Some people like the barbell

 Some people like the barbell

And me, by default. You too. Especially after you will see on F&H Channel the six episodes of the movie King Garam, cast on the river Garam (Hron) in Slovakia. No, because I also told you the location. So that you don't have other unanswered questions, because you will surely be interested in the equipment with which I tricked and tamed the barbells, I leave you some links here: thread Stroft GTM and dye, rods Arrow Air Pro, reels Daiwa Emeraldas, wobble Savage Gear Crucian Crank and Jackall Chubby. There would be more to say, but I prefer to pass the baton to him Malin because he tells the story much better than I could. Enjoy.

Andy Arif


I launch. Fixed where the river current turns and divulges a deeper area. But I know nothing will happen there. The mini crank wobbler enters the strong current, it is a strong drifting evolution, I fish perpendicular to the current and the wobbler enters the strike zone. It's clearly such an area, there are some larger boulders that provide shelter for the barbels. The attack of the barbell is not violent, it is more of a stop that resembles hooking the wobbler into a rock. You have to sting when you feel something like that in the rod. It can be a barbell, it can be a stone. I feel the strong current vibration of the wobbler. I can feel him hitting the rocks in the bed with his barbette. I feel it stop. It stings. The wobbler stays put. "I hooked" I say nervously to Arif, who is fishing a few meters downstream. I pull the line, shake the wobbler from the tip of the rod. I fire again hoping the wobbler will escape from under the rock. I remain hopeless and hold the line taut, with the bent rod.

It seems to me? I follow the line where it enters the water and it feels like it's moving upstream very slowly. It does not seem. The "boulder" moves upstream. "It's fish! I can't believe…” I say to Arif. He's coming towards me across the river with his video camera on. The fish begins to take steady line from the reel. There is no jolt, nothing. Just a colossal pull in the rod and a line that starts to roll off the reel faster and faster. Arif films, I step into my role. Bravez, I want to appear calm. I say a few words nonchalantly, how the wobbler stopped, how I thought it was hooked, how I was stuck like that with the wobbler at a fixed point in the river. "I have a submarine" I say. The more I say, the wobbler escapes from the fish. The current brings him humiliated towards me. I forget about nonchalance, about the camera and around. I feel like throwing my rod into the river.

Certainly the most interesting shoot of 2022 for me was the one on the Garam River in Slovakia, where I had Andy Arif as a guest on the show. We had bad news from our friend from the beginning Peter Sztachovitz – a regular of the river – due to the very low water level and the sudden cooling that preceded our arrival in Slovakia. The news kind of gave us chills, because the water was around 6 degrees Celsius, a sign that the barbels are retreating into the Danube, and on top of all that, the low waters also caused the bream to descend towards the river, which is about 20 kilometers from our area of fishing.

On the road, Arif had a hard journey, a long and monotonous highway: every time he goes to fish, it rains. He has a sociopathic cloud that follows him everywhere. This time the cloud helped us, because the heavy rains, which coincided with the onset of our departure from Bucharest, raised the water level of the Garam River so that two days after our arrival in Slovakia, the fish were again ascending the river . As a Delta angler, from a boat, river fishing meant a conversion of gear and fishing techniques, but I adapted on the fly, especially since I had already done my homework. Special lie, waders, wearer accessories, all kinds of boxes and boxes through the labyrinthine pockets of the fly vest. Fortunately, after just a few hours of fishing, I had already entered my role, and the fish were also showing signs that they were interested in being important characters in the casting of the new episodes of the "Expeditions at our Home" series. I had returned to my first love – river fishing.

If in the boat the limited space helps you to fish and film at the same time, on the river things are completely different. First you have to get into the water and the camera has to stay somewhere a few meters from the shore, deep water and strong currents put this equipment at risk. So, being the cameraman and host of the show myself, I tried to make the translation from the camera to the rod as natural as possible. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. All seasoned with an insistent rain that made the liquid border between the river and the rest of the universe almost imperceptible. But beyond the grueling hours on the river, beyond the spectacular misses and escaped capital fish, were the dozens of catches and days spent with Andy Arif on an absolutely fantastic river. And this joy of fishing will definitely be seen in the film.

The most thrilling chapter of filming on Garam was the drift fishing, going down the river for almost 6 hours, under the careful guidance of the professional fishing guide Zoltan Szabo, the one who made the kayaks available to us. Nothing can compare to this kind of fishing, with the ever-changing scenery, with the fishing spots that are constantly evolving and that you should not miss. Paddling to control the kayak, filming and fishing, all without risking a dip in cold water, that's the real challenge.

And when you're on the receiving end of an angry clean, everything has to be raised to the second power. Broadly speaking, kayak fishing on the Garam River has the bream as its target species, but also perch and bream come into play when you least expect it. The influence of the Danube is felt on the last kilometers of the river, and the appearance of a big catfish in the wobbler's anchors is not really an isolated accident. It's all about keeping calm and controlling the fish and the kayak in equal measure. Because the river is full of traps.

With the barbell, well with the barbell it was a different game: with your feet on firm ground, or as firm as a pebble covered with algae and slippery slime can be. We came prepared for a tournament with barbells fascinated by silicone coolers, off-set hooks, and cheburashka-like articulated weights. I left after 6 days of fishing only with mini crank wobblers, obviously all left in the end among the stones and logs of the river. It was a sacrifice we made and it was worth it. Evidence of the many barbells who came to perform in front of the cameras.

For every 5 barbells dropped, one ended up in the lie. This was an equation I learned pretty quickly. The barbel is not a predatory fish, its subterminal mouth is not specialized for catching fish… it's just that barbels can't let feeding opportunities pass them by. The fact is that once hooked, the barbells go upstream, after which - if you don't bring them to the victorious lie - they start to go downstream, a sign that they escaped from the anchors while they were climbing strongly in the current. In such moments it is very likely that the line will pass under tension over the back of the fish, along it, past the dorsal fin. Once the wobbler is out of the meaty mouth of the barbel, the fish tends to continue up the current, while the wobbler slides towards the dorsal, which it clings to with one of the two anchors. At this moment the fish caught from the middle of the body starts to go down the current, a sign that you have arrived without your will, from honest fisherman, jepcar. And it will probably go all the way to Budapest and from there to Giurgiu, it depends on how much line you have on the reel.

The ratio of barbels dropped / barbels reached the lie is 5:1. This is fishing. We fish further. Garam, last year, six episodes in the series "Expeditions at our home" that can be seen on Fishing and Hunting Channel. 

If you missed them, you can watch them here:

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

Episode 6

Malin Musatescu

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Andy Arif

Fishing is a beautiful game, especially when you take it seriously. Fisherman's child, fisherman's father, fisherman's friend, storyteller, traveler, nature lover, dreamer in this wonderful world of fishing. Be it spoken, written, photo, video or online.

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