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Jigging in Norway

A lively boat fishing forum, with help and advice on sea fishing in the UK. Join the discussion on tackle and techniques (incluA lively boat fishing forum, with help and advice on sea fishing in the UK. Join the discussion on tackle and techniques (including SPJ).

Norway August 2012

I received a phone call from Martin Founds at “Anglers World Holidays” as he was inviting me to join him on a trip to Norway where I would at last get to try out my Jigs for the cold water species. I would be assisting angling journalist Dave Lewis with fishing and photo opportunities at a Fiskecamp on the Island of Senja that Martin was hoping to add to his Norway Profile, firstly though we would be visiting more familiar territory. Martins office soon arranged my flight and within a week the three of us had landed at Tromso Airport in Northern Norway where we collected our hire car and made our way towards Skjervoy. I have stayed at the Skjervoy Fiskecamp a couple of times before fishing from the Self Drive Boats and for the first part of this trip we were going to use one of these boats to ferry us around the island of Haukoya and into Reinfjord where we would be staying to fish for the first couple of days. The 24 hour daylight at this time of year meant that our early arrival at 1am. was not a problem and so after a quick shower it was time to get some sleep to be refreshed for fishing later.

I’ve had much success on my many previous visits to Norway using the more traditional Pirks and Shads but this time I wanted to use my Jigs with Assist Hooks instead of the Large Trebles we normally use. I have caught Cod on Jigs before and some friends of mine had recently returned from fishing with my Jigs off the Shetland Isles where they caught a number of species so I had every confidence. After a few hours’ sleep and some breakfast, Dave and I loaded our 20/30lb class boat rods and my spinning rod onto the self-drive and left Reinfjord heading out towards Olderfjord where we knew of some marks that had produced on previous trips.

Before we had left Reinfjord we were greeted by a pod of False Killer Whales (the third largest member of the oceanic dolphin family) that are known to be the proverbial kiss of death as somehow fish seem to sense the danger and stop biting when these are around so we continued on to our original target area. About twenty minutes later we manoeuvred into the sheltered Olderfjord and started to fish, we were in 65 metres of water but takes were few and far between using both Pirks and Jigs. After trying a few different areas we had both caught a few Cod, nothing sizeable by Norway standards but a couple of double figure fish none the less. Then Dave noticed that the sea birds had gathered in large numbers and were working the water off a headland point so we quickly moved towards them as I tied a 45g Bullet jig to the spinning outfit. Once in the area it was clear to see that a very large shoal of coalfish had rounded up some baitfish, I cast into the chaos and started to retrieve with immediate effect and I soon had a coalfish of about four pounds in the boat. These fish were all between three and six pounds in size and they were just nailing the casting jigs, I tried 35g and 45g and both were equally productive. Whilst I was having fun with the spinning gear Dave was trying a large Shad in an attempt to imitate the coalfish and entice something much larger but believe it or not he was also catching these coalies.

Sometime later we decided to move out into the open water and give the pirks and jigs another try and this time we found ourselves amongst massive shoals of much smaller coalfish that were seemingly impossible to fish through so we decided to make our way back to the entrance of Reinfjord where we had seen birds working earlier when the False Killer Whales were present. We were once again in 65metres but this time our Jigs were hit almost as soon as they reached the sea bed and we were both into some better size Cod, the Jigs were working perfectly. The beauty of using an assist hook is firstly less foul hooked fish but more importantly they generally deliver a clean hook hold which makes for an easier release and less damage to the fish. Also because of their “fast drop” design we were able to use lighter Jigs which require much less effort to work effectively.

