Tuesday 30 August 2022

Victory from the Jaws of Defeat

After my frustrating and expensive short session, losing loads of gear yesterday evening, any sensible person would try a different area.

Trouble is, the fish are there and cleaner, sandy bottoms haven't produced much for me. I couldn't sleep, a single mozzie kept dive bombing me all night and then disappearing when I turned the light on, so I was up at 4 am prepping the gear.

I went back to the snag pit, tried a slightly different swim and hoped I would have no problems. Well, I lost two feeders and four hook lengths but it was well worth it, I had a brilliant few hours.

First two fish were clonking great silver bream weighing 1lb 9oz and 2lb exactly. What a brace !

I was fishing a fixed bolt rig feeder, as striking with a bow in your line, through a 3 or 4oz feeder is pretty inefficient. It worked pretty well.

Next cast the tip fell back and a big dustbin lid of a bream surfaced. Like all these fish, in immaculate condition. On the scales it went 8lb 1oz, what a lump.

I cast out with worm again and a minute later had a classic drop back bite as the feeder was dislodged and another big bream was quickly in the net, this time 8lb 3oz.

Bites continued and I started getting a few ide, including a decent one of 4lb 2oz.

I'm not over keen on ide, they're like a puny chub and always appear thin across the back. Most of the fighting seems to start when they're in the net.

The next fish was a big surprise, a 5lb7oz tench. A tench in water that needs a 3 or 4oz feeder to hold bottom !  

On with the worms again and another drop back bite. Heavy plodding in the flow and an even bigger bream was lead to the net, this time 9lb 9oz. Blimey Charlie.

It then went quiet and the last fish turned out to be a round goby. No, I'd never heard of it either.

What a brilliant session, so chuffed to have turned it round after the dreadful evening trip yesterday.

I ended up with three big bream to 9.09, two silver bream 1.09 and 2.00, three ide to 4.02, a 5lb 7oz tench, a big hybrid around 3lb and a round goby. Well chuffed.

Now, shall I have another go in the evening. Hmm.

Monday 29 August 2022

Double Whammy

I told you about the water leak and having to check the water every couple if hours ? I put in a blocker that was working well and we were making good progress through Norway and then northern Denmark.

We approached the hideous chaos that is Hamburg, road works and stationary everywhere. The SatNav told me to go through the city, so I obeyed. Unfortunately, I couldn't fit under the poxy bridges so I used the Loafer sixth sense to find a way through the metropolis. Just when I'd got past the city I heard a vibrating sound from one of the rear wheels. Not much but something.

A few miles later it was louder. I know feck all about cars and engines so I was on the phone to people who do. 

It could be this or that they said but difficult to say.

We decided to take the B roads through northern Germany doing 30 mph tops. Scenic but bloody slow. We made good progress and with two hundred miles to go to the port I thought we might make it.

The following morning we set off and the vibrating was the same, no worse than previously, but I had a sense of dread.

I was fecking right. After about ten miles I heard a horrible clunking sound, getting worse by the second. A blow out. I just managed to get off the road to a safe area. Bollocks.

The leak was under control and now this. I called the breakdown, I didn't fancy doing a big truck on the side if the road one bit. The bloke turned up quickly and replacement wheel on we're on the road again.

I'm now sitting with a beer on the banks of the river Ijssel, which is lovely. I had a quick evening session where I lost ten sets of gear, moved three times and caught one roach.

I've had better days, but we're safe, fed and tomorrow I'm going to catch some fish, if I can find any tackle that's not been lost over the past six weeks.

See, it's not all wine and roses.

Friday 26 August 2022

The Long Road South

Still finding great overnight stops, the fishing has been unspectacular and a bit half arsed but if all goes to plan ( I'm not counting my chickens just yet ) I'll have a couple of proper sessions early next week.

Once we reached southern Norway the temperatures picked up substantially, to be expected I suppose.

Plenty of barbies and camp fires and I've been in for swim several times. Can't believe how warm the water is in most places.

I've been catching these dace, or more specifically dace like fish. Well, some I think are dace but others ? What do you reckon ?

Been so lucky with the weather, only one really bad rainy day in six weeks. We spoke to some people who had been way up north on the coast and hadn't seen sunshine for a month.

All this stuff about Norway being expensive ? Well, it's all true. How about 9 quid for a pack of bacon ? £5.50 for a melon ? £3.80 for this bag of sweets ?

Fuel is about the same as UK which just means both countries are bloody expensive !

So if all goes smoothly, I'm hoping to have a go on the river Ijssel in Holland on the way back. Hoping for a barbel, expecting ide, bream and silver bream. I've got a more refined feeder rig ( maybe not refined but effective I hope ). But, as usual, we'll see.

