The lone fisherman Sir Timothy Wajvoda made a picturesque scene as he is silhouetted by the setting sun on a quite Saturday afternoon in the outskirts of a marsh in southern Bangladesh.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bosnia Territory

Bosnia Territory Travel Summary 

Just a mile outside the country limits of Bosnia, I am in dirty jeans and a soiled gray sweatshirt standing on an overpass looking down on the Croatia/Bosnia border. It was an early November morning, the sun just becoming visible in the East, and I rubbed my hands and wrists together in an attempt to alleviate the chill in my newly healed wrist bones. Eighteen wheelers were starting to fly by in both directions. Trucks headed east went on into Croatia, from Bosnia. The river that leads to the Adriatic Sea travels through Croatia and maybe all the way to Hungry or Romania. Possibly it keeps flowing east over to my fishing spot. Might take this river and go straight on to Jablanica. I should arrive there by mid-afternoon.

     I decided to follow the westbound river. There just seemed to be fewer options that way. Other boats and locals heading west had kept me for decent stops to tell the tales of the Neretva River. I had never gone this far west into Bosnia before. It was years before at the age of 26 when I last visited this Bosnian river system. That had been nice. I remember how I went north up into the Neretva Valley for big game hunting. Even though there weren't any mountains along the river, I could still feel the climbing into higher altitude. I hadn't thought of there being a higher kind of flat than this.

     I made it to Jablanica and I started walking with the head elder of the town down along the river, his voice rose whenever he told the horrific tales of the Neretva River. He knew that fishermen had used meth to stay awake on long fishing journeys. Recycled meth wasn't as pure a dose, but a batch of good meth still gets them five hours of awake fishing.

Neretva River Bridge
 I continued walking, thinking that this is for sure the reason that there are dangers on the fishing trips. He shoved his hands onto my head to bless me with luck, but I kept thinking about the meth in his stories, causing the fishermen to dissapear. I also wondered what the beast looked like, if there was one at all. Probably another giant monster, and at that point, I suppose I kind of thought it could be a fish doing this. I left the Jablanica with only a week left in my trip, in less than a day I should be after the monster in its home waters. 

     I had gone a long distance with a couple local folks in a beat up boat, which was in a terrible condition. We made it to the Neretva River and the popular fishing grounds where fisherman couldn't be seen anymore. I would administer a drug test if I could, knowing my companions were drugged up. They were fools. So was I for trusting their drug-tainted knowledge of the river. I knew this could end badly.

My old boat on the Neretva River

     The weather was becoming more acute, I contemplated crossing the river to search the other side for stable waters. I thought about the dynamics of moving to a new spot with this crap boat, it could not make it. Would I really catch or see a mutant fish in these waters? The severity of waves separated shore from my boat and we started traveling eastbound even though we were supposed to be westbound.

     He was wondering if the fish will still find and take the bait or would it stop in the median when he caught sight of the bait knowing it could get taken down the river from the current. The unthinkable happened. A golden color was nearly concealed by the dramatic waves surrounding it. It slid down to the and picked at it until it snagged. It wasn't getting away now. I wondered if that mattered. With thoughts of separation from the boat and death I started my battle against the beast. It twisted and fought the line and I was wishing there was some way to know if it would drag me in. I didn't think it could.

With a harsh pull on my line and the boat rocking from the brutality of the waves, I was taken out of my boat and forced into the river. My companions, high on meth, did not do anything as the boat capsized. I then was determined to still real in this mutated freak of nature. I was reeling it in while it dragged and towed me down the river. I fought for my breath so that I can beat this creature and not drown. An hour of back and forth fighting lead to me get caught on a fallen tree. This was my time to counter the beast and reel it all the way in.
Stuck on the tree and fighting against the monster, I devised a pulling system using the branches and my line. I used my entire body weight to pull in the fish. I see its massive size and I was left breathless. 

Giant Bosnia Neretva Cat Fish (Female)

This fish was well over 136 kilograms. 

As it turned out, the combination of meth and the size of the fish resulted in the death of so many meth-head fishermen. I now know that Bosnian rivers contain some terrible beasts that should be left alone. If it were not for my amazing angling abilities, I would have certainly died that day.

With a mutant fish in my boat and a five hour journey back to my base, I had only a day to spare before my flight left. I caught a true monster and I will always remember my second trip to Bosnia. 

Glorious Bosnian Sunset
 On to my next fishing adventure!

To my fans and supporters

“Fish On! “ ~ Your Friend Sir Timothy Wajvoda

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