I can’t believe this trip has been and gone and as I sit here writing my report I am already counting down the days for when I return.
This was a new destination for me as a host and after speaking to many of our customers who had already fished this location, expectations were at an all-time high as previous anglers that I know had experienced some very good fishing at Vesterålen.
What I was really looking forward to was the amazing Ling fishing this location offers as I have never targeted them and this location threw up some very large Ling last year over 30 kilos, so as you can imagine my excitement was high.
After asking around I soon had some rigs sent to me from a good friend of mine Paul Adams and these looked the business. They were rigged with some pretty sharp hooks. All that was left to do was rig them with a dead Coalfish and a lead then all was good to go.
We were flying out with SAS from London Heathrow to Oslo then on to Harstad/Narvik. Once we arrived we ladened down with tons of tackle and rods and reels. We made our way out of the terminal building and took the ‘Fly Bus’ to a village called Sortland where there was a private minibus to take us the rest of the way to the cabins.
All these transfers are included and are very straight forward to find. The ‘Fly Bus’ journey took roughly 2hours then the private mini bus was around 50 minutes and took you right outside your cabin, everything ran like clockwork and by 6pm we all found ourselves checking out our cabin for the week, which I must say was stunning and more than enough rough for our group.
Once unpacked Marcus, our guide, and good friend Johan made their way over to our cabin for a brief introduction and to ask the group what their targets were for the week. Everybody agreed that on the first days fishing we would just head out and catch as many fish as possible with Cod and Coalies being the main aim. So with this in mind Marcus suggested a mark which was around a 50 minute steam from the harbour which had been producing many Cod the previous weeks. So with the excitement of what tomorrow would bring, all the guys soon had their rods all set up, rigged with all manner of end tackle and before we knew it, it was 2 am. We all agreed that we should at least try and get some sleep (for those who have not been to Norway at this time of the year when the sun is shining at 2 am, it is very hard to get some sleep).
With all the boats loaded we headed to the mark that Marcus suggested and it soon became apparent that there were a lot of Cod present. After quite a few hours of catching Cod ranging from 10lb to 40lb the Cod decided to switch off and as everybody was flagging a little from the long journey the previous day and of course tired from catching many Cod we made the decision to head back to the cabins as the next day the weather was looking ok to head out on the long trip for some monster Cod and Ling (which was music to my ears).
That night the guides came round to see us to explain what was going to happen the following day, they also had some bad news for us that the weather was going to change for the worse in the next couple of days so we had to make the best of what we had and definitely head out tomorrow on the long trip as it may be our only chance. So with this news everybody set about making lunches, refreshing their rigs and leaders and attempting to get an early night ready for our next days fishing.
Early the next day we all awoke to the sound of each other’s alarms and soon found ourselves making a good hearty breakfast as today was the day we would head out for a long trip. Normally this trip would take around 1.5 hours to steam too but today, there was already a good swell on the open ocean and the wind was up to around 7m/s. So after what felt like a lot longer than 2 hours we found ourselves on the mark, a little beaten up but pleased we could start fishing.
With the state of the tide, we decided to Cod fish first then change over to the Ling once the Cod stopped feeding. On these long trips, it is very important to go out to these marks in conveying and this was the case on this day as all the boats headed out together.
With 6 boats all searching the area we soon found some huge Cod that were up for some lures and before long we were all bent into some very hard fighting perfect conditioned Cod. After several hours of Cod fishing, they slowly stopped feeding so a call was made to go and try for the Ling. This mark was only a couple of nautical miles from the Cod grounds so with short steam over we found the Ling mark which was located on some very steep shelves.
