Foto: Tue Rasmussen, Malthe Ryge, Jesper Nielsen, Bo Rasmussen, Filip Mirković and Rasmus Juel Ditlefsen
On the ridge behind me is a herd with bells, which can be heard from a distance and in front of me on the hillside is a shepherd with his sheeps. A farmer is moving hay for the winter from the meadow and it is as if I am now in a time loop, where all is going slowly.
The only thing which is running fast is the river, which stream I can feel around my waders. I have Filip Mirković, my guide at my side. We are silent and we can see a big European grayling in a shoal with approximately 50 fish. They are not shy and the shoal is staying two meters away from us and all the way to the riverbank, where a hanging tree provides a hiding place for precisely that fish, which I want to catch. This fish is the biggest one in a shoal.
Suddenly Fillip shouts “NOW Ras, he is eating again, give it your best cast” and I send a little size 24 Pheasant Tail two meters from the tree and approximately a half meter from the fish moving light a fishing rod , so that a nymph is coming near to the fish head. I see the fish moving while it opens and closes its mouth. “NOW” shouts Fillip and I lift the rod lightly. The fish is hugged and is moving at once to the hanging tree , with branches hanging above the river. By instinct I use a side press on the fish, which is moving into the river , where a nerve tricking fight between water plants begins . With a 0,10 mm tip is it the fish leading the struggle in the beginning and we only can follow it. Two times it swims in the porridge, but Fillip knows that we can get it free. In the end helps Fillip to catch my biggest grayling until now - 49 cm long and my jubii shout is heard long away the river.
I sit on the brink for a while, just to come to myself and as told by Eckhart Trolle I feel the power of the present, while the sun's position in the sky shows that evening time is near.
Fillip says “Now it's time for your brown trout Ras, follow me downstream and I will show you one of my favorite places' '. We are going maybe 1 km down the stream and take position on the brink, he is pointing at 4 beautiful brown trout between 45 and 55 cm long. I begin to pull the line , but Fillip says that we have to wait a little more time because they are not eating.
They begin to eat in approximately half an hour. In this time he is binding a 0,12 tip on, so that it is possible to achieve more in a fight. And he is right, they begin to eat floating insects after 25 minutes . I am lucky and after only a few casts I have a 55 cm long brown trout which has hoocket itself during its moving. But it is swimming in the porridge at once and is shaking its head with a loose line as a result. I was really in a BAD mood after that, after I could catch the fish of my dreams - and it was only for a few seconds. But I am lucky, other fish are not frightened. After a few minutes a new brown trout is on my nymph and all is perfect. This fight was not dramatical and Filip takes my fish up with a net - my first beautiful brown trout 48-49 cm is now real. I was too excited to have more experiences after that, because I got two dreamfish and I stopped fishing that day.
The most important thing on the trip for me was to catch a grayling longer than 40 cm with a nymph. I want to point out that by our arrival we were informed that the river was extremely low and that 10 fishers (without a guide) could not catch any fish the day before. And it was more challenging because fishing with a nymph is new for me and especially a method and a kind of gear are unknown to me, that is why my expectation was not very high. But during the first two hours with the guide I could catch 6 graylings above 40 cm. My conclusion is that it is better to use a guide , also in case you are a very experienced angler and were successful fishing graylings in Scandinavia.
Brown trout are big - REALLY BIG, and the first I got was a fish approximately 5,5 kg. Every day in Ribnik town we could see a huge fish under the bridge , not less than 7 kg, but there are many fish bigger than that in the river and trout above 10 kg do exist.
Filips biggest fish is 84 cm long and is catched with a class 3 fishing rod, it was a wild fight.
We were a little group of experienced trout and grayling fishers, except me, I was a new beginner. Despite that other anglers could catch many big and fine graylings in for example Glomma, was I the one who had a mostly PR on this tour. Generally you can catch many graylings in Glomma, but if you can go on sight fishing and choose the largest , then it is a fantastic possibility to catch your personal record and is more exciting. Our catch was graylings up to 51,5 cm and brown trout up to 55 cm. On the best evening fishing I caught two brown trout 38 and 41 cm and missed 4 fish between 48 and 60 cm, plus I got 3 others ( the biggest one was 5,5 kg). I had 9 exciting trout-moments during 3 hours of fishing , which was really first class fishing.
On this trip I used a class 4 Dreamcatcher fishing rod from Spey, and 0,10 tip for graylings and 0,12 tip for trout. I had some nymphs with me, but Filip was not satisfied with them. They were salmon flies after his opinion and he helped me to fill my fly box with his homemade flies size 22 and 24 for 100 Euro. There were both flies and nymphs and I could use only approximately ¼ of them, so the price was a very good one.
Fishing clothes from Geoff Anderson were very useful in Bosnien. I was comfortable in WizWool 210 trousers and pullover and Coozy socks on my feet. I had my Roxxo and ZipZone fishing trousers in my luggage. ZipZone trousers are different from usual trousers because of detachable legs, you can zip them off if it is too warm for long trousers. And an Organic Tee t-shirt is perfect, when it is hot, but too light if the temperature is not so high, then a jacket like Hoody or Ezmar Hoodie are a perfect choice.
We rented fishing cabins, which are high above the usual standard and from the terrace of the cabin we could fish both graylings and brown trout. The Cabin has a living room , kitchen, bathroom and two rooms. There is enough space for 5 people in a cabin.They were the most clean fishing cabins I have used before.
The Ribnik river in Bosnia is 5,6 kilometers long. It is not a melt water river from the near mountains but a spring water river and has a constant water temperature of 7-8 degrees.
There are approximately 80% graylings and 20% brown trout. Thanks to a constant temperature the river has a rich biodiversity and a high biomass of the water insects. The river is crystal clear and there are many fish between water plants. Generally the valley has a fantastic biodiversity and there are white-throated dippers, kingfishers, snakes, alpine bullhead, otter and others.
It is without any doubt the cheapest fishing trip in my life , when I think about extraordinary fishing and nature. The most expensive dish at the restaurant in the town does cost 12 euro, and I think that there were 750 DKK for breakfast, supper and dinner.
When I arrived I bought a case of beer, a case of water and 2 liters of Coca Cola - all for 20 euro. Service was very high, we were picked up and brought to the airport, we could plan our days after our wish. If somebody wanted to be in the cabin for a nap during the day, then we were helped with that. If we wanted pizza and cold soda by the river, then our guides helped with this too. If the line was braided by the cast, then one of the guides helped us immediately , before we could begin to do something ourselves. I have been fishing in many places around the world, but never have experienced such a service.
These trips are convenient for skilled fishers and for new beginners like me, because you can set a difficulty fishing level yourself and all fishers on our trip were challenged in cast, fights and catch.
If you think that it is something for you, then you can check prices on www.ribnikflyfish.com. Cabin owners have fishing licenses, so all fishing with or without guide /cabin/fishing card is going through them.
By Rasmus Juel Ditlefsen
Malthe with a fish on the hook in Ribnik.
Rasmus with a beautiful brown trout catched with a fly from Bosnia.
Crystal clear water in Ribnik river in Bosnia.
The catch is admired before setting back in water.
A grayling in Bosnia from the Ribnik river.
Grayling on the fly.
Malthe shows the characteristic long dorsal fin of the grayling.
Rasmus with a grayling catched with a fly.