This week, the guys over at A on the Lofoten islands had a visit from two customers ready for some full-on Halibut action, the trip really did exceed any expectations we all had! –
Magical introduction to Å! – A fantastic time Halibut Fishing
Finally, a new week is underway here on Lofoten! This week we have a visit from Eirik and Morten from Moss, who have visited our camp at Å several times before. The weather reports showed that this week would be nice, and we were really looking forward to going out to sea early Friday morning. There have not been many guests at the camp lately, so we knew very little about how the fishing was. But it turned out to exceed all expectations!
Friday morning, we had agreed to leave the port at 7 in the morning. The plan was to time the fishing with the rising tide, which turned out to be wise. We drove off and rigged up the crochet to pick up some small fish for bait. Once we had collected some, we drove out on a very fine sand flake and let down both a jig and bait. It did not take long before there was contact. Only after a few minutes has something taken the Eiriks bait, he cranks the circle hook firmly until we say stop. Followed by a big long run. Now the Halibut was on its way! The first Halibut of the year was a fact for Eirik, and only after a few minutes of fishing! A nice fish of just over a meter. I got a fish of 70 cm at the beginning of the day, but I noticed that it stopped on the way up when I fought the fish. I didn’t really think much about it until I looked at the Halibut I had caught. It had several chewing marks on the side! There are obviously bigger fish lurking down there. It does not take long before Morten is standing with a rod bend in half. Again it runs, and after a bit of fighting, we can land Morten’s first Halibut for this year as well. Another fish around the meter mark.
We get more fish of this calibre during the day, and there are primarily several contacts or fixed fish on every drift. After a few hours of intensive fishing and many chops and bumps, Morten’s bait fish starts to move. The fish was hooked and swam down to the bottom while Morten sets up the brake. The line shoots out of the reel, and Morten stands with today’s most solid pole bend! This Halibut did not give up so easily and had several trips up and down before we managed to secure today’s top fish! Onboard we measured the fish to 118 cm! And with that, we set off home for the day. Arms and back were tired after a pretty hefty race on Kveita! It was simply extreme at times… A whole canon fishing day!
On Saturday, we were going out again early in the morning. With yesterday’s fishing fresh in our minds, we drove back to the same area. The weather was really nice on Saturday too. It was completely windless at times! We arrived at the fishing spot after getting enough bait for the day. I drop the jig myself at a depth of about 60 meters, and when I look at the echo sounder, a fish comes at full speed up to the jig which is 20 meters from the bottom. So I set the brake and stop the jig, and it claps right away! Followed by a rush, but unfortunately, the fish came off. But that started the gang in the boat, and only a few minutes later both Eirik and Morten stand with their fish in the other of the line! It was a double hookup in progress, and we could land the first fisherman of the day. Both fish were about 95-100 cm, but they are incredibly fun! It was action time.
Usually, I can remember which fish were caught by whom, what size it was, but this day it suddenly became difficult to remember all the fish that came up. There was a double blow in the cabin and pine, and at one point we stood with a triple hookup in the boat! We did not have a single drift without contact with fish on Saturday. Even though the top fish were not giants, it was an incredibly fun day for Eirik and Morten. On one of the drives, Morten slams it, so I decide to crank up and help. I crank as fast as I can, and only 20 meters under the boat it claps to a halibut at full speed and travels away back to the bottom. After several trips up and down, I get a nice fish of 103 cm. But that says a bit about the speed and aggressiveness of the Halibut this day. It’s some of the wildest fishing I’ve been to… There were long and tired arms on all of us, so we ended the fishing after about 6 hours, but we could probably have landed even more Halibut if we continued. It was perhaps not the biggest fish, but the action and speed on the fish, made for an amazing day at sea!
How then was yesterday to be topped? It would probably be difficult, but it was a fantastic day for me on Sunday as well. If not better ..? We leave the harbour around 07:30. After driving only a few minutes from the camp, I see two huge fins on the surface, and quickly realise that the Killer Whales are here! We stop, and are kept company by a herd of about 8 orcas around the boat. A completely unique sight and an insanely cool experience. Especially when the playful young Killer Whales decided to swim at full speed and jump into the air right by the boat. It was simply a perfect start to the day!
But we were going to fish too, and maybe these majestic animals were a good sign? Because when we get to the fishing place, it does not seem as if the halibut have slowed down much. A couple of contacts in the first operation, led to 2 halibut just above the minimum size in the second operation. It continues with contacts and solid fish, but the big ones unfortunately did not appear in the first place. Everyone in the boat had caught a few fish each, and we talked together and found that we should rather spend the last hours trying to get something bigger. We drove to an area that has several peaks and flakes near deep water. Here the big ones use to be able to stand earlier in the year. When we arrive at fishing place no. 2 for the day, the wind has picked up a bit, but it is still fishable. The plan was to drift down a peak and down into a hole of about 60 meters. The operation starts at a depth of about 30 meters, and we slide very nicely obliquely down the edge.
When we come down to a depth of about 45 meters, something comes up on the echo sounder, but it was a bad hit on the soldering. But I look at Eirik, and he looks deeply concentrated. Then I hear the creak go, and Eirik tightens the brake. The rod is closest in an L, and the reel begins to scream. Now there were bigger fish going on! It was the good shakes that showed, and we could see that it was a nicer fish. It would not move, and stood pressing against the bottom for quite some time before Erik could turn his head on it. The fish came slowly upwards, but decided to go down once more before it nicely and nicely came up to the boat.
I got to put the halibut hook and secured a fantastic halibut! After securing it nicely by the boat, we could measure it to 143 cm… After some pictures we put the fish back nicely! Incredibly fun when it flaps as well as this, and the first fish for bigger fish of the day turned out to deliver! We rigged our baits and let the boat drift. We talk laughingly to each other in the boat, when I suddenly see a halibut circulating around the boat. I shout to Eirik that he should ease out the jig. And just a meter below the boat, the halibut does not hesitate for a single second to inhale the jig. Eirik puts a good counterattack, and gives over the bar to Morten. The fish races away a few meters, before it comes up against the boat again. A very nice fish around the meter that we put back nicely after some pictures. It’s so incredibly cool to see when these fish are hunting, and actually taking!
The first 3 days of this week have been absolutely magical! The mass fishing has been absolutely insane, and now we also know that the larger specimens are starting to move inwards as well. The weather for the next few days looks impeccably good, so we can only hope that the fishing is a fraction of what it has been! Because it has really been completely insane at times .. Tomorrow we aim to fish for the larger Halibut, and we will probably take a few hours for Cod on the outer peaks here as well. There will be some just as exciting days ahead here on Å.
Tight Lines // Jørgen Zwilgmeyer