For those of you who read my last article on Norway you will have read how I fell in love with the country. To be given the opportunity to come back this year, not to fish, but to actually cover a shore fishing festival, watching other anglers enjoying this magnificent country was too tempting to turn down.
I got the call in May of last year from an excited Ian Peacock, UK Manager of Din Tur. His plan was to create a new shore fishing festival in Norway for UK anglers to enjoy the outstanding fishing available in the Norwegian Kommune of Flatanger, north of Trondheim.
Eight months later and I was sitting Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam with 42 excited anglers ready for a flight to Trondheim. What could a four day competition in one of the most productive and easily accessible areas of Norway actually yield. It held untapped potential, potential that was going to be unleashed by seasoned anglers from the North East, South East and Scotland.
We landed in Trondheim just after midday, whilst we had all heard of the mild Norwegian winter; everybody was surprised at how mild it was. There was no snow on the lower ground with only snow showing south on the higher ground as we flew into the airport. Travelling north from the airport in a convoy of ten hire cars we passed through some stunning scenery and unusually clear, snowless roads. As a sign of how mild it was we saw moose crossing the road, usually high in the mountains until later on in the year they had already begun to venture down to the lowland.
Arriving at the first accommodation the groups would be split into two with the majority of anglers staying in Vik Brygge and the remaining anglers staying in the Flatanger Rorbuer, two of Din Tur’s main angling camps for the region.
Such was their enthusiasm many of the anglers set out as soon as they had arrived. The night was clear with anglers catching cod of up to 5lbs with regularity against a stunning show of the northern lights. The best fish of the night fell to Northumbrian police sergeant, Ian Jackson with a beauty of 12lbs close to the Flatanger Rorbuer camp.
The competition would be split into 5 days. The first day would be designated the practice day with the next 4 days competition days starting at 8am with the scales closing at 8pm in the evening, nearly 12 hours fishing. The prize table was large enough so all anglers would receive a prize of some description with sponsorship from a wide variety of companies with the main tackle sponsorship coming from Pure Fishing brands Penn and Berkley.
The practice day yielded plenty of cod including a beauty of over 15lbs with one angler, Lance McVey, hooking what can only be presumed as a big halibut fishing one of the marks Ian had pointed out at Strom. He had the fish on for over 40 minutes, dragging him back and forth over the rocks until eventually, the line parted and the fish was lost. With a few fish caught and the tale of an escaped halibut, anticipation was at its height waiting for the first day of the competition.
The first day was full of action. Close to the Vik Brygge Apartments on a point at the end of Vikholmen was ex Paratrooper and fishing nut Darron Swan. The terrain to get to this mark looked hard going, something an ex Para wouldn’t have any problem with but the fishing was not that easy either. Darron would have to climb a bank to cast and then climb back down to fish. Unfortunately for Darron the fish were biting hard and by the end of the day and 40 cod later – he looked knackered. He was rewarded by weighing in two nice fish of 9lbs 13oz and 9lbs 9oz, fish that would place him well at the end of the competition.
Moving around from Vik westward to a mark simply called “The Fish Factory” were Ian Ainsley, Steve Foster and Dave Nevin, officers of Northumbria Police. The ground here can be quite snaggy and the lads were having a torrid time losing quite a bit of gear but on the plus side they were still into the fish. Ian bagged himself a couple of nice cod with one over 7lbs and the other over 5lbs. Steve had also managed a couple of fish with the best over 6lbs.
Veteran Norway shore angler Gary Pye was on the move, first fishing at Einvika, scene of a 63lb Halibut the week before. Whilst the fishing was nowhere near as good as it had been for Gary’s good friend, Darron over at Vikholmen, Gary did manage to catch a Cod weighing in at 5lbs 15oz before moving on to a mark on the opposite side of Strom. The scene of the halibut battle the first day and a mark fished by many anglers on day one.
Gary chose to fish near Raudsandvika, casting into a narrow channel between Nordstrauman and Strom into a fjord called Glasoyfjorden. Here Gary was picking up countless good haddock, every cast and often 2 at a time.