Sunday 21 August 2022

Staggering On

The breakdown recovery effort was a shambles, the useless twats left us at a garage that would "definitely he able to fix it", cleared off and when I spoke to them they said " No chance mate, we're fully booked for three weeks ".

Lots of phone calls later and nothing sorted.

However, after the first balls up I lost faith in them and reverted to Plan B. Try and take control and limp on without them. Bunged some blocker in the coolant tank, crossed my fingers and turned the engine on.

We stayed in the beautiful town of Alesund, park up right next to the water, it was full of fish too.

Yes, yes, of course the first thing I did was get the rods out. Big mackerel ( again ) five species of wrasse, coalies, pollack and cod.

Well, almost cod. I lost a decent one about 7lb when I was inches away from lifting it out. Bastard ! Fishing in the sun right next to the van, with cold beer and wine available, luxury I tell you !

We even did a bit of sightseeing, I wanted to get to the viewpoint and I'm glad I did because it was stunning.

What a place, loads of jetties and piers to fish from and plenty of fish to catch. Took it easy for a few days, stocked up with water, emptied the bog and off we went again, heading south this time, slowly. Even.more slowly than usual.

We pulled up for lunch in yet another place that looked the dooh daahs, a big fjord....yes, there's lots of them, it's sensory overload. Just a quick hour fishing before grub time and lots of the usual suspects on the cheap, simple and deadly Nod rig with artificial worms or tiny bits of mackerel. Most wrasse, some quite big ballans too.

Got a nice park up right on the river tonight, can't get much closer. Lots of moose crap all round the van so hopefully we have a chance of seeing one at dusk. It's a bit nippy though.

Let's see where we end up tomorrow.

Thursday 18 August 2022

Know How To Make God Laugh ?

The answer is "Tell him your plans".

Everything going along smoothly ? Well, don't get too cocky.

See us parked up by the little jetty ? Lovely spot again, catching loads of fish but I noticed a leak under the van. Oil ? No, coolant.

Spent hours trying to find the source of it, with help from another camper. Long story short, I've had to call the recovery out. Oh well, worse things happen at sea.

Great fishing here, lots of different wrasse, more jumbo mackerel, pollack, coalies and a rogue 15lb 4oz thornback ray that took a tiny piece of makkie on a size 4 hook. Lots of sea trout jumping too.

Those mackerel go absolutely mad on the little 6 footer, so much fun, as was eating them last night.

We shared them with some other people round a big camp fire and a few beers, bloody lovely.

With all the fish eaten it's a good excuse to catch more as we wait for the recovery vehicle. Wish me luck.

Tuesday 16 August 2022

Nodding About, Part 328

It's what I do best.

I could have spent weeks or months in Sweden, stopping off at this or that river or lake. I really love the country, it exceeded my expectations in every way, but we wanted to have a couple of weeks in Norway before heading slowly back home.

The drive across the mountains was stunning and took twice as long as it should as I kept stopping for a look at the view. The photo below was taken from inside the van when we stopped for lunch.

We headed for the Atlantic Highway, a very famous stretch of road over the islands near Kristiansund. I don't normally do "the sights" but this really was worth putting up with other tourists ( I, of course, am a traveller, not a pesky tourist. Got that ? ).

We parked up and were joined by two German coaches. Coaches that had been converted into a big motorhome ! Incredible.

Obviously I had to have a dabble with the rods.  It was a surprising warm evening with no wind and the clear water was flat calm.

I had a monster mackerel and three pollack, not a bad start. When I was walking back to the van I saw fish milling about in the kelp ( you can see deep down in the water ). I was sure one was a cuckoo wrasse. I've never caught one so plans were made and a rig set up for a go first thing in the morning, but not before I grabbed a photo of the beautiful sunset.

Up early,using a float set up, small hook and some winkles I'd found on the rocks I started getting bites immediately. These turned out to be pouting, poor cod and goldsinny wrasse. All in the first ten minutes, a good start.

Next cast a different kind of wrasse.

I was pretty sure it was a rock cook wrasse( it was ) but needed to check with a couple of "species hunting" mates. Next cast...yes ! Cuckoo wrasse.

Again, ridiculously pleased with a little fish. Spotted it, had a plan to catch it, got it. Booooooom ! Sorry got a bit carried away.

So a really good couple of hours with four species to add to my 2022 list and two I've never caught before. Lovely.

We moved on just a few miles and found a nice place surrounded by fishing huts overlooking the islands. Started off trying for some coalies or pollack but nothing doing, so just the excuse I needed to go mini species hunting. Bit of shellfish on a tiny hook lowered in was hit by a sea scorpion first drop.

Then I had a blenny, more goldsinny wrasse and then it was time for lunch. As I was waiting to be served ( 😂 ) I cast out in to the shallow dock and started catching whiting immediately. Messing about catching different fish in new places, no matter how small they are, is about as much fun as you can have in my book. I totally understand if you think it's a total waste of time, each to their own eh ?

