Fishing Report Norway God it’s nearly been a week since returning escorting and filming sea fishing in north Norway and what a week it was.
Before departing I had been keeping in constant contact with our operation in Norway about the weather and fishing. Each day it was great to listen just how good the fishing and weather was, temperatures unseasonably in the 20’s+ flat calm seas and fishing its head off. Well that was enough to get my fishing juices flowing I can tell you!
What we did not realize was that the conditions were a miniature time bomb just waiting to happen and within just two days it went off. The unseasonal weather brought the fastest snow melt than most locals can ever remember which caused all sorts of problems. First the National Guard had to be deployed to protect all the bridges because of huge blocks of ice that had sheared off and as they flowed down the rivers endangered just crashing down the bridges. Then as this water entered the fjords not only did it drop the water temperature but what is normally crystal clear water with visibility around 15 to 20 meters, was reduces to 1 to 2 meters. Fishing Report Norway
Hell it couldn’t get any worse could it? And with still 2 days to go I was sure it would start to improve?
On arrival at around 11pm after checking in and setting up the mountain of tackle (why do we always take so much gear?) even though we had been travelling since 10am as the fjord was flat calm everyone was keen to get on the water and wet a line. (Remember it is daylight 24hours per day so it’s up to you when you fish)
It was a short quick session allowing everyone to get the feel of the boats and the fishing, which resulted in some small cod and haddock. Well of to bed to try and get some sleep (Not easy when its daylight all the time)
Fishing Report Norway Day 2
We all woke up to some horrible conditions, wind and rain, but we are all hardened anglers so it was off and on to the water again.
Using our maps we concentrated on a few areas to try and find the fish, however everyone was finding it difficult due to the strong winds. Also with the dirty water we all struggled to find any decent sized fish, the story of the day was lots of classic small Norwegian cod in the 2 -3lb mark along with the odd better fish up to 5 – 6lb.
Fishing Report Norway Day 3
Conditions had improved slightly with the wind easing and broken cloud, all the boats headed off to try different marks with the agreement that should anyone find better fish to contact each other.
For most part of the day it was a similar story as the previous day with plenty of action but again with small fish. However Chris Collins did manage the best cod of the day around 15lb mark, which made a lovely meal for us all!
Just as we had finished cleaning up from tea, we noticed one of the others boats arrived back at the dock, Christian was there to greet them, and what looked like a considerable catch, from the distant view of our balcony. As we saw the fish boxes being unloaded from the boat, we wandered down to have a look. All of a sudden our enthusiasm lifted, as we saw 3 nice sized Halibut, a large Cod (20lb plus) plus numerous other decent sized Cod Haddock and Wolf fish.
As we congratulated them on there catch, I think in the back of everyone’s mind was where had they been catching…! After a quick cigarette, coffee and discussion, we realized that they had been fishing later in the day and had been targeting the shallow bays, where the water clarity was still reasonably good.
Bearing in mind it was now midnight, the decision had to be made… to fish or not to fish! I don’t think anyone needed asking twice, and within a matter of minutes, we were all wrapped up and ready to head back on the water!
Fishing Report Norway Day 4 (the early hours!)
As we made our journey to some new fishing grounds, the weather was glorious, the skies cleared, the wind dropped and the fjord was like a sheet of glass, we saw numerous Porpoises toying on the surface, and sea eagles soaring the steep mountains, hard to believe it was nearly 1.00 in the morning.
We started the first drift around 200m from the shore, in around 50m of water, the plan being to drift into the shallow water of the shore, bays and broken ground in front of us. In the deeper water we found hoardes of Ling to around the 10lb mark, now these give a good account of themselves, but were not what we were after. As we drifted closer to the shore, in the shallower water, we started to land some nice Cod, fish to around the 10-12lb mark, with some nice Haddock in amongst them. It was idyllic, so much so the camera man even had a chance to wet a line, hooking and losing the biggest fish we had experienced on our trip so far. The way the fish stripped line from the Penn International, and bent the 20-30lb rod double, reminded me of something I would usually see from the likes of an amberjack or rooster fish, not that of an Atlantic Cod! After around 2 minutes of playing the fish, or more like the fish playing the angler! The hooks pulled and the fish was gone…was it a Cod…?! More likely I think it was a large Halibut.
We fished right through until the 10.00 the next morning, exploring all the bays, islands, and features along the way, even finding a lovely looking tide rip (where two currents met) which produced even more Cod, Haddock, a prehistoric looking Wolf Fish and even a Halibut, nothing like the size of the one we had lost earlier, but a nice fish all the same, around the 10lb mark.
As we steamed back to the accommodation, tired and fatigued from the nights exertions, all we wanted to do was to head back out! We knew those bigger fish had to be out there!
