13 November, 2023 |0 Comments
Steve Coe: Lake Zajarki – 60 Carp to 60lb-Plus!
When it comes to European carp fishing trips, Croatia’s Lake Zajarki is right up at the top of the list for carp anglers to visit thanks to its stock of carp to 100lb (and perhaps over!). Dynamite videographer Steve Coe recently visited the super water to put some new bait to the test and boy, did he deliver the goods…
Back in 2021, I was lucky enough to get an invite to fish “Lake Zajarki” out in Croatia. Previously to this, I, like many others, had only ventured to France for a European fishing trip and had no idea what to expect. I was told I’d catch carp, but bigger… and lots of them!
The 2021 trip turned out to be a success and I slipped the net under lots of fish including multiple 50s and 60s which were all topped off with a monumental specimen of 76lb. I came away from that trip having learnt loads and was gagging to get back at the first opportunity.
Two years later, I was heading back out to Croatia and this time with more knowledge, more tackle, more rigs and more bait than ever before! Upon arrival at the lake I was greeted to the sight of countless carp jumping all over the place and this only further wet my appetite.
After the draw I headed around to peg 14. This was one of the favoured pegs on the lake and I could not wait to get some rods out into the pond!
Ahead of a week’s fishing there was a lot of kit to sort out and set up as is normally the case on these long overseas trips. However, I couldn’t help myself and I headed straight for my solid bag bucket, where over previous weeks I had been busy tying up countless bags in anticipation for the trip.
Without hesitation, I launched three solid bags out at range and began to set up. This ended up being a bad idea as before I had even put one bivvy peg into the ground the first rod was away.
Playing the first fish of the session on a lake that holds so may big carp, you just never know what is going to be on the end. In this case I eased myself in gently… very gently as the first fish of the session turned out to be a very small carp at about 5lb!
The two remaining rods soon rattled off at the same time though just moments after slipping the “beast” back. This resulted in a mid-40 and a low 50 and was a lot more like what I was expecting. Rest assured, the rods then stayed in until everything was set up! But if felt good to be off the mark and the ball was rolling.
Solid bags were never going to be the end game and with so many big carp swimming about, I soon realised that fishing over bait, and lots of bait was to be the order of the day.
Off the back of the previous session, I didn’t want to change too much as it had clearly worked so I went in with an almost identical mix consisting of 15mm & 18mm CompleX-T boilies, matching 6mm and 8mm pellets along with Frenzied Jumbo and mini Tiger Nuts.
After knocking up a couple of buckets, I got to work with the Spomb. It wasn’t easy as I was fishing around 140m (37 wraps) but this is the type of fishing that I really enjoy. For me, spanking the clip at that distance and the Spomb going straight down the “rabbit hole” was a huge buzz in itself!
That afternoon was spent entirely Spombing as I wanted to ensure that the spot was established and there was plenty of bait out there.
When it came to rigs and set up, I favoured my helicopter set-up with Carp Spirit Lead Free Leader – a product that I had a lot of confidence in, and for the rig an 11-inch-long D rig mage from 32lb Opti-Mex and a size 4 Carp Spirit stiff rig hook. The whole set up was almost identical to what I use in the U.K.
By the end of the first “half day” I finished up on 6 fish which had far so surpassed my expectations, and I knew it was only going to get better! I didn’t fish the nights either as the days were crazy and the fish tend to move off around the lake after dark. The rods were wound in and a good night sleep was had.
On Monday morning, I woke up just before first light and got all three rods out onto the spot followed by the usual bait over the top. “Ringing the diner bell” was so important and every morning, 4-6 Spombs in you would receive your first bite and this was the case every single morning.
The fishing was ridiculous until 1pm every single day. If you were putting bait over the top, rods were ripping off. After a few days there was a proper routine and it was just a case of hitting repeat.
Around half way through the week, I had a lot of fish under my belt but no real big carp to show for my efforts. To remedy this, I started to play around with rigs and hookbaits and switched over to one of my new favourite flavours in the form of a 26mm Hot Crab & Krill boilie.
I had never used a hookbait this big before but I knew it would help to target the bigger fish feeding on the spot. This small change paid off straight away with a bigger average size being landed – including a 64lb 7oz beast!
By the last morning of the trip I had landed 58 carp, which meant there was only one thing to do, catch two more carp! Out came the solid bags and we finished just how we started with a brace of 40-pounders on single solids at range.
Overall my final fish tally was:
Roll on next year’s trip!