Lake Sumbar, Croatia
The lake is roughly 45 acres in size and has around 1,000 carp from 15lb to over 90lb, although stockings are ongoing to keep it prolific.
There are also some cats and big grass carp in the lake.
The lake is set in the Croatian countryside near a little town known as Karlovac. It boasts several islands to target and of course carp of monstrous proportions.
What You Should Know!
Sumbar is one heck of a drive. It is around 14 hours in total from Calais, but well worth it because you get to see some amazing scenery along the way. The lake boasts some of the biggest carp that swim, therefore, you must be experienced and know how to handle such specimens. Your gear and tackle MUST be up to the job of taming these giants.
You can ONLY use a bait boat if you have a full lake booking. If not, you have to spod.
DO NOT forget a high factor suncream in the warmer months as it can get very hot.
You’ll need these for your trip to Sumbar!
We had heard of fish coming out of there to over 80lb.
What is the lake like and how should I fish it?
I first visited Sumbar Lake with Ridgemonkey when we filmed the ‘Dream, Believe, Achieve’ production several years ago now. We had heard of fish coming out of there to over 80lb. That was the biggest reason that we chose the venue for our film. The lake is also set in a wildlife reserve and so it is particularly picturesque, set in the deepest Croatian countryside. At night, you can hear wild boar and wolves howling in the distance.
The lake itself is around 30 odd acres at a guess, with depths to 16-17ft in most places, but there are features on the bottom to target; bar systems, raises, plateaus, silt beds etc.
What are the best areas?
Carp can be caught in every swim, however, like many lakes, Sumbar definitely has consistent pegs. The best swims in my opinion are pegs 14 -16, because they give you good central areas of the lake, thus, commanding a lot of water. You sometimes need this if the lake is busy. It allows you to control a lot of the water and mark your territory so to speak.
There are many features out in front of Peg 14-15, but you don’t have to fish super long here. In fact, when casting only, you can only fish 110 yards anyway. There are bars, and all sorts in front of here, so use a marker float to pinpoint them, or if you have a boat use an Echo Sounder to find something solitary.
Baits placed on drop offs will often be very good spots to try because food will congregate there.
Swim 21-22 in particular gives you a multitude of options and an array of little gaps to place your rods in close and in open water, it makes a great double swim too.
Never disregard the bays either. The bays on this lake can at times produce the bigger fish which are often loaners, unlike the smaller shoal fish. Baits fished across to opposing margins will often score, and give you the option of walking round to bait up underarm 😉
What is the best bait?
Whenever I go to Sumbar I always take a selection of bait. Boilies and trout pellets are very good options. You can also purchase particles on site, which I always do. They prepare maize and hemp for you and it works out at about £3 a bucket, so saves the aggro of transporting it all in the van.
You will need a lot of bait if you get on them. They are big carp and so can wipe you out of bait very quickly. For a week I wouldn’t go with any less than 30kg boilies, 25kg sack of trout pellets, and ten of their particle buckets.
What rigs do you use out there?
I rarely stray away from the Slip D Rotator rig or Ronnies these days, I have upmost confidence in them and neither let me down as far as pop-up presentations are concerned. As for a bottom bait presentation, I will opt for a simple blowback rig. There really is no need to go complicated out there.
Where to target in winter?
The open water! Fish your rods into the middle expanse of the lake. There used to be an underwater orchard here, full of snags and the fish still seem to congregate there.
Are there shops nearby?
Yes there is supermarket around 10 mins from the lake which is high quality and stocks a multitude of foods. It is comparable to a Tescos over here.
Sumbar still retains my PB, in fact it was the biggest in the lake at over 88lb! A truly colossal beast and one that I will be pushed to better. It is one of my favourite lakes in Europe and I get a huge buzz every time that I receive a take.
It is lovely and peaceful, boasts so many incredible carp that I literally cannot wait to get back; one to catch massive carp, 2 to get a lovely suntan, and 3 to just relax in peaceful, tranquil surroundings. An epic lake!
Dave Levy is a hugely experienced carp angler. He has an untold amount of big-carp to his name across Europe and is respected by all.
Lake Sumbar Rules:
- All carp have to be returned to the lake unharmed, safe catch and release fishing only.
- Fishing borders are clearly marked between swims.
- 3 rods maximum.
- No zig rigs.
- No boats or bait boats.
- Special permission needed for drone filming.
- Mainline needs to be minimum of 0.35mm.
- Shock leaders no longer than 7 meters.
- No tapered mono, fluorocarbon or nylon leaders.
- Only hook sizes 4-8.
- No long shank hooks.
- Rigs must allow for lead to be release.
- Grasscarp must be released immediately.
- No carp sacks.
- Use weigh sling to retain carp overnight for photos but only for carp over 20kg.
- Carp must be held over unhooking mat for photos.
- You must hold carp while kneeling or squatting.
- No more than 3-minutes for photos.
- Ask for help from ranger if needed.
- Use clubs unhooking mats and weigh slings.
- Return carp using the weigh sling only.
- Disinfect all landing nets.
- No trash, at all, to be left.
- Anglers must vacate swims by 12:00.
- No leaving swims while rods out.
- No driving around the lake at night.
- Rangers may check your licenses and rigs.
- No open fires.
- Swimming/wading no further than 5 meters from shore.