Fishing from Luck not Judgement

We had guests this weekend at the Skalitsa Farmhouse, we had Galia’s eldest son Anton coming to stay with us and to be joined the next day with his girlfriend. The plan was to go fishing all together and have a fish Barbecue that same day in the evening.

Anton is a very handsome chap indeed, typical Bulgarian in every aspect I love the guy and like having him around. He is a talker and expert on everything but like so many other Bulgarians I am slowly realising that he is another Bulgarian maestro and the baggage that comes from this.

Today was Maria Day (Bulgarian Name Day) and the weekend break from work started off all so well as we arrived in Skalitsa. There was the non-stop talking from Anton and Galia for the whole 35 kilometres on this blazing hot Friday evening but that normal as I was now quite capable of contributing to the conversation in parts.

As we drove into Skalitsa is was the local shop that was the first point of call. Maria was there and it was Maria Day as we presented here with three flowers bought from Yambol. The shop was littered with flowers for Maria, all given by customers from their own Skalitsa farms and gardens except for our purchased bunch, which looked feeble against the fantastic array local flowers.

Onward to the farmhouse where we called met an Englishwoman here for three months who had just blown up the electric system. Anton of course was a maestro electrician but needed support as we took it upon ourselves to source other Bulgarian maestro neighbours. We found some spare parts and within the next half hour we had saved this woman a fortune in hiring cowboys and the massive chest freezer she had to the brim with food.

We finally got to our house and Galia spent the next two hours cleaning inside the house and Anton and I getting rid of all the expired tomato plants that had given as countless tomatoes over the last two months. The weekend break had started as we when to another neighbour who had a Maria living there for an all night session and bed at 2:00 in the morning after a night cap with Anton.

The next day was out fishing trip as we picked his girlfriend up from Skalitsa town centre at 7:30 in the morning. We were all here and the fishing gear put into the Lada and we were off.

Anton knows a lot about fishing and is not shy about it. We had been before and yes he is a real maestro at the sport but know nothing about where to fish. I remember last year travelling nearly 100 km and ending up at a place only 10 kilometres from Yambol because Anton insisted he knew the fishing venue but didn’t. We went round in circles for literarily hours and ended up fishing at my suggested venue. I had a gut feeling about today and knew that the same thing could happen. Anton is very insistent that he knows and he is right.

It is three years in Skalitsa and I have enquired countless time about where to fish around here. There isn’t anywhere in Skalitsa and you would have to travel at least 20 kilometres to the Rosa Village on the road to Yambol for the nearest public paid fishing reservoir. In the other direction anther 30 kilometres drive to the town of Radnovo to find anything and that was unknown territory to me with no guarantees. I was certain there were no public fishing place to be found locally. Anton disagreed.

Anton spoke with total confidence and his knowledge about such things is certain to bring us good big carp fish as the journey as we made was in my view just out of hope more than anything else. We travelled onward and upwards towards Radnovo.

We drive to village after village stopping and asking local folk where we could fish in the area. Each time their shoulders were shrugged and they didn’t know anywhere. I knew there wasn’t anywhere and by now were had gone beyond my local area knowledge and into villages I’d never heard of. Anton was still full of confidence that we would find somewhere and the two Bulgarian women with us just didn’t say a thing, it was not their place to be advising on such matters according to Anton.

We had now travelled 36 kilometres and we got sight of a few reservoirs. Again, after asking local people we were vaguely given directions but Anton knew better as I followed his lead. He just has no worries about anything and still totally confident we’d find somewhere. “No problem!” was the saying that kept coming more often as he valiantly tried to defend his maestro status.

We were now off track and into tracks suitable for donkey carts as we travelled further into the wilderness of the Bulgarian outback. It was another 4 kilometres before the track, which turned into prairie land came to a dead end. There was a swamp in front of us and we could go no further. We took a look around and found a larger lake a short distance away to we set up there and fished for an hour. This was illegal fishing but it was deserted here and no chance of getting shot, we were hidden amongst the tall reeds.

We caught a few but nothing big and Anton decided we should look for another place is the barbecue was to be a success later this evening. I was quite happy here but bigger fish was promised as I put my trust into his promises. After all he is the maestro at fishing.

We travelled back to towards Skalitsa stopping off for drinking water at the enormous power plant from which a complete community and village has developed for water. This place is another story!

Another 10 kilometres and we spot another reservoir this time with others fishing around it. We negotiate a very tricky path and steep gradient grassland down to the reservoir side and set up out gear there. This place was found by luck not judgement and even now I don’t think we were fishing legally but we weren’t approached at any point.

Fishing for the next five hours was fantastic as we caught much bigger fish here. It was a regular trawl of fish that came out which was then well hidden in a bucket of water under bushes in case of being questioned. This just confirmed that Anton knew we shouldn’t be here but we were.

Anton got a call that he had to work tonight so it was back to Yambol for him and his girlfriend this evening, no time for a barbecue but the fish would keep once de-scaled and gutted and that’s what I did after they were dropped off at the Skalitsa bus stop.

It was clear that Anton didn’t know anything about where to fish in the area but insisted continuously that he did. He would never for a moment say he was wrong; it wouldn’t be Bulgarian for him to admit this. At the end of the day, we got some fishing done but not due to Anton’s self-confessed knowledge but poaching. Anton would still attribute the success of the fish in the freezer from his own wisdom. And what to the Bulgarian women with us have to say on the matter? Nothing, they’d dare not question the authority of a Bulgarian male.

For more about Bulgarian Maestros try here: Skalitsa Maestros

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