All we can say is wow… We knew it would not be long until Å started to produce the big Halibut again, but producing a fish well over 200cm this early?! We are definitely in for a good season!
Å produces its first Giant Halibut
We have finished another week over here down the southern tip of Lofoten. We have had incomparable weather the last few days! It has mostly been a reasonably flat sea every day, and the fishing has not exactly been bad either! Recently, there have been many large Halibut, good Cod and a whole bunch of humpback Salmon! Unfortunately, the Coalfish have been absent this week, besides some larger shoals further north, but no surface activity yet. I have heard rumours that the first mackerel have come up now, which means that many big fish will now pull in down here on Å…
On Saturday, I drove out with Fredrik, Kristoffer and Ole Morten in boat 3, to get in some evening fishing for Halibut! It was lovely weather, and all the boats were out fishing all day. We went out to an area where it has delivered well with fish before, and it really did not take long before Kristoffer stood with a pole bend over the boat! In the first drift of the day, I saw an echo that was right on the way up to take one of the baits under the boat. Kristoffer wound down to his shad, and the fight was on. It was a very fierce fight Kristoffer had in front of him, but after a few runs and an adrenaline rush like no other, I was able to secure Kristoffer’s very first Halibut of 112 cm! We changed the drift immediately, and Ole Morten, who was also a first-time traveller up here, could not be any more excited, and he quickly hooked a Halibut too! This one was also angry, and she did not give up without a real fight!
We secure the fish and measure it to 112 cm too! Both Ole Morten and Kristoffer pulled their first two Halibut in just a few minutes! We got several fish in the 90-100 cm class as well. The other boats around reported some lovely Cod, and several good Halibut up to 120 cm. After a wonderful day at sea, we drove in for the day. But it was the rising tide that had delivered the best Halibut. The guys in boat 3 got ready for an early start. They were to go out again at 4 in the morning to catch the turn and rise on the water. I slept like a rock when they left, but was woken up with a really nice message on the phone at 7 o’clock, that Ole Morten had landed a fantastic halibut of 161 cm! Congratulations on a real dream fish!
Later on in the day I was going out with boat 7 for even more Halibut fishing, but the wind was a bit harder that day. In the beginning, the conditions were demanding, and we struggled to drift properly for the first hour. But suddenly it calmed down, and the sun peeked out and made the next few hours beautiful! The Halibut accelerated when the wind died down, and Pål hooked the day’s first Halibut of about 1 meter! This was his first trip up here and his very first Halibut! Not long after, Tor also gets his first Halibut of 85 cm! We had several contacts, and got some fish immediately below the minimum size. But 85-year-old Jan was patiently sitting with his Coalfish, when it suddenly began to bend the pole. It was a good Halibut!
After some nice runs, we were able to land Jan’s first ever Halibut at 96 cm! When we were out in the excellent weather, I got a message from Øyvind in boat 1. They had been a little further north, and driven by several peaks in the hopes of a bigger Cod and possibly a real big Halibut. In the message I received from Øyvind, there was a picture of himself and a real monster of a Halibut of 175 cm! Congratulations Øyvind on the personal best! On the same day, a lot of Cod weighing around 10 kilos had been caught by other boats and several nice Halibut in the 90-110 cm class! Boat 3 got a very nice Halibut of about 120 cm this day too…
On Monday, lovely fishing weather was reported for the day. Almost windless and overcast. So we started a long trip with most of the boats south to look for some Cod. I was with Thomas, Tobias and Kell in boat 4, and we had some great fishing for Cod, with a top fish of about 13-14 kilos for Tobias. All boats also had great fishing for Cod, and especially the guys in boat 6 found a small spot where there were several big Cod of around 10-15 kilos! They also caught several Halibut in the same place around the meter mark. But the highlight of the day must have been when a giant Whale decided to swim between all the boats and show off!
Ole Morten in boat 3 had a drone with him, and got to film this mighty creature, so there will be a film on this beast soon! But what an experience to see such a large creature up close. According to the guys in boat 3, it swam in the wake of the engine and followed them for a short distance before it disappeared into the open sea… Boat 1 were the only ones who did not join the long trip, then went north again to try a new spot, another big Halibut! Early in the day, Øyvind had hooked a pretty fish, which they estimated to be around 140 cm, but when it came up to the boat, the fish took an abrupt turn down to the depths, and broke the rod in Øyvind’s hands. Unfortunately, they did not see anything more for this fish .. But later in the day, Øyvind’s son, Nikolai, was ready to hook a big fish! He had used larger Coalfish as bait the last few days, and finally it paid off! After a hard fight, Torgeir was able to secure Nikolai’s dream fish of 171 cm! Only 4 cm below his fathers record.
