Golden Squid 2014
“What is that man doing? Is trying to pull up his anchor?” is often heard from visitors to the region when they see locals fishing for squid. You have to feel some sympathy for them as the art of squid fishing is quite different from standard angling. Chugging along in small white boats you’ll observe a man’s arm hanging over the stern and waving in a motion that looks like he is trying to pull something in. I might look odd but apparently it is very effective. A shiny bait is used on a long line, this line is jigged up and down to attract the squids, it might sound simple but it really works.
This squid fishing tradition continues to this day and the fishermen of Orašac take it so seriously that every year they organise a competition, Zlatni Oliganj, or directly translated Golden Squid. The event actually has a long history in Orašac, it first started as a fishing competition but has transformed over the years into squid fishing. Local amateur fishing societies get together every year in November to compete for the Golden Squid with the team catching the most calamari lifting the trophy. In the late afternoon the fishermen meet on the Orašac coastline and sail out together to the waters around the islands of Lopud and Koločep. These very waters are known to be rich in squid and the competition whilst light-hearted is also fiercely fought, there is pride at stake. A blast of a siren as darkness falls and it’s back to the shore for the all important weigh in. The winner is pronounced and then the real entertainment begins. As the evening descends wine flows, songs echo, dancers twirl and freshly caught squid is grilled to perfection in the open-air. It is a party that continues long into the mild November night.
For 2014 the Golden Squid competition has even higher goals. Along with the local fishing societies other regional fishermen will be invited to enlarge and strengthen the competition. This should make for not only more calamari for everyone afterwards but also for a real camera opportunity as the squid flotilla sets sail.