Stjepko Kesić (Cressi) won his first title as Croatian National Champion. A two days championship was held in the area of Pelješac and it was organized by two clubs: Periska Ploče and Peliška Jedra Orebić.
Kesić was first already in day one with 38325 points. Behind him, but with big a big margin, was Mate Barešić (Dive In) with 24620 points and third was Marijan Perčinić (Dive In) with 17230 points.
In day one eighteen spearos and two female athletes were fishing in the north part of Pelješac, and even if it was a very deep zone a lot of nice fish came out. Kesić caught 30 fish – 10 brown meagre, 9 white seabreams, 9 forkbeard, one sharp snout seabream and one moray eel.
Baresic had on his line 10 brown meagre, 3 white seabreams, one red scorpionfish, one conger, one forkbeard and one brown wrasse.
For third place Perčinić brought 6 brown meagre, 2 white seabreams, 2 forkbeards, one red scorpionfish and one brown wrasse.
“During day one I caught everything that I saw. Plan was 25 fish and 2 groupers, but none of my groupers were in their spots. Bad weather on previous day had a big impact and groupers moved. All five hours I was fishing between 33 and 37 meters”, said Stjepko Kesić.
Only two groupers came out on day 1, the biggest one was caught by Danijel Pizentić (XT Diving Pro), and it was 3530 grams. Interesting detail is that only Pizentić caught a grouper on both days.
Bad weather one day before the competition has had also influence on conditions in the second day on the South zone. Not on the visibility, as this was good on both days, but on the behavior of the fish, as a lot of it moved and some spots where there was normally a big number of fish where empty. In the morning no one could imagine that we would have had a thrill in the end. Kesić went for groupers, he caught a smaller one and then he moved on the spot where there was a big one of 20+ kilos.
“I found it and shot it, and the grouper came out easily. I thought that it would not have been a problem to bring it to the surface, but half way up I lost it and she hid. The spot was on 38 meters. I dove ten times more to find it but everything was misty. I lost one precious hour on this grouper”, explained Kesić.
After five hours Kesić had two groupers, the smallest of 3230 grams and a white grouper of 4695 grams, one forkbeard, one brown wrasse and 6 white seabreams, totally worth 19580 points.
A fantastic catch on day two was done by Antonio Buratović (Dive In), a spearo from Hvar that returned to compete in the Nationals after a couple of years. Buratović caught two groupers of 19150 and 13270 grams, 4 white seabreams, 3 brown meagre, one forkbeard and brown wrasse. In total he gained 39820 points.
Third was Danijel Pizentić with 12805 points. He caught one grouper of 3530 grams, 2 white seabreams, one brown wrasse, one brown meagre and one red scorpionfish.
Kesić was very nervous during the weighing, and his boatman Mario Bakotić-Zile even more. In the end Kesić had enough catches and won in front Buratović with and advantage of 6.25%. Third ended last year champion Mate Barešić, and Danijel Pizentić with a fourth position made his best result on nationals. For Stjepko Kesić the title is a big relief as he was five times in his carrier in second place.
“I was a little bit scared before day two as I knew that Buratović had some very nice spots full of fish in the part of the zone where I had decided not to go at all, because I counted that 15 spots with groupers would be enough to catch two big ones. In the end my two where small and a big one I lost. I got info that Buratović had caught big groupers and more nice fish and that made me nervous. In the end the title came to me. I want to say a big thank you to my boatman Zile as he was with me through all these years and he was more nervous than me. I am also grateful to my family and my sponsor Cressi”, said Kesić.