We departed Gatwick full of optimism for the week’s fishing ahead in Bodo. The group before us had caught 18 halibut, double figure coalfish and cod and the odd wolf fish. The situation was looking promising. But on the last day with two hours left to fish, we had still to get a decent halibut and time was running out fast.
Day 1 we travelled to Eidet and fished the head of the fjord. This is not a hugely productive mark halibut wise but its where I caught my first and you always get one or two with persistence. It was calm with sporadic rain showers. Some nice cod showed, guzzling baits set for halibut and I had one halibut run that quickly spat out the bait. Fun was had using lures catching coal fish and pollack but as the day wore on and the tide ebbed to low, it was obvious that the halibut had failed to make an appearance or simply weren’t hungry.
Day 2 we tried a southern mark near Bertnes. This is a rocky perch above some deep water. Again the cod got to our baits first and having fished the full ebb, the heavy rain drove us off the mark and back to the apartment to dry out. We planned an evening trip down near the pier in Bodo but the wind strengthened which prevented any more fishing that day.
On the morning of day 3 the wind was gusting from the west and the only sheltered mark available was back at Eidet. On arrival the water was boiling with thousands of small coal fish being predated upon by their larger brothers. A dolphin swam nearby and joined in the feast. Some unwanted cod took our baits and by early afternoon we’d had enough.
5am start on day 4 and the pressure was mounting. We opted for the pier mark whilst the wind temporarily abated. Nige hooked a large cod that spat the bait as he wound into it. As he is reeled in, the greedy cod followed it to the surface. It looked big, at least a 30 pounder. It took the bait in its mouth again in full view of us but spat it out and disappeared back into the depths. The wind started getting up and we packed up and moved to another mark. At this mark it was a little bit more sheltered at first but as the wind swung round we bore the brunt as it swept across us from left to right. We caught cod and coalfish on both lures and bait. When it got too rough we hastily beat a retreat back to the apartment. Everything to play for tomorrow.
Final day, we got up early and took the ferry one last time and headed back to Eidet. It was our only option, everywhere else was being smashed by the wind. It was sheltered and calm there but persistent rain squalls swept through. I got a run on a whole bluey cast close in. It felt like a halibut and as I gained line, the braid pinged on a rock and the fish was free. We sat and waited, both of us knowing time was running out but still hopeful. We’d fish until the last minute. I was very reluctant to leave and would stay late, whatever it took. My rod tip twitched a few times and some line spooled from the reel. Instantly alert I stood by, watching things unfold and hoping that a big fish was about to rip line off my reel. Gradually my rod tip bent over as a fish took the bait and swam off a little. It must have stopped when it felt some resistance. I took up my rod, reeled in the slack. I couldn’t really feel anything on the end of my line and quickly became dejected. Not again, the fish had spat out the bait! Suddenly line started tearing off and the drag sang its wonderful tune, fish on! I carefully loosened the drag further and the fish swam off in short bursts. I gained some line and it was taken again. With 80lb power pro as the mainline there was no way this line was giving way, it was like a tow rope! After 5 minutes of give and take the fish got jammed solid in some rocks. I calmly waited and the fish obliged by swimming out of the snag and freeing the line once more. Another 3 minutes of carefully playing the fish he surfaced, a chunky halibut! Nige carefully gaffed him and we got him ashore up the rocky slope. I silently mouthed a prayer of thanks, took a quick photo and then dispatched the beast. 28 pounds and fat with it! My personal best. We’d done it! We carried on fishing for a spell in the hope Nige would get one too but with the tide almost at the bottom of its range, the fish were long gone.
It was a good week as all weeks in Norway are. We both had head colds so we didn’t really have a burning desire to fish super long sessions. Something that is often required when halibut is your foe. They don’t tend to hang around in one place and their run through can be brief and violent. With no way of knowing when this will be , you have to patiently wait through the whole tide range. Next time.