On Tuesday, the weather was again fantastic, and I was visited by an incredibly lovely family from Bergen who were on holiday in Lofoten, and had booked a guided day trip! We went out around lunchtime, and fished for our bait on the way out. Today’s goal was Halibut, and we tested an area that we had fished earlier this year. It was not long before Henrik had a pole bend! The first Halibut of the day was hooked, and we could land a nice fish of 79 cm in just a few minutes. Overjoyed to have caught the first Halibut, it did not take long before Kristin hung over the boat and shouted out: What is this? It howled from the reel, and the fish took off under the boat, so we had to get Kristin around the boat. When the outburst was over, the fight went pretty smoothly, and we could land a great fish of 101 cm! We moved on with our day the area seemed to fill up with a lot of small Cod. It took a while before something happened, but when it hit Lisa, it happened to Anders too! Double hookup! Lisa gets her fish up, and we snap a quick picture of her first Halibut of 86 cm, while Anders fights. Unfortunately, the fish detaches from the jig, and we can no longer see it… We continue to drift, and Henrik hooks another fish which eventually comes loose. The current was about to turn, so we changed the area. We were probably out a little early, and very little happened in the stillness of the current. But when the tide turned, it was action! We immediately got a double hook up, and several nice Halibut immediately below the meter! Everyone in the boat got one or more Halibut each, and after lots of exits, and tired arms, we had to drive back to land again… Thank you so much for a pleasant day!
On the way back in, I met Geir and co in boat 2, and they were going out to try their hand at the Humpback Salmon! There has been a large invasion of Humpback Salmon on the south side of Lofoten, and we have caught more by pure chance when we have had to fish bait. Humpback Salmon is an invasive species in Norway, and is undesirable in our rivers as it quickly outcompetes the Norwegian wild Salmon. Therefore, it is advisable to kill the Humpback Salmon if you get it in Norwegian waters and in rivers. It is also an excellent food fish if it is caught in the sea, so this was a combined effort and catch of nice food fish! Humpback Salmon have a life cycle of 2 years, which means that there is often a strong generation every two years, and this year there are a lot of them. Several fishermen in the area have caught many hundreds of kilos recently. But next year, they will probably not be back… Geir and the gang caught as many as 39 Salmon in just one small evening trip. They used light equipment and had some good fun. If you are coming to northern Norway this summer, feel free to bring some lighter equipment and catch some of these! They give a good fight and are in good numbers. They do not belong here, and it is only good if you take these home!
Wednesday is the last day of the week, and most of the boats chose to stay ashore these days. I am standing down on the pier and checking boats; when I met Øyvind, Nicholai and Lars to put on their suits, and were going out for a quick trip before the boat was to be checked. When I met them on the pier, I tell them to go out and catch a big one! We laugh a little and probably had only a little hope that they would get a Halibut to round off the trip. But when I’m up in the shop, Torgeir comes in, who chose to stay ashore and pack, and told me that Øyvind were probably going to be a little late. They fought a monster! It’s all right, I say, and we’re really just waiting anxiously for them to call again. Half an hour later, I had almost forgotten that they were still out fighting this fish. Torgeir comes in and tells what has happened. 225 centimetres he says! I just start laughing, and ask; is it true? It was completely true, and I immediately received a nice message from Øyvind that Nicholai, his son, had landed this year’s first Å Giant , at a full 225 cm! A big big congratulations Nicholai! Nicholai told when they came ashore that he had actually lowered to the bottom after Coalfish, when the jig suddenly just disappeared, and there was an exit without equal! It took a good while for Nicholai to land the fish, and the fight was apparently insane! The big fish have come to Å…
The last evening ended with a joint dinner at the restaurant down on the pier, and there was a good atmosphere in the large group. Thank you so much for an enjoyable week guys! We hope to see you again next year. Now it is pretty quiet going forward here on Å with guests, and the weather does not look very promising the next few days. So then you get time for a little more farm work in the future.
Tight Lines // Jørgen Zwilgmeyer