After a few hours sleep, we woke up around tea time and were raring to go once more. Within around an hour the boats were filled with Fuel, spare traces were tied, hooks sharpened and food and drink prepared.
The plan was to once again head to the same mark as the previous night. As we steamed out there hopes were high, the weather, although not as good as the previous night was nice enough to fish comfortably. We landed more of the same as the previous night, but we did manage a couple of bigger fish, with Paul Stevens landing a Cod of around the 14lb mark and Chris Collins landing the biggest Haddock of the trip, a shade over 5lb.
However the session was cut short, as in the distance the sky turned a horrible grey, the clouds rolled over the mountains and the wind increased. We had been warned about these features by the guide, who said if you ever see two different cloud formations meeting across the fjord from opposite sides, get ready to run, as its going to get rough! Within a matter of minutes the weather had gone from pleasant to rough! (So typical of Norweign weather, each fjord seemed to have its own micro climate!) We just managed to stay one step ahead of the squall, and with the wind constantly chasing our tail, we steamed home in what must have been a record time! Although the session had been cut short, it allowed us to catch up on some much needed sleep, and even allowed for a impromptu drinking session! I think my head finally hit the pillow around 6.00am, so much for the much needed sleep!
Fishing Report Norway Day 5
Some of the other customers had, reported some good fishing with lots of fish over 10lb and many to just under 20lb, in the northern bays to the side of the road bridge. There for we decided to give it a go.
The afternoon session was productive with massive amounts of small coalfish (ideal bait fish, the bigger one’s must have been here), average sized cod and a small Halibut even made an appearance for Tom Bindley.
Myself and Paul’s boat decided to return to this spot for an evening session and boy are we glad we did! This time around we fished the drop off, along the main shipping channel, now the drift was perfect, the light evening breeze pushed us along at such a pace that everything was working perfectly and we had drifts set up that lasted for nearly 45 minutes per drift. First drift everyone in both boats were straight in to Cod, nothing big but a good sign all the same. The next thing I knew was a shout from Paul’s boat, that Chris had hooked something much larger, and by the look of his rod he was not wrong. After a hard spirited fight that took Chris around the boat, a dustbin lid sized Halibut broke the surface before quickly being gaffed and brought aboard. The fish weighed in at a few ounces under 20lb, and was a welcome sight for us all. Fishing Report Norway
Second drift and I noticed that Paul’s boat set up another drift over where Chris had hooked and landed his Halibut, where as I decided to set up a second drift at the bottom of the channel drop off. Again like on my first drift I was straight into fish, with the average stamp being slightly bigger than the norm. After a few fish, and around 10 minutes of drifting, my fish finder, for the first time showed I was starting to drift over a massive shoal of fish. With every drop I landed single, double and even treble hook ups, of Cod ranging from the 5-15lb mark, this was a magical hours fishing, all captured on film, for our new Dvd, this just showed how the fishing should/could be like in Norway with correct conditions. I was even lucky enough to hook and land a Cod over the magical 20lb barrier, a fish weighing in at just over 22lb. I shouted across to Pauls boat, who was only around 40m away, but fishing a completely different depth of water, to come join me, as he was still struggling with the smaller fish. As he motored the boat slightly to my left, we both drifted in harmony with all anglers catching fish on every drop, with many fish in double figures topped by a stunning beast of a Cod at just over 25lb for Stephen Crowe. We all returned to the digs, tired, covered in fish slime, but did we care…! It called for a celebratory drink and game of cards before we retired to bed.
Fishing Report Norway Day 6 (last day)
After last nights action we naturally decided to return back to the same mark, however this time the fish didn’t play ball, and with the gusty wind making drifts, too short and quick, it made for near impossible conditions. We there for decided to take the decent steam up to the opposite end of the fjord, where we would be able to find a sheltered bay, which would allow us to drift effectively.
We spent our last few hours of our trip setting up drifts in very shallow clear water of around 5-20m, with the tide and breeze easing us into deeper water of 20-40m as we drifted. Although on each drift we connected with small codling, with odd fish to just over double figures, we did not find an huge concentration of fish. However one of the things this particular bay was famous for was giant Halibut. In the short time we fished here, both I and Stephen hooked into what must have been some of its famous residents, as they made our 30-50lb class boat rods, look like avon quivertip rods! On the initial take, it felt like you had just hooked the bottom, but this bottom was moving! The fish pulled hard and stripped meters and meters of line for all of the 5 minutes we were connected to them, before unfortunately the hooks pulled. We headed back to the camp for the last time and prepared for our journey home.
On reflection, it appeared that even if conditions were bad, with the weather and water clarity being poor, you are still able to get good results, if you put in the hours, think about your fishing and explore as many area’s as you can.
On the way home in the plane the talk of the group was, what if the weather had been different… what sizes were those hooked Halibut… and when could we all come back!
Regards Peter Collingsworth
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