When it comes to fishing foreign waters from the shore, Norway is one that ranks highly amongst places UK anglers wish to visit. There are a couple of half decent destinations where anglers can travel to and have the chance of catching a good fish. What I wanted to find was somewhere that gave the angler what I would want when travelling to Norway, somewhere that is fairly unheard of and somewhere that very big fish are actually accessible for even novice shore anglers.
That is where the Lofoten Islands popped into my mind, year after year customers have been sent to our camps on the Island and they always catch some truly phenomenal fish including 2 metre plus halibut within casting distance from the shore. With this in mind a plan was hatched for Ross Johnson and I to head out for Sportquest holidays and do some test fishing to find some marks and see what we could find in the way of fish. This was make or break, could we create a shore angling destination on the Lofoten Islands that would be good for anglers to visit in numbers where they have a realistic chance of hooking a monster? We were about to find out.
Ross and I arrived at Leknes airport after a very hassle free flight, we were then picked up in a spacious minibus that will be used to ferry the customers around all week and within 10 minutes we were walking into the cabin we were going to call home for the next couple of weeks. Just a quick one about the cabins we use, these are very luxurious and are in all fairness I would say far too good for anglers to use and with every person staying here getting their own room you will not get any sleepless nights as your mate snores his head off in the other bed. Within minutes of being in the cabins we both had rods out, nice chunky bluey baits were lobbed off the balcony outside the cabins, these can be fished from whenever you wish and even the water outside the cabins holds lots of fish with the chance of big halibut and plaice a real possibility. That night we fished a mark that was under a 5 minute drive from the cabins, this was fairly deep water and with the northern lights dancing above us we had a few good bites but didn’t manage to land anything so after a couple of hours we packed up and got some shut eye ready for the next days antics.
The marks we had picked out initially were ones that Ross and I had both looked into using Navionics. We had everything from shallow sandy surf beaches, piers and stone jettys to some very promising looking rock marks that fell away into deep water. With the time of year we were over being the beginning of March the weather was a right mixed bag, we had days of warmth and sunshine and we also had days of proper arctic winter weather with strong winds and blizzard conditions. The best thing about this area we are fishing on the Lofoten Islands is that when the weather closes in there is always a mark you can fish, be it north, south east or west we were always fishing even in the harshest of conditions, we never lost a day and not once did we think about just spending the day sitting in the cabin as we couldn’t get out. With me being there for only one week and Ross 2 weeks it was all hands on deck, we were going to fish it hard and see what we could find out about each mark. The baits we were using for these 2 weeks were the baits that we provide in an unlimited supply to the customers visiting, bluey, herring and mackerel were all on the menu and these proved to be spot on with a wide variety of fish smashing these baits everyday we were there. The first week flew by. We fished many marks and caught a wide variety of fish including halibut, cod, wolffish, coalfish, lumb and plaice. The most memorable day for me was fishing in over minus 12 with blizzards blowing all around us, we drove 5 minutes from our front door to a shallower area off a harbour wall and we spent the day catching plaice and dabs in what can only be described as Baltic conditions! Another big plus point was how clean the ground was here, we hardly lost any tackle at all with even the gnarly rock marks falling off into very snag free ground.
With the first week over I left Ross there and made my way home, the next day I was sat on my sofa when the phone started ringing, it was Ross and as I answered the video call the smile on his face said it all. He had ventured to a mark we had been discussing about fishing all week and within a couple of hours of him being there he had latched into and landed an 82lb halibut. That’s from a mark that had never been fished before within 2 hours of the lines being in the water. This just shows the potential of this destination. I know some very big fish will be landed by visiting anglers and bigger fish will be lost it is just going to be a matter of time before somebody smashes records here and personally I think it will be both halibut and plaice that go first. This is true big fish territory with Ross also managing many other big fish the week he was by himself including nice double figure cod amongst a day where he landed over 20 fish in a session yet again on a mark that had never been fished before, once these marks become fished more with more understanding they should be phenomenal for the visiting anglers.
That was it for our time there, we will be running 2 seasons over to Lofoten with one being March into April which is a great time for cod and halibut and we will also be running an autumn season (September – November)which will be an amazing time for all species but especially for the jumbo halibut and monster plaice that live here. We are back at the end of this October to trial this time of year and see for definite what we can find, I am certainly looking forward to it and I know Ross is too. We will have a group of customers with us on this exploratory trip as well so if you want to join us or find out more information give us a call in the office on 01603 407596 or alternatively visit the Sportquest website www.sportquestholidays.com and request a brochure or view the many other amazing trips we do.