Atlantic halibut in Norway


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Posted by Jeroen Schoondergang on 2018-08-06 00:26:44

Hi guys,

It has been way too long that I have posted something here, sorry for that Dan. Wanted to share with you a trip I did last June, to settle some unfinished business.
The past couple of years I have been making an annual pilgrimage to arctic Norway to fly fish the salt water. To me the north of Norway is the ultimate fix for the DIY-fly fisho who wants to catch lots of species of fish using a variety of methods.
My 'holy grail' has always been the Atlantic halibut. Over the years I have had several close encounters, from followers to fish nudging my fly, but never takers. This trip however we did get lucky.
We fished an area called Nappstraumen, a channel between two islands of the Lofoten archipelago, arguably the most beautiful fishing spot in the world. Nappstraumen is well known for producing very big (6' and bigger) flounders for bait and lure fishermen. And as we weren't aiming for anything this big, we thought this might be the place for us.
As our main target of these trips is to have fun and fish rods we like to cast all day, our fishing is more like a lottery than a specific species hunt. We use rods in the #6 to #8 range and we custom cut T-line shooting heads to fit our needs and join them to mono running lines.
Nappstraumen didn't disappoint, as on our first outing I connected with a little flounder on one of my first casts I was amazed about the fast runs and stamina of this fish, which only measured around 25". It is always a very special moment if the fish you have targeted for such a long time is lifted over the transom.
But our business with the world's biggest flatfish species wasn't finished yet. Two days later we were out again while a nasty northwesterly blowing against the tide, was turning the channel into a tumble dryer. Just as we were contemplating that the conditions were too extreme to continue fishing, my buddy Rob connected to something very solid and pulled the tip of his 8wt into the water. The fight lasted for 40 clocked minutes, with Rob doing battle with the fish and fighting to stay upright and myself doing all I can to keep the bow of our little vessel straight on the waves. When we landed his adversary, we knew the halibut ban was finally broken. The fish was a bit over 40". After two minutes for pictures we released this 'just legal' halibut and hoped we'd never hook one twice this size.
Arctic Norway is highly recommended for any salt water fly fisherman wanting to break new grounds. The area you fish in is of a breathtaking beauty. In most places there is excellent accommodation for hire, often combined with great boats. We use a lot of different techniques, with dredging with weighted flies being our least favorite.
In late spring there are places where you can sight cast for cod to 40" that are fattening up on crabs after spawning. Coalfish of a similar size sometimes break the surface and can be targeted using topwater flies. For deeper places to 80 feet, we use short and heavy shooting heads with very short leaders. This setup enables us to fish unweighted flies (the sliders tied by Floris van den Berg being my favorite) to catch anything that bites, from big cod to coalfish, pollack, haddock to halibut.
Check out Lofotenfiske.com to check out our latest fishing venue.

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