Story of the Mounted Chub - Antun Mateš: The enchanted angler

Story of the Mounted Chub

Very effective system for mounting chubs, created from the tools of Leo Wolf that I inherited; for many years, this was my favorite way of fishing for huchen.

One snowy winter, I was driving up a difficult path on the slopes of Mt. Bijelnik, with my Citroen barely climbing up in first gear. I was waiting for the barrier to be raised after an express Zagreb-Split train had passed at a railway crossing near Kostajnica on the faous Una Line. I drank a little tea from my Thermos and thought about the day ahead, what, how and where to fish. Of course, to fish with a mounted fish you need to catch a fresh chub, so I decided to fish on the streams that were not iced over. It was just this kind of stream that was flowing through the village of Unčani. The stream created a deep pool under the red roots of a willow tree that, at their ends, resembled a horse's mane. I used my foot to direct the fish into a special triangular net and was thus able to supply myself with small fish. Then I went to visit a friend who ran a TV repair shop in the centre of Dvor, just opposite a cafe where we would warn waiter Smajo many times as to what kind of coffee should be made before a fishing trip. Usually, these preparations, both catching the bait and talking and drinking coffee, would take all morning, so little time would be left for huchen fishing, at dusk, the best time of all.

So we ate, and I tried to avoid looking at the wall mural, and then we headed off, at my insistence, towards the lower course of the Una. On the way, we talked about a friend's experience of fishing with a small ABU patent with three triple hooks, saying that he could only catch smaller, five-year old huchen, just the right size to eat with friends. I said that I preferred to catch the big ones, the ten-year olds, and that the meat was of no interest to me, but a stuffed trophy was. And so, joking as we went, we arrived at Uštica on the right, Bosnian bank. I lit a fire and began roasting a piece of bacon that I had planned to wash down with an excellent Dingač red wine, when my friend proudly returned from under the bridge carrying a 3–4 kg huchen that he had hooked on his first throw, on a small ABU patent. So, he said, I catch these small, but tasty huchen, with a triumphant smile. All right, now I'm going to go and catch one of those big mamas that I like to catch, I threw back at him, in the same joking tone. And while he proudly congratulated himself on his catch and warmed his frozen hands at the fire, I mounted a chub and threw it right in the middle of the Una, at about 45 degrees upstream. Just as the chub touched the bottom and I started reeling, a 100 cm and 10 kg huchen took the bait. I calmly and leisurely reeled it in, as though this was a rule, and then honored myself with a glass of Dingač.

My son Lovro, here five years old, always joyfully awaited my arrival after my usually successful winter fishing trips to the Una in 1981.

A 15 kg huchen, caught in one of the beautiful, warm days of early autumn.

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