So far, we wrote about a lot of things you can do in Croatia. From scuba-diving to hiking the peaks, the country is full of options for superb leisure. But we have not mentioned hunting the eels of Neretva. It is a unique experience, reserved for experts of river life, and those who adapt quickly to the unwritten rules of seeking these cunning animals.
The River Neretva has always been of high importance to people of Croatia. It has a very fruitful valley, which regularly contributes to veggie supplies across the entire country. No matter whether you are situated in Zagreb or Dubrovnik, chances are that oranges you bought on the marketplace comes from this area.
Here we found Nikola Grgurinovc Samija, a vivid eighty-year old resident of Ceveljusa village, in the close proximity of Ploce settlement. He is the senior guardian of an important local tradition: seeking and capturing the river eels.
“I have been working this job for about six and a half decades,” Nikola explains to LC source. “I often had to catch eels during strong bursts of bora, when the river waves were merciless. And there were days when I was showered by the rain and thunder. But I don’t mind. Selling my catch enabled me to have a good life. I managed to build a house, and broaden my estate.”
The eels of Neretva are mysterious animals. Technically, they are fishes, although they look more like snakes. Despite that eerie appearance, they are considered a real delicacy, and are often ordered grilled in traditional konoba-inns of Croatia. The local specialty, called Neretva Brudet, is something you shouldn’t ignore if you find yourself near Ploce.
Harvesting these animals was a practice since Austro-Hungarian times, meaning it is a tradition with over three centuries in age. However, due to changes in environment, their population has lowered. Although they are not endangered at the moment, their hunt is highly controlled. So if you are truly interested in spending some time on Neretva banks, do invest in official permit and find yourself an companion with expertise, such as Nikola from Ceveljusa.