Now that you have booked your dream fishing holiday to North Norway, it’s time to get yourself prepared. in terms of your Norway fishing tackle. Preparation is the key to success and someone who does their homework always comes out on top and fishing is no different. Its the same with any fishing holiday destination, you should try to do as much homework as possible, watch lots of our Youtube videos, speak to other people that have travelled there before, speak to a member of the Sea fishing Sportquest team who are always there to help, basically do as much as you can before you depart.
Your main focus should be on the equipment you take with you. Now, not everyone has a bottomless pit of money to spend on top of the range Norway fishing tackle but I have always lived by, buy the best you can afford, if you buy cheap then it will not last anywhere as long as it should. Why would you spend your hard-earned money on a fishing holiday to then scrimp on let’s say your braid or inferrer hooks, it just doesn’t make sense.
We deal with lots of Norway anglers each year, from seasoned pros to first-timers so we are very used to answering all manner of questions that arise. Some questions are easy to answer and some are more difficult but the most common questions, I will try to answer below to the best knowledge I can. My answer is only my personal opinion and I am sure there may be people out there that know a lot more than I do and may have different opinions, but I have tried to answer them honestly and unbiasedly. Here are three of the most common questions we get asked regarding Norway fishing tackle:
“What rods and reels to take to Norway?”
“Should I use Braid or Mono?”
“what tackle should I take to Norway”
There are lots of different places you can purchase your Norway fishing tackle from and hope you do shop about as lots of shops have some good deals on, but never go in the shops and say “I am going to Norway what do I need” as you will find that you come out with things that simply are no good. I am not being rude about the people that work in tackle shops, but the majority of them may have never been to Norway and thinking about what you need to actually knowing are two very different things.
I have learnt after hosting many trips to Norway that guys always bring far too much tackle with them, as fishing in Norway, in general, is not the same as in the UK in the way that you hardly lose anything. I was guilty of it on my first few trips and with weight being limited on the flights I find it is important to actually pack the correct things and not pack “just in case” tackle. I could actually go to Norway with two shads, a dead baiting rig and a pirk and would probably have enough tackle to keep me going.
Below I have given some information on the Norway fishing tackle I take with me and hopefully it will be of some use to help you along the way in deciding the correct items to take with you.
Norway Fishing Tackle
Rod and Reels
I have looked long and hard for a decent travel rod that fits in my case and I have found after using many different makes that the Fox Trek 6ft 300 – 400g travel rod to be one of the best all-rounders. Comes with a superb hard case that fits in most suitcases, has excellent through action and has no flat spots. Works heavy shads well whilst still having a good fish playing tip. I tend to use this rod and reel combo for most of my Cod and Coalfishing as you can work heavy lures really well with this rod. The other rod I pack is a Westin W6 Travel Rod. Both these rods are fairly expensive, but as I have said previously, I like to buy the best I can afford. Another Rod I have used and are much cheaper is the Daiwa Kenzaki Braid Special. Basically, you need a rod capable of landing large fish from deep water a 20-30lb class rod will pretty much cover you for all eventualities.
The reel I use is expensive but it is built to last and with me taking 4 – 5 trips a year to Norway I need one to last in extreme conditions. Again after years of using cheaper reels and becoming frustrated when they go wrong, I treated myself to a Shimano Talica 10, this reel is a workhorse and is one of the lightest reels I have used. It holds a good amount of braid and the lever drag on it is so smooth. You really do not need to spend as much on a reel as this but try and get the best your budget will allow as I have seen many reels break in Norway leaving the angler very unhappy.
The mainline to me is very important, as this is what attaches you to the fish and needs to be top quality. I read many articles saying that they got some great braid from China, 1000mtrs for as little as £4…. I find it hard to believe that this braid is any good. I like my braid to be a darkish colour and fairly thin cutting down on the drag it creates when fishing deep. Power Pro is my chosen braid and use it in all my fishing and has never let me down, I tend to use 60lb breaking strain as this covers most fishing in Norway. Never buy yellow/white braid as I am a strong believer that the fish can see this. Another Braid you should consider is the multi-coloured braid, this is not just for looks and serves a very important purpose. When you fish for both Skrei Cod and Coalfish it is so very important to know exactly where your shad is in the water column.
Now the minefield, tackle. Please remember that this is just my personal thoughts and is here to hopefully help someone.
This really is a personal choice and the only advice I can give is do not buy cheap leader material as along with a hook, this item is what attaches you to the reason why you travel to Norway. I like using clear mono leaders around the 100 – 150LB mark and I will always have 5 tied up ready to take on the boat with me, that way I don’t have to sit on the boat tying new ones up when they need replacing.
The length of them I think is important and I never have them longer than around a metre, two reasons, the first is that is you have a long leader it is hard sometimes to land your catch as I always attach my leader using braid to a swivel and if you are using a 12ft leader you fish will be 12ft away from you when the swivel is sitting in the tip ring. Secondly with only using a metre length leader your expensive spool will last you along time.
Lures for targeting Norway
I will start with shads as there are hundreds of shads on the market and it is hard for me to say one will work over another.
At certain times of the year when the spawning Cod is about I use a shad called the BigBob. These are 40cm and come in a couple of different weights and drive the spawning Cod mad.
