Making a fishing trip to Norway has long been a dream of mine. The seed was first planted after reading a magazine article on the subject some years ago. This re-awakened once I read Kennedy’s excellent article on his trip to Skarnsundet Fjordcenter in Trondheim Fjord. It looked and sounded like a place where you are guaranteed to catch some nice fish. It didn’t take much persuasion to get my colleague to join me on such a venture.
So on the second Sunday of November, four of us deployed. There was Nige, his father and their friend Steve from Clanfield and me, the Leighparker. We choose to fly from Heathrow to Trondheim via Oslo on SAS. For the return flight and an extra bag it was about £280. There is a direct flight on Norwegian Airlines from Gatwick but it didn’t suit us this time. When we arrived at Oslo there was a bit of a kerfuffle because our bags took a while to arrive, especially the rods and the unhelpful check-in assistant wanted to see the receipt for the extra fee we paid for the rod tubes even though they had baggage tags through to Trondheim. I had lost the receipt almost immediately after being given it. She wouldn’t budge so we ignored her, gave her the other bags and then took the rods over to the oversized baggage check in and sent them through. Smugly thinking we had beaten her, we minced our way over to the departure gate. I handed the dolly dealer my boarding pass and an alarm sounded with a ‘not allowed to board’ message appearing on her read out. Our nemesis back in check in had done her evil work well. The queue was backing up behind me and our luggage had been loaded so I was let on the plane regardless. Victory was ours, though lesson 1 learned, keep hold of any receipts.
Phill Dale, our host from Nordic Sport fishing, collected us at Trondheim and whisked us to Skarnsundet in his blue VW van, which was perfect as an anglers transport. After dropping our kit in the apartment, we all went out onto the pier surrounding the marina for a quick fishing session. We were soon catching small coalfish on lures and some dogfish on baits. First impressions ‘this place is fantastic’!
Day 1: After an early breakfast we started lure fishing off the pier at sunrise. Soon our lures were being hit by decent coalfish in the 4-7lb range. They put up an excellent scrap on our light gear, even snapping Al’s rod when he heaved one up the side of the pier. I was using a Fiish minnow that was very effective, though savage gear sandeels also done the business for Nige.
At 10am Phill collected us and took us to a shore mark at Leksvik. Here we did some bottom fishing using ragworm as bait and caught a collection of small flat fish, coalies with the biggest fish being a Pollack. I’ve seen photos online of some cracking fish caught here before but it didn’t happen for us that day.
Day 2: Phill took us to a quayside near Straumen. It rained and was windy most of the day but we again caught a variety of fish. Steve nabbed our first cod, a fine looking fish and I caught our first haddock. It was a bite a cast and you only reeled in with a fish attached. Bluey and ragworm were the baits. We left just as it was getting dark and headed back to the apartment for some dinner and then Phill collected us again for a night fishing session at the landing on the other side of the bridge. It was raining heavily by now but we gave it a go. We had run out of ragworm by then so were using mackerel and bluey baits. We caught dogfish after dogfish, every cast these creatures cursed us with their presence. Add this to the unrelenting rain and we were glad when Phill arrived in his van.
Day 3: Time to try a different mark, though unfortunately not in different weather. We trudged across Straumen field and cast our lines hoping for some decent fish. Again it was not to be, just a succession of small flatties, coalies and a small cod. Nige hooked what he claimed was a sea trout not once but twice when reeling in his fish bait but it escaped both times, not allowing him to validate his claims. We soon grew tired of the weather and Phill and his van couldn’t arrive soon enough.
It was 3pm and the light was starting to fade. Phill suggested we try lure fishing with shads in the ebbing tidal channel that rips past Straumen. I quickly set up my lure rod and attached a 5 inch Kopyto relax shad and a 40g jig head and made my way down the slippery weed strewn boulders to water’s edge. The idea was to cast straight out into the raging channel and then let the shad swim downstream in the current. You have to maintain contact with it and lift it clear of the many snags en-route. Then just before it swings back in to the slack water at the end of the arc, that’s when the cod would grab it. After a few casts the light left us and head lamps were deployed. I moved location a couple of times and the rain kept pouring. But casting that lure out and maintaining contact to prevent getting snagged, I soon lost all sense of my surroundings and the rain, it was all about keeping the shad going and feeling for the fish. This was truly one of the best fishing experiences I have ever had. I felt a couple of pulls on the shad tail and then Phill shouted that he caught one. My shad had just reached the end of the swim and just as I started to reel up, bang a cod hit it and swam away in the current. The reel protested as the line was pulled off by the escaping cod. I carefully played the cod towards me, mindful of the many snags to negotiate. A lovely brown spotted fish appeared in my head lamp, success at last, a nice 61/2 pounder! My chums unfortunately didn’t fare so well and gave up after losing a lot of their lures. Lesson 2, bring a lot of shad tails and jig heads, its worth it trust me.
Day 4: We elected to stay and fish the pier by the accommodation. It was a decent and convenient session, we caught some more coalies, haddock some small codling etc. I even hooked a sea bird that mistook my lure for a fish whilst it was hunting underwater. Luckily it was foul hooked in the head away from any vital parts and we soon had him on his way none the worse for it. In the evening Steve and Nige went back to the quay at Straumen and Phill and I had another session on the shads in the Straumen tidal rip. This, I felt, was lure fishing at its finest. The cod must have been attracted by the vibrations made by the shad tails because they sure wouldn’t be able to see them. Once again Phill was into the first fish whilst I was losing ground to the snags. I moved location and again at the end of the swim, bang, a cod smashed the lure. This one was in great condition again though slightly smaller than my first one, but honestly the size didn’t matter, it was the whole experience that made it great.
Day 5: Julian, Phill’s assistant, took us out in one of their boats for some light tackle lure fishing. We caught a few cod, mostly small, a haddock and a whiting. Steve hooked into something massive later on in the session that went off like a steam train almost taking him and his rod with it. Unfortunately he snapped off. Damn disappointing that was, but that’s fishing. We finished off the trip with one last night’s session off the pier, more haddock, small cod and the odd dog fish.
The journey back was made with heavy hearts and vows to return again next year. We didn’t get any doubles this time (probably more to our amateurish tactics than lack of fish) but it was a good first look at a fantastic location, tailor made for the angler who shouldn’t ever leave disappointed. Phill was a great host and the facilities were first rate. Maybe we had a bad week, big fish wise but there is only one way to find out if that was the case. Still 12 different species, 13 if you include the bird, it was great to be catching fish.