As I have previously mentioned, I have never fished or targeted Ling and didn’t really know what to expect, so when we all baited our rigs I didn’t really know how long it would take to get a bite or even how many we would be catching. Well, we were just about to find out…… down went the baits and literally as soon as they hit the bottom we all started receiving bites. This was awesome and not long after, Ling started to be landed ranging from 10lb to 40lb on all manner of rigs. If you have ever caught these at this size you will agree with me that they are horrible to deal with, slimy and have pretty sharp teeth which one of the guys found out when he went to grab his pirk and one of the Ling decided that he hand looked like something good to eat……. Ouch! It looked awful and after a fair amount of time we managed to stop his fingers bleeding, and all he said was “oh well lets get another one!”
That was pretty much it for that day, well that’s what we thought. On the way back we were surrounded by Orca’s feeding on a large shoal of bait fish. This was something I have always wanted to witness and yet another species of Whale off my list. We managed to get very close to the pod and take some amazing pictures and videos and after around an hour of watching the majestic beasts, we decided to carry on with our journey back to harbour and leave the Orca’s to carry on with their business. What an amazing experience.
Day 3 and 4
The 3rd and 4th day was blown off with winds of around 17 – 20m/s it was impossible to get out. Day 3 (Sunday) we sat around the cabin watching football and the formula 1 whilst I rustled up a lovely roast for 9 people….. don’t tell my wife as she will expect one every weekend. Day 4 (Monday) I took everybody out for the day in the mini bus and done a little tour of the surroundings taking in some great artwork and stopping for cake and coffee in a smart little café we found. Check out the stone statue and how detailed it is…….
Once we had returned from our little day trip Marcus the guide came round and informed us that we would be able to get out tomorrow but it would still be very lumpy and windy but there would be areas to try for the Halibut if we wanted. Well, he didn’t need to ask us twice and with this news, everyone picked their chins up and got things set for the next day.
We couldn’t go out too early due to the wind still blowing but around 11 am we were given the all clear and headed to a straight under a bridge with a strong current. Not the intended area but better than being in the cabin for another day. Halibut was the target of the day and after 5 minutes of very fast drifting Colin on the boat had got himself a small Halibut of around 80cm which was soon released. Unfortunately, that was it for the day after trying many different areas, the Halibut just didn’t want to feed. We did on the other boat hear over the Radio that Nick had managed a Halibut of 123 cm which is an awesome fish so well done Nick.
The last days fishing and all the anglers fancied having another go for the Halibut which I was up for as we hadn’t done much and had been restricted to areas that were not brilliant. With a new plan hatched we motored off to a new mark, again a straight that flowed under a very large road bridge at some speed. This area is known to hold some pretty large Halibut and another big bonus is that the water here is stuffed with shoals of Cod so if you don’t want to Halibut fish then fish for the Cod, which a couple of the guys did do. Anyway, once we found a likely looking area and positioned the boat we were drifting perfectly.
After only half hour David on my boat was into what looked like a good Halibut and after a short battle, we had the Halibut secured to the boat ready for pictures. Now this fish was in the size bracket where anglers can take them, but David decided to release this fish which pleased me greatly as I never like seeing Halibut kept no matter what their size. Well done David. That was pretty much it for the Halibut apart from our other boat who managed two smaller ones, we did catch lots of Cod between 5lb and 15lb during the day which kept the guys happy. We soon realised it was time to head back to the cabins for the final evening where we had to clean the boats, pack our bags and clean the cabin, but the guys had a good days fishing and more importantly a good weeks holiday.
Even though we lost some days fishing all the guys enjoyed their holiday and caught plenty of fish even in tough conditions. This destination has so much potential and so many untapped fishing areas just waiting for to try. I would highly recommend a weeks stay here if you are after a good mixed bag of fish up to some pretty impressive sizes. Marcus, the head guide is very good at his job and keeps the camp and boats in tip-top condition.
I would just like to thank Nordic Sea Angling and of course the whole group for making this week a great week and hopefully, I will get to fish with you all again soon. If you would like to speak to me about this destination in Norway or any other destination you can call me on 01603 407596. Alternatively, you can view all our dates and other reports on the tour page.