Most shads come fitted with a large single hook moulded into the body I always like to add a stinger hook, which nicks into the wrist of the tail. I like using strong leader material for this stinger say around 150-200lb mono. The best way I have found to fish the shads is to lower it to the bottom then wind it up a meter or two then slowly sweep the rod back and forth to give the shad some movement, but always make sure you are near the bottom by simply lowering until you feel the bottom. Try different depths and when you start to feel little knocks this may well be a sign of some interest from the Halibut. People seem to think that a big fish like the Halibut just comes up and engulfs the shad, sometimes is the case but from experience, I find that the bite progresses over a short period of time and if you concentrate you will feel the Halibut grabbing and letting go of the shad before deciding that he wants it. I always say to the guys tease the fish and make him want it by reeling in slowly then dropping it back slowly that way it tends to make them grab it, then hold on.
When it comes to targeting the Coalfish, they have much smaller mouths than the Cod and find that they feed on smaller baitfish. I like bright colours for them and tend to fish them by sending the shad to the bottom then slowly but steadily retrieve it back. Normally the Coalfish are feeding mid-water and once you have found them be prepared to have your arms aching. Another very popular way of fishing for them is on or just below the surface by casting lures away from the boat and then fast retrieving; lures like the below are deadly for this style of fishing.
The final form of lures that I use in Norway is using Chrome Pirks, there are many different styles of these on the market but I find the Banana shaped Chrome pirks work the best. The hooks these come with, need to be removed and replaced with a higher standard treble and also replace the split ring they come fitted with. These pirks will catch most Cod in Norway from small to the biggest of Cod. Some people like to attach a muppet or Norwegian eel to the leader, but honestly, I think it is unnecessary, as I have seen people struggle when they have two very large Cod on the line.
Terminal Tackle for Norway
As you guys may realise, I host many trips to Norway and have done for the last 7 years so I have used a fair amount of tackle over the years so its important for me to only use the best I can get as a lot of the fish over in Norway that I target will test your tackle and if there are any weak links then it may cost you a fish of a lifetime.
I only ever use swivels on their own, when I mean on their own, I mean with out any snap links. I will couple the swivels with split rings but I class this as the strongest way to connect any of your shads or pirks.
For many years I have used so many different split rings and it wasn’t until I met Paul that found some split rigs that fitted all my needs. It is important to find some that are big enough to be put on hooks, swivels and shads but small enough not to affect the action of the lure.
My go to Trebles for Norway are Owner 4X ST-66 in sizes 3/0 & 4/0. I will not use anything else and believe these hooks are the best on the market. They stay sharp, they do not rust and they get the best hook hold. Days have gone where certain people would recommend 10/0 – 12/0 trebles, they are horrible hooks and make such a mess of the fish and with more and more people catch and releasing it is important that we cause as least damage as possible. I am aware a lot of people like circle hooks for bait fishing but for me its trebles.
It is very important to buy a good quality pair of split ring pliers, cheap doesn’t work and will bend and break and the last thing you want to be doing is trying to open tough split rings with your fingernails. Another item I always have with me is a big pair of bolt croppers, and these are used to cut through hooks that have found their way in to something they shouldn’t be in. Fingers, legs and hands are prime targets for big sharp trebles and having a pair of these on board is very important and can save a trip to hospital.
There are lots of other smaller items you may wish to take with you to Norway such as Plaice rigs, feathers, small hooks, leads etc and the above I personally think is what you should ensure you have in your tackle box. I would love to hear all your thoughts on what you would always take with you as I am sure there are many other items that people take. This report is just a small insight in to what I take with me and is given to try and assist you guys in to helping you make a decision on what to look for in your tackle items.
Booking extra bags
I will always book an extra bag as I like to take some food items with me and once I have put my tackle, rods and reels and boots in my first piece of luggage, there isn’t much left for anything else.
This normally half fills my cool box so on top of this I will pack jumpers, fleeces and other bulky items that will free up space in my main piece of luggage and also stops all the other items from being smashed around.
The above will pretty much see you through any fishing holiday in Norway and like I have said this is just my own personal opinion and of course take any tackle you like this is just been written as a guide to help you keep your luggage down to a decent weight. I will then put all of the above in a good quality plastic tackle box than in my case, along with my rods and reels. Also please always remember NOT to pack medication in your luggage, I have seen this so many times that people’s luggage gets delayed and then you may find yourself without your medication for a couple of days, which isn’t ideal.
Remember, always check with the company you are flying with to what your luggage allowance is as if you go over your allowance, they will charge you a hefty amount. SAS luggage allowance is 23-kilo hold luggage and 8-kilo hand luggage. Norwegian is 20-kilo hold luggage and 10-kilo hand luggage and with all companies, it is always possible to book extra bags.
Now everything is packed, and you are ready to travel. All that’s left to worry about is can you handle catching the many fish of your dreams?
LEarn from the guides
My last piece of advice would be, if you are new to Norway fishing or would like to learn from a guides knowledge, then you should look at joining one of our fully hosted trips to Norway. We run on average 14 hosted trips to Norway each year. The areas and times of the year have been carefully picked to target certain species, these trips are a great way of learning how to set up Norway fishing tackle correctly, how to control the boat and how to fish correctly for certain species.
All of the above information regarding Norway fishing tackle are my personal thoughts and I am sure that everyone will think differently but I have tried to break each element down a little to try and help people who have either never been or are looking to brush up on some information with regards to equipment and tackle needed.
If you would like to speak to one of the Sea Fishing specialists at Sportquest regarding Norway fishing tackle, then call the office on 01603 407596 or by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lots more information on other useful tips and tricks can be found on our sea fishing blogs, the main page here and also all the information on all our hosted sea fishing holidays can be found here.
Until next time, tight lines