as the only one from the English team at this Championship.
Sector 4 near the village of Andrijevica was completely covered by competitors from Bosnia-Herzegovina, who won there with the sum of placings 12, second was Poland (30), third France (31), fourth Spain (32), 5th Slovenia (34), 6th Finland (42) and 7th was Italy along with the Czechs (49). From the Czech competitors the best in the first round on the third place Petr Červenka, who caught 19 fish, mostly smaller graylings and some brown trouts, which he got in shallow water with a small green nymph. In the last round, Antonín Pešek was the second here. Antonín was firstly fishing unproductively with a dry dun and he had to improvise with not previously tested dry sedges, which rewarded him with second place with 15 fish, the biggest grayling was 445 mm long and he had a big chub of the same size.
Unfortunately, in the fourth round, Luboš Roza, who was after two days on the continuous third place, was blank here and he lost his medal. Luboš tried here all his skills and he overcame even the very deep stream to be able to fish at the opposite bank, where nobody got before, but it was for nothing. Maybe also the night storm could have an effect on his result, because the water in the river was muddy. When I assessed the catch in individual beats in this sector in all five rounds, it proved that his beat was on the 18th place according to the number of catches. It was interesting that the sum of success rate of individual beats in fact corresponded with the placing of teams in this sector: Bosnia (29), Finland (33), Poland (39), France (42), Spain (57), Czech Republic (61) and Slovenia (63). Altogether 447 fish was caught there and the average is 4.47 fish per competitor.
Finally, in the sector 5 near the town of Berane, the Czechs won with the sum of placings 18, second was Poland (28), third Bosnia-Herzegovina (31), fourth Finland (33) and then the teams with one zero followed, 5th Slovenia (42), 6th Spain (52) and 7th France (55). The best in this sector was Jean-Guilleume Mathieu (FR) in the second round. He was assigned beat #1 under the outflow from the hatchery and he caught 17 fish there. From the Czechs the best was in the second round Petr Červinka who finished on the second place with five catches, out of this 4 fish on a nymph and one with a dry sedge, in the third round Lukáš Starýchfojtů was fourth with 4 graylings on a small green nymph (18), in the fourth round Miloslav Hosenseidl was third with 4 catches (2 graylings and 2 trouts), when he caught about twenty chubs which were under the minimum size. And finally in the last round, Luboš Roza cheered up when he won with 5 catches, when he caught two graylings on a nymph and one with a dry fly and then he hand many small chubs, when one was 20 cm and finally also a nice grayling (431mm) which did not take the dry dun, but changed its mind on a wet beetle.
The European Champions at the Championship in Montenegro were finally representatives of the Czech Republic with the sum of placings 143 and 199 catches and this happened for the sixth time in the last nine years. The Czechs showed that they able to win in the situation when the most decisive method of fishing is a dry fly which they are able to combine with nymphing. In this case the most decisive influence was error-free performance in crystal clear waters of the Plav Lake, even if they had one blank score on the river. On the second place finished the team of Slovenia (159/ 194 fish), which got the European trophy in 2006 in domestic waters (Bohinj). We can say that they were sent to the second place by one zero on the river and one on the lake.
A surprise was the third place of competitors from Bosnia-Herzegovina (178/ 189 fish), who had two zeros on the lake. On the fourth place finished Poland (182/ 199 fish), which had the same number of catches as the Czechs, but two zeros on the lake and the first five teams were completed by France (184/ 194 fish) with one zero on the lake and one on the river. Between the teams on the third to the fifth place there was a very small difference. Other places were as follows: 6th Spain (201/ 167), 7th Finland (209/ 128), 8th Ireland (271/92), 9th Slovakia (277/ 123), 10th Italy (288/134). A certain disappointment was the performance of the English (14th) and Scottish (15th) teams, when they had only one, respectively two catches on the lake and 16th were competitors from Montenegro.
In the individual competition, the absolutely best competitor was Jean-Guillame Mathieu from France when he won with the sum of placings 6 and 77 fish and his scoring was 1, 1, 2, 1 and 1. To reach such a performance you always need to be lucky in the draw. On the second place finished Michal Gresta (16/49) from Poland and on the third place finished his fellow companion from the team Maciej Korzeniowski (17/62). The fourth place took Rok Sparovec (18/51) from Slovenia, fifth Antonín Pešek (21/44) and the sixth place Ander Perez (22/45) from Spain. From other Czech competitors Miloslav Hosenseidl finished on the 9th place, 12th Luboš Roza, 16th Petr Červenka, who was continuously third after four rounds and the 19th place was occupied by Lukáš Starýchfojtů.
This Championship in Montenegro was set in beautiful nature, where all were fishing in crystal clear waters and these conditions were non-standard for most competitors. The organizers did all for valid competition including marking of beats. We can say there were no significant problems for which we can thank to Omar and Oki Bašič and also the Canovič family, where the Czechs were accommodated for their entire stay.