Our first drift produced Cod and the odd Haddock almost every drop down and a lot of these fish were over Twenty pounds and close to thirty so Dave repositioned the boat each time to ensure that we covered the same area and the fish just kept coming. It’s easy to get a bit blasé when catching so many fish with such ease but our experience has taught us to always be ready for anything out of the ordinary and that’s just what happened next. Dave was using one of my 350g Jigs and it had been taken by something that was clearly a much larger fish than the ones we had been catching. The fish was stripping line from the reel with ease as it made many attempts to escape showing all the characteristics of a decent size Halibut and after four or five lunging dives Dave finally got the fish to the surface where we could see that our assumptions were correct. Boating a good size Halibut should not be undertaken lightly as these are immensely powerful fish that can wreak havoc once on board so with as much care as possible using a piece of wood with a nail pierced into one end that the Norwegians call a Gaff we eventually managed to slide the fish over the gunnels. We both estimated the fish at around 75lbs, a very respectable fish that was more than eight inches thick and Dave had achieved one of his objectives on this trip. After a couple more drifts and a few more Cod and Haddock we decided to return to the house where we were staying and it was fresh fish for supper.

Later that evening Dave had retired early but Martin and I decided to take a walk to see what was around. The midnight sun made it feel like a midday stroll as we walked around the bay crossing ice-melt streams making our way up to higher ground where we found ourselves amongst a small herd of reindeer that were grazing with their young, the scenery was spectacular and hard to believe it was past midnight. By morning the weather was overcast with rain squalls and we could see that the sea had become too rough to fish in comfort so we held off to see if conditions would improve. Finally the sea calmed and the sunshine returned so the three of us boarded the boat and returned to the same area that was so productive just 24 hours previously. Dave used the boats GPS to position us in exactly the same spot and all three of us started fishing. This turned out to be a short session of just a couple of hours as the fish were not as abundant as before and it was at times quite a struggle to catch anything. Though we moved around the fjord fishing different areas the fishing was hard and it was difficult to explain why fish would be there one day but not the next when conditions were the same? We believe that the fish were shoaling up and moving around the fjord chasing the bait fish and we had just struck lucky the day before by following the Birds.
Our time at Reinfjord had come to an end so we returned the boat to the Skjervoy Fiskecamp and got back into the hire car to make our way to the island of Senja, a four hour drive away. As we arrived we were directed to a newly built and modern fitted apartment that was to be our accommodation for the next few days. The lounge area was conveniently sited with a dual aspect glass-wall effect that overlooked the sheltered harbour and gave us a full view of the activities outside. There is a lot more going on around here with many people making day visits, quite a long way from the quiet and seclusion we had encountered the past few days but equally as enjoyable. We introduced ourselves to the complex manager and co-owner who showed us the boat we were to be using, a larger aluminium body this time with a 130hp outboard and immaculately clean and tidy, we couldn’t wait. After a safety check of the boat and the fishing map as there are around a hundred small Islands and plenty of reef areas to fall foul here we were ready to go fishing.

We stopped at the first bay we came to and sent the jigs over the side with instant success, not cod but very good size haddock in the five to eight pound bracket and we only needed 200g jigs so jigging was easy. After a couple of dozen fish we moved on around a rocky headland and into a completely sheltered fjord where the surface was like glass and the scenery just stunning. The birds were working again so we moved towards them and Dave started jigging while I reverted once again to using my spinning outfit and we were both into fish straight away. Dave was catching some good size cod and I was hooked fast into decent coalfish, the place was alive with fish. I simply lost count of the number of fish caught as the day progressed and the cod were ever present despite the coalfish coming and going so action was almost non-stop. Whilst I had stuck to using my jigs with much success, Dave varied it a bit by putting on a large Rubber Shad retrieving it slowly from the bottom and this was also producing the cod until it was taken on the drop prompting Dave to thumb the spool to engage and pull hard into something larger. This fish turned out to be another Halibut and it was weighed at 50lbs, an incredible site to see in the clear glass-like sea and a fitting end to the day.

The following day we tried many different marks with varying success but decided to return to the fjord where the fishing was pretty much the same as before with many more cod and haddock, the only difference was Dave catching a mackerel on the spinning gear, that was my supper sorted.
It was now time to leave for home after what had to be seen as a successful trip, Dave had managed not one but two good size Halibut, Martin had a new very respectable Fiskcamp to offer UK Anglers and I had proved that my Jigs and casting Spoons work just as well as anything else in cold water as well as the tropics.

Product References
Casting Jigs: 28g  35g  45g
Vertical Jigs: 160g  180g  190g  200g  350g  Squid Jig 200g

What`s it all about?

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