During our adventure around Croatia this summer, we had the pleasure of spending a few nights on the island of Vis, a couple of hours from Split. From hearing lots about the seafood from this area, we knew that this would be our chance to indulge in some of the best the Adriatic has to offer. And don't worry, as the title may suggest, we did not produce the next craze of 'pulled' meat.
Eating a Black Risotto (recipe from Salt by James) with waves knocking against the harbour just a few yards away gave me the urge to jump on a boat and see where and how this amazing produce is caught. So the next morning a quick look around various stands around the harbour, it became quite clear that not many people had the same desire. We could have rented a scooter, a bicycle or a private speedboat around the island. Not quite the amusement we were after.
Our only option was to track down a local fisherman and try our luck. During that days weighing in session, we had the pleasure of meeting our soon to be friend Micki. And for those of you who have read our 'East Coast Pot's', this was not the same Micky! It was the Croatian version. After a short and broken English conversation, we were soon booked onto the next day's outing pulling squid.
The following day, we met Micki at the harbour and off we went. Our new friend was very proud of his island, his home since birth. He was keen to show us the local surroundings and take many detours off his usual days fishing route. Below is a shot of a tunnel through the island which was used to hide warships, a very eery atmosphere towards the bottom as your eyes adjust to the darkness.
Once some sights had been taken in, it was time to get down to business. As we made our way to Micki's favourite spot for squid, we had the fish finder on which was picking up all the mackerel many metres below. It was a struggle passing over them knowing that a few flies down there would soon start picking them off! But today was all about squid.
After half an hour of chugging, the engine was off and lines were unravelling. For many years, fishing in this area has been with line and hands, there was no rod, reel or expensive fishing gear in sight. Two squid lures were plunged into the depths until the line went slack. They were now dancing with the squid on the bottom. It wasn't long before the first tug on the line was felt and the pulling began. Upon surfacing, we experienced the rudeness of squid with a sudden soaking, followed by a jet of black ink. An amazing creature, showing us all of its natural abilities of self defence. Micki had seen it all before and wasn't put off by her fuss and she was soon swimming in a bucket, destined for the stomachs of his family.
Although a break from fly fishing, it was a great day and we were thrilled to see exactly where these squid were picked up from and whats more, seeing the exact ink that turned my risotto black the night before.