So the suntanning season is over, and you’ve been to all the museums in Kaunas. Nature seems tempting, but you should have a plan. What about a fishing trip?! Kaunas is a perfect location for fishermen of all styles and kinds; There are rivers, and there’s Kaunas Sea, and we have plenty of speciality shops that can provide you all the gear you want. We also have many inspiring fishermen – here’s one of then, Ričardas Jankevičius, who has his fishing club, a shop Žvejo kelias, and thousands of followers on social media. Yup, he’s a fishing influencer, but he hates the word! The background of his portraits is not accidental; more than 30 years ago, Ričardas was the first graffiti artist in Kaunas!..
So, Ričardas, how did you become a fisherman?
I started fishing little by little when I was a small kid. Only much later it turned into something more serious. By “later” I mean the period when I was living in England. I emigrated for all the usual reasons, including more money. I met my wife Vilma in England; our children were born there. At first, I worked a lot to support my family. Later, I finally got some free time, and I thought I could use it for my old hobby. I met some friends, we started a fishing group and explored England – it’s quite different out there, most of the water seems to belong to private clubs. But we did our research and got to fish in the wild nature, just like Lithuanians love doing the most. It’s fantastic to fish in the sea in England, too, for that, you have to buy a special pass. There are also commercial ponds – this is where I turned into carp fishing. I taught myself a lot – there are many sources to do that in England. Slowly, I turned into Method feeder, but I still hadn’t tried a regular Feeder. And then I started spin fishing – it’s great when you want something fast; you can have an excellent 2-hour fishing session and then go straight back home before your wife starts wondering!
Some five years ago, we came back to Kaunas. This was when I started experiencing some back problems, so I had to say goodbye to spin fishing – my back would begin to ache some 30 minutes into the session. My neighbour happened to be a professional fisherman, and he lured me into the feeder system. I participated in an amateur event; I wasn’t the last, and, in two weeks, I made my debut into the Lithuanian fishing championship. Again, I wasn’t the last one – it made me very happy and inspired to keep going. Each year, I’d go up some ten positions in the table.
When did you realise your hobby can become your lifestyle and even your business?
I started fishing much more often when I started participating in the championships – just as in any other sports, one needs to practice. One needs to fish at least 2 or 3 times a year, also, to dig for information. It’s much easier these days, with all the blogs and blogs. I’d learn from friends and during the championships. My friends began starting their fishing blogs, and I decided I need that, too. My wife gave me a small camera for New Year’s – I still use it, it’s perfect.
So that’s how you became a fishing influencer?
I’m against that word, but that’s what the press called me in one of the interviews. All I do is fish and post it on Facebook and YouTube. I started my first Facebook group back in England; my local one, Žvejo kelias, now has more than 22,000 members. It’s pretty busy as people like to share experience, and I am involved all the time. I try to answer all the questions, to start discussions, post pictures etc. So, after launching the group, I met like-minded sportsmen, and we started a fishing club. It was first 3 of us and then suddenly more than 40! We participate in various tournaments and organise our own.
Are Kaunas and its surroundings a good place for fishing, in general?
Of course. We’ve got amazing rivers to start with. I only discovered Neris myself quite recently – before, it’d look very mystical to me. Nemunas, of course. People come here from all over Lithuania. In Late Autumn, they gather at Nevėžis river – it has a couple of very deep hollows where fish gather to rest. One of the holes is from Bernatoniai side. It’s also suitable for fishing in winter and early spring when there’s still ice. August, for example, is not the best time for fishing, only at the end of Summer fish starts moving.
A few years in a row, spring and beginning of summer were perfect for fishing in Palemonas. Oh, what bream you could catch there! Last year, somehow, it was nothing… So, it’s all about checking the current information.
Kaunas Sea, or Kaunas Reservoir, is excellent in autumn. At the end of September, there’s movement near HES – the Kaunas Hydroelectrical Power Plant – you can catch bream, common roach or breath with feeder system while sitting on the concrete blocks. There’s also a concrete quay near Pažaislis – even in the summertime, you can catch a bream or two there.
I’m not sure about perfect places in central Kaunas. Fact is, people in Šančiai catch ide in Nemunas. They do the same near Akropolis, but summer is not the best time for that – see, today there’s no one. But they will show up as soon as ide does.
It’s possible to catch some salmon in Nemunas and Neris, too – for that, you use the spin fishing system. I don’t practice it myself, but I’ve heard people caught salmon next to Kaunas Castle. The part of Neris between Kaunas and Jonava is full of salmon and bream when it’s the right season for it. Also in Nemunas, near Kačerginė, I’ve seen salmon jumping in the water like dolphins.
Are you an early bird?
Nope, I’m a lazy bone. I wake up after a good night’s sleep, have my breakfast, and only then I go fishing.
What do you do with all the fish?
I let it go! I don’t eat fish myself, and my wife isn’t very much into it, too. When she asks me, I bring some home. Also, my friends smoke fish, so I’d give them the fish, and they’d give me the meal in return.
Is feeder fishing most popular in Kaunas?
Yes, this method is definitely on the wave, especially among the younger generation. I think it’s because it’s not complicated. Before, the trend was to use the alarm method – you throw, you sit, and you wait for the alarm to go off. You wait for a long time, but of course, with this system, you catch bigger fish. But you can’t catch a lot of it. Feeder allows you to catch more, of course, you must know how to prepare the system and be eager to experiment with the bait, the smells and so on. You’re always on the move, and the feedback is quick.
Is there a particular aroma for bait that’s the best for Kaunas Sea?
Yup, the trend is to use the marzipan aroma. Many fishermen will tell you it’s the best. But I do not use it. In the summertime, I use strawberry or wild strawberry. I tend to change the aroma if the feedback is not what I expect.
How many times a week you fish nowadays?
I opened an online store in late spring, so I have absolutely no time! Still, I try to do it at least once a week. It was an excellent time to start a business when the quarantine started – people suddenly had plenty of time for hobbies, old and new. They were buying everything. The demand was not a problem, but the supply was – you know, everything has to be shipped from China or elsewhere.
Are there any rituals you do or do not do before fishing?
There’s a myth you can’t wish good luck for a fisherman – some are really afraid of it. But I don’t care, and we always wish good luck between friends.
There’s a wide network of 23/7 bait vending machines around Kaunas, so don’t be sad if your favourite shop is closed! Here are the addresses.
Photos by T. Biliūnas