Nice lunch, cold beer, map out looking for a park up for the night, just about perfect.

The next place was about half hour drive down the road, a nice park up right next a jetty/harbour, overlooking the mountains. 

We had a go on the jetty in the evening, catching coalies, huge mackerel and assorted mini species.  I set the float at about twenty five feet, just off the bottom, which you could clearly see in the crystal clear water.

It did drop away to a huge depth further out but most of the fish were caught around the pier structure and the moored boats.

I had loads of fish on the ultra light six foot rod, five gram weight, size 12 hook and a tiny scrap of mackerel. Little codling, the ubiquitous goldsinnys and a 2.5lb coalfish that went mental on that set up. I had a few casts at dusk and caught yet another big mackerel. They're huge round here, we've had nothing under about a pound and a half.

Fresh mackerel and coalie for dinner again then, hard life eh ?

Sunday 14 August 2022

It's A Wonderful Life

Remember the bit in the film when James Stewart says he wished he'd never been born and his guardian angel lists all the ways he has impacted on other people's lives ? No ? Well, watch it, there's more to it than meets the eye.

What I'm trying to say is one thing leads to another and there are innumerable paths you can end up on, depending on chance or whatever. Or maybe you're one of those people that says " Everything happens for a reason" and when invited to expand on this profound statement just repeat the original line.

Waffling, sorry. Anyway, my James Stewart like encounter with another Swedish angler sent me to a little stream in a totally out of the way place, where, once again we saw nobody for two days. A few cars passed on the track but that was it.

I was after an arctic char.

The first morning I tried maybe a dozen swims and had not a bite in all but one of them. The swim that was productive produced eleven grayling in as many casts, it was loaded with them.

The stream varied from a few inches to maybe two foot deep, full of boulders and full of fast flowing water. Not really possible to float fish in the conventional sense.

I drilled a 15 mm cork ball, found some orange paint and stuffed a cocktail stick in like you would a pike bung. Two bb pinch hard against float, no shot down the line and a small bit of worm. It worked perfectly, next to no snag ups and presented the bait well.

The next day I went up a side stream and came across a lovely waterfàll which was full of fish. I mean full. Mostly trout with some grayling. I had over sixty fish that day but no arctic char. Maybe I was on the wrong stretch, but who cares, it was brilliant fun on my 6 foot, 5 gram Noddy rod.

Again, we reluctantly moved on after two days, this time in the direction of Norway and maybe a bit of sea fishing.

Saturday 13 August 2022

Off The Cuff

I was speaking to a Swedish bloke who was telling me his favourite parts of the country.
Great if you like the outdoors he said, camping, hiking, fishing.
"Do you fish" I said
"Oh yes, all the time"
Within two minutes we were on Google maps and he was showing me the exact spot for some grayling fishing. Half hour later we were en route to this new destination which was 250 miles north of where I thought I was heading. 

We found the spot easy enough, below a hydro electric dam, but they were carrying out new work and making a right racket. If I'm driving hundreds of miles I can't put up with that ! However, I did have a fish and caught grayling and perch but after that we jumped in the van and headed down river looking for THE spot.

You see, THE spot for me must be.....

Right beside river, lake or sea 
Have a few fish
Great scenery and totally quiet
No other people

It's not usually easy to find in a world with six or it it seven billion people ? After driving for maybe half hour, I turned off and drove along the rough track for three or four miles and then down an even smaller one for several hundred yards, I knew I'd found it.

Although it was in a remote spot, it being Sweden, there was a wooden shelter and a fire pit overlooking the river. Oh yes and a compost bog in the wood which I used with the door open so I could do some fish spotting whilst parking my breakfast. Multi tasking you see.

We spent two days there interrupted just once by a nice Swedish angler who again gave me some other spots to fish.

That evening it was a grayling and perch feast on the fire, wrapped in foil with olive oil, black pepper and lemon. You won't be surprised to find out they tasted bloody lovely.

I was fishing on and off throughtout the day, trotting a big four swan loafer down the crystal clear river. There were grayling and trout in most swims, some nice ones too. I had a problem keeping them on the hook though, I was fishing worm and had a constant issue with the worm double hooking itself, thereby covering the hook point. It was an absolute joy standing in the chesties in that cold, clear water catching beautiful wild fish.

In the evening I was thigh high in water easing the float through the swim when I heard a crash behind me. Fifty yards away, a moose crossing the river ! It didn't spot me until it reached the opposite bank. Wow, what an end to the day, we'd been hoping to see one since we arrived.

We sat round the fire all evening, having a drink, eating, staring at the flames and the river. What more could you want ?

We dragged ourselves away the following morning, after two days of bliss. That other Swedish bloke had told me about a smaller mountain stream where he'd caught arctic char and I wanted to catch one.