The fishing methods, which are particularly popular in Croatia, have crystallized by the biting behavior of the individual fish species and the unique environment at the Adriatic Sea. Among the most popular fishing methods in Croatia are speed jigging on the cliffs, tuna fishing on the boat, but also fishing on the beach in the morning hours.
From dorado to tuna, fishing in Croatia has it all. Only the right fishing equipment, the bait, patience and a portion of skill decide about the fishing luck. At the Croatian Rivierea countless schools of fish and single swimmers are in the surf, in the shallow water, behind the cliffs and in the deep sea. For each fish anglers have their tricks and successful fishing methods. To learn a few techniques for your next fishing vacation, here are 5 popular fishing methods in Croatia, which have already brought one or the other angler to his full satisfaction.
1. Spin fishing for bass and pike
In the rivers and lakes of Croatia there are countless perch and garfish. These are easily fished with bait fish and smaller scraps of food. Mostly trout lures with bait shreds on the hook are used for this purpose. plugs should be chosen 8 to 12 cm in size and in herring and mackerel colors – i.e. silvery/blue/black. With the right fishing methods and the right time of day at dawn and dusk, nothing stands in the way of a happy fishing trip.
2. Dorado fishing in the Croatian harbor
The dorado, or gilthead seabream, is one of the most sought-after fish on the Croatian coasts. We know them mainly from the menus of the restaurants on the Mediterranean Sea. The dorado is widespread in Croatian waters and on top of that tastes excellent. In the harbor of Vodice, for example, the chances that a gilthead will bite are very good. However one should consider a few tips. For targeted catches, relatively large fishing hooks, such as the 6 hook, are suitable. The reason is simple: the hook is just small enough for dorado to get into the mouth, but too big for small fish to bite that you don’t want to have on your hook.
You can outsmart the cunning dorados with a bottom lead assembly. The lead comes close behind the fishing hook, so that the bait ultimately lies quietly on the bottom. For dorado, sandworm particles, the firm flesh of mussels and tough pieces of squid serve as bait. The tough morsels are no problem for dorado thanks to their strong teeth, and other fish have a harder time stealing food. As soon as the dorado takes line, the fish is caught on the hook with a strong jerk. After a short fight the fish can be landed. Especially good places for dorado are wherever different sea currents meet. These conditions are mainly found in harbors and between islands. Afterwards it goes for the successful catch on the grill.
3. Fishing methods for early birds – seabream and mullet
The most undisturbed time of day for anglers are the early morning hours. It is worthwhile to strip on the beach with the float on coastal fishes. Bread is the best way to bait sea bream. Before fishing, a few breadcrumbs are thrown into the water to attract the fish and keep the fishing fun as short as possible. Locals tend to fish with the well-tried water ball, but everyone has their own preferences. With fine bread flakes and small pieces of dough fire bream do not let wait for a long time. Therefore three to four catches per hour are a good average. Ideal for the shy bites is a 0.16 or 0.18 leader. It is best to use fluorocarbon. For fire bream, fish hooks with size 12 or 15 are suitable. But don’t be surprised if a hungry mullet bites, because they certainly appreciate a good bite of bread.
4. Speed jigging on the cliffs of the Adriatic Sea
For predator fishing, shrewd anglers seek out the cliffs away from the busy swimming beaches. The advantage is to have the undisturbed peace and beauty of the coast for yourself. The best places for speed jigging with lighter pilks are precisely where the rugged coastal walls slope steeply down to the water. You should know that the Croatian predatory fish are very shy near the coast. That’s why you should use a long leader, ideally made of strong fluorocarbon. When it comes to artificial lures, anglers should mainly use jigs, small spoons and small pilkers. Speed jigging is especially successful with pilks, because:
- Pilks bridge large distances to the shore.
- The angler achieves a considerable speed with pilkers when fishing, which is decisive for success. Due to the higher weight than with plugs and spoons, several meters will be made quickly with the pilks submerged to several meters when retrieving, even in high waves.
- The bait is more easily pulled from the bottom to the surface. The jerky pull of the pilker to the water surface with the rod tip is the jumping point where predatory fish react and bite.
5. Fishing methods in Croatia for tuna fishing
The most sought-after target fish for big game fishing in summer and fall is clearly the bluefin tuna. While 30 to 60 kg specimens populate the Croatian coasts during the main season, small tuna are more likely to be hooked when trolling in spring. But not only bluefin tuna, but also blue sharks, thresher sharks and swordfish bite in the Mediterranean occasionally. In order to catch the bluefin tuna, which usually weigh 20 to 30 kg, the following general conditions serve as a guide:
- Start of the season: July
- Hotspot for big game fishing: Jezera (Dalmatia)
- Fishing methods: in ca. 200 meters deep water fishing from a drifting boat
Off the Croatian islands, dead sardines are cast on single hooks on the long fluorocarbon compartment in the drift bag. Then a food track with pieces of sardines behind the drifting ship serves to attract the tunas. If after a few hours no fish bites, one should extend the search to further kilometers. But once the reel hits, it’s off to the fighting chair and drill for all it’s worth. Such a bluefin tuna takes up well and truly 300 meters of fishing line. Then we pump hard until the shimmering blue tuna appears near the boat. After the fish is on deck, the hook can be directly re-stocked with sardine to take advantage of the favor of the hour. Because where a bluefin tuna lurks in the depths, the next calibers are not far away.
Tip for your next fishing trip
For those drawn to Croatia’s coastal shores for fishing, the easiest way to find out if fish are on site is to snorkel. Because in doing so, it’s easier to appreciate underwater structures and fish cavorting behavior. On top of that, it’s also just plain fun to watch the underwater world up close and personal. Caution is advised on the shores only because of a large population of sea urchins, whose spines make for unpleasant encounters.
In general, when it comes to fishing in any form, "Never give up!". Because with a lot of patience, at the end of the day a careless fish will bite. And it’s this moment of happiness that fuels the passion and propels us back to Croatia’s sparkling Adriatic the next morning.