Hosted Halibut Fishing Å on the Lofoten Islands July 2019
It’s hard to believe that it was only last week that I was sat in one of the most stunning parts of Norway trying to hunt down the elusive Halibut that this part of Norway is so very famous for.
This trip I was very much looking forward to due to all the huge Halibut being caught leading up to the departure date. Fish of unimaginable sizes were being caught every day leading up to it, in fact, the 9 days leading up to the trip there was a fish over 190cm caught everyday…… so as you can imagine my expectations were very high.
After a big delay on the M25 due to some road works over running I found myself at London Heathrow with just enough time for breakfast and to meet the entire group. I went to the self-service check-in desk only to find that our outbound flight had been cancelled….. not the best of starts however after a quick conversation with the SAS help desk they soon had all 20 of us loaded on to a different flight but with an extra stop in Copenhagen. We were supposed to arrive at the final airport, Bødo, at around 17:00 to catch the 18:40 ferry over to Moskenes, however, our new flight would see us landing in to Bødo until 21:15. A quick call to the office to check ferry times and they confirmed that there was one ferry that we would make that departed at 22:15 so things were looking up again. Little issues like this are just a part of travelling and normally there is always a solution and lucky for us we made the ferry connecting time and arrived at camp at 02:00 am and at least we didn’t miss any of our fishing days.
With yesterday being a very long day we all decided to start fishing at around lunchtime and after a quick visit to the local supermarket to stock up on essentials we all arranged to meet down by the boats at 1pm. The first day is always a little rushed with people forgetting things and making sure that they have got all the tackle but today as people had plenty of time it all ran fairly smoothly. The main target for the week was to catch Halibut and try and catch a big one so with this in mind we found some bait and then moved into position for our very first drift of the trip. No more than 5 minutes in to the first drift and we heard a shout over the radio from our other boat being driven by Nordic Sea Angling Guide André that they had a good fish on and after a short battle an even louder shout came over saying “This is really big” we all decided that we should go over to see the Halibut and to my amazement when we got closer, this huge head was poking out of the water with André leaning over trying to unhook it.
Now this Halibut looked huge, I have seen lots of Halibut in my time but this was something in a different league. The head was so big, this fish must be well over the 2m mark and with a quick measurement André shouted over to us “204cm and with an estimated weight of around 285lb” it was a truly remarkable fish and this was in the first 10 minutes of fishing!!! What a way to start the week and huge well done to Lee for catching a fish of a lifetime.
Next up was Dean, Lee’s brother and after a great spirited fight, Dean was staring down at his new PB Halibut of 145cm with an estimated weight of around 95lb so a huge well done Dean and yet another magical Halibut on day 1.
It was our turn next and Adrian was up first with a super fight from a very spirited Halibut measuring in at 116cm. Once this was released and the guys started fishing again we had another bite which turned out to be Royston’s PB of 102cm. Things are starting to look very good for the week with so many Halibut caught so early on. Time started to tick away and we only received a couple more takes but couldn’t connect to them so after only 6 hours we all decided to head back in as we had planned a really long day the following day. I think everyone was very happy with the first days results.
And a little extra on the way back to the harbour, we found a pod of Killer Whales which were feeding very close to land. These huge Whales came over to our boat and it’s not until you have seen them in the wild and as close as we did that you realise how special these are and how special the moment was. Memories that will stay with all of us for a long time
With yesterday’s awesome start the guys were keen to hit the Halibut again today which saw us on the water for 8am ready to go get our bait which again would be the super huge Mackerel that were every where. Bait collected and back over to the Halibut grounds to make a start. The tide wasn’t quite right yet so we hung in there until the flow started to move us. With Halibut fishing I much prefer it to be an incoming tide and also the weather has to be right with sunny skies and no wind with flat surface and today was such a day.
After half an hour it was my boat in first with what looked like a good start. Royston kicked the day off with a fine very hard fighting Halibut that measured 147cm with an estimated weight of around 99lb.
Once released everybody set the gear ready to carry on with the drift and it wasn’t long until we had another hookup. This time Kieron was on the rod and this one really didn’t want to give up and after a great little scrap Kieron had managed one at 135cm and what an awesome start to the day.
After a further half-hour or so we heard a call from the guide saying they had got a good fish on and was just about to land it. After a few moments, André made the call over the radio, “Halibut just landed of 167cm to Dean who had the 145cm one yesterday” he has now managed to smash his previous PB two days in a row!!
That’s Å on the Lofoten islands for you. We also managed to land 3 others that day all around the 95cm mark and the guide managed to land a further 3 Halibut before we all decided to call it a day once the tide had gone.
The guys decided they wanted to fish for Cod today which to be truthful was the best decision as the weather had taken a turn for the worst with it being overcast, foggy and a low pressure, the worst conditions for Halibut so Cod it was. A short steam round to the Northside to find deeper water, and we were soon fishing over large shoals of Cod and Coalfish. The Coalfish proved very difficult to get through and these were small Coalfish so a little annoying to say the least. A quick bit of advice off the guide who told us to put a small dead coalfish on the bottom of our pirks saw our pirks finally making it to the bottom where the Cod were waiting. A couple of minutes of doing this saw us landing some nice Cod.
The day pretty much carried on this way with us swapping from Cod fishing to catching some pretty big Coalies to upper 20lb and many different sized Cod.
After around 8 hours fishing we all decided to make the journey back home but would stop on route to see if we could temp some Plaice or dabs.
Once on a known Plaice area and out with the smaller rods baited with cooked prawns we soon started getting bites from Plaice and Dabs which was great fun on light gear. After everybody had managed a few Plaice we called it a day and headed back to land all very happy with the days fishing.
We woke up to yet more overcast conditions with low fog which were not the best conditions but we had to deal with what was given. The plan was to Halibut fish for a while when the tide was right then swap over and fish for the Coalies in the stream as it was perfect conditions for the stream.
There was not much to report on the Halibut front as they were just not biting due to the weather conditions, all our baits were fresh and rigs and hooks sharp but, unfortunately, they were just not playing ball. So I called it a day on the Halibut and motored the short steam to the stream where conditions were looking great for some top water action for the Coalies.
All rigged up I set the boat up for the first drift and boom, the first Coalie hits, then another then another this was insane fishing with lots of mid 20’s coming to the boat. Then all of a sudden we started to hit bigger fish in the slightly deeper water. We managed to land 12 x 30lb+ Coalfish one after another up to an amazing 36lb.
This type of fishing is off the scale when it comes to fishing in Norway and it must be the best place in the whole of Norway for large Coalfish. After several hours of hitting these super charged Coalfish the guys had had enough and were feeling it in their arms and backs so we all decided to make our tracks back to land for some nice food and some beers. Again, we had two very happy boats
Weather conditions were supposed to be overcast and a bit windy but I guess the weather men had got it wrong this day. As we pulled away from harbour, yes it was cloudy and foggy, but with in an hour of fishing the sun started to break through and in turn burnt the clouds away leaving the weather looking bang on for some Halibut fishing. The pressure was still low which was a little bit of a concern but we decided to fish for them any way. Back to the Halibut grounds and everything was looking bang on for some fish but again it just didn’t happen. We had lots of bites from Halibut but just couldn’t get the hooks to set, we tried lots of different things but they just wouldn’t hang on to the baits, but that’s fishing I guess. I believe this evening one of the other boats went out for a night session and managed to land a Halibut of 225cm which is what we came for so a massive well done to the anglers for their persistence.
Last days fishing and it was all or nothing today and with the pressure rising and clear skies things were looking good. We had lost two of our anglers this day on my boat due to us sneaking out for a whole tide during the night to try and get Kev his Halibut, Kev has been with me a few times now and only managed smaller sized Halibut and I really wanted him to get his big Halibut so I made a decision to take him out for an extra session during the night as the conditions and tide during the night time were spot on. After a couple of hours of fishing Kev finally connected with a Halibut only small but it’s a start. Fish released and rigs back down and Kev only goes and hooks another one but this one was also small but at least he had a couple and maybe next time it will be his time to land the monster. Anyway, back on with the last days fishing, so just three of us ventured out in my boat and the full crew in the guide boat.
Once on the Halibut grounds out went our baits along with a huge amount of anticipation on what the last day would hold. Well, after several hours and I don’t know how many new drifts our boat decided to change tack and spend the last few hour fishing for the Coalfish.
This was certainly a very good move as the stream was boiling with Coalfish and it was fish after fish. We spent a few hours breaking PB’s, trolling deep diving lures behind the boat, casting surface lures and casting shallow diving lures it truly was a remarkable days fishing and one that will stay with us for a while. Even I managed to get a go today as there were less people in the boat and with fish to just over 30lb, my arms were aching from all the action and it wasn’t until towards the end of the day something very powerful grabbed my lure. This fish felt heavy and kept taking line of my little Stella reel and once I had finally beaten it up popped a monster of a Coalfish at just over 40lb it truly was a great end to a very special weeks fishing.
Well, as you can see we had good and bad days fishing but that’s fishing and even the best places in the world has its off days, but its what you make of it. If the Halibut are not feeding then fish for something else, but always remember, be happy and appreciate your surroundings as we are not here forever and need to remember moments like these.
Just one last note – ALL Halibut were treated with care and ALL were released after measuring and a quick picture
Hope you have enjoyed the report from our latest Hosted Norway trip and if you would like to join us one year then get in touch with me personally on firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call me on 01603 407596