On the other side of the channel at Strom there were plenty of anglers enjoying good sport. Ryhope Sea Angling Club members Barrie Stowells, Bob Surtees, Derek Ross, Paul Richardson, Keith Carter and John Bryan (one of the nicest bunch of lads you are ever likely to meet) were having terrific sport with plenty of cod and haddock. Including the best of the competition for Barrie Stowells weighing a whopping 8lb 10ozs! Derek was also having a great day, bringing to the shore a cracking Cod of 11lb 9oz from the same mark. Their cabin, which became known as the Officers Mess, wouldn’t be going hungry tonight!
Moving around the mark slightly were another cracking set of lads from the North East including Carl Steel who had one of the biggest smiles of the day when he landed another cracking haddock of 6lbs 14oz. Strom proved to be the place to be for big haddock, consistently producing over all 4 days of the competition.
Moving west and our final port of call for the day “The A Team” consisting of anglers Gary, Steven and Michael Ashcroft, Carl Saxby, Alan Hornsby, John Dunn and Jamie Benton. Fishing on Floaholmen Island near the town of Lauvsnes, day one proved to be their and the competitions most productive day with the top three fish of the entire competition all caught within a couple of hours of each other at the same mark. Jamie with a 12lb 15oz cod, John with a 13lb 1oz cod and the biggest of the competition going to Alan Hornsby at 13lb 9oz. Not only were these guys consistently hitting the bigger cod but they also caught the only halibut during competition time. Unfortunately for them this fish was 70cm, 10cms under the 80cm legal limit and it was returned to grow bigger.
On day two we started our rounds at Einvika, where a group of anglers including Carl and Lee Donaldson, Carl Steel, Jess Wraith, Robert Davidson and James Williams were fishing. Fishing was slow with little activity with Carl Donaldson weighing in nice ling at 4lbs 13oz and Jess Wraith adding in a cod of over 6lbs.
Just to add some spice to the occasion the Norwegian Navy came out to play with three powerful ribs cutting through the fjord disturbing the peace and probably the fish too.
The interesting observation at this mark was diving birds which would mean the herring had come into the fjords early, usually the herring would filter into the fjords around the end of April into May, but they were already here, attracted by warmer water than usual and the milder climate. This had consequences for the fishing, moving the cod higher in the water and away from the bottom.
Moving east at the Quarry, a mark many of you may know from the Norwegian shore halibut feature on WSF we bumped into the Police Officers again, Steve Foster, Ian Ainsley and Dave Nevin. This time it was Dave who was into the fish sporting two cod of 6lbs 15oz and 7lbs 14oz.
Strom once again produced some excellent fishing with plenty of haddock coming in with Barrie Stowells again landing one over 7lbs and Bob Surtees landing cod over 5lbs. It was also the scene of the biggest dab of the competition so far, a beauty weighing in at 1lb 11oz for Bob.
Other notable fish from day two went again to The A Team, with Carl Saxby weighing in two cod of 9lbs and 8lbs 15oz the two biggest cod of the day. Nigel Gemmell weighed in a cracking whiting of 2lbs 12oz.
Day three became a day of travelling for many. The main destination was Hasvag. Hasvag is at the western extreme of the competition limits across Jossundfjorden situated around 52km from Lauvsnes by road. The drive to Hasvag is dramatic and beautiful, taking in authentic Norwegian Fjord views, forests, open plains and stunning mountains.
Hasvag was also the scene of a devastating wildfire caused by downed power lines during a recent storm. Fueled by high winds and the unusual dryness the fire affected 139 houses in the community and destroyed hundreds of square kilometers of forest and plains.
Despite the amount of anglers fishing the location the fishing was slow by Norwegian standards. With most fish landed from the back of the harbour at Hasvag with Carl Steel adding a cod of near 6lbs to his tally and Carl Donaldson adding another two cod with the best near 7lbs. Fishing near Steinvika Ray Hutton landed another cod weighing in at 9lbs exactly.
Other notable fish from day three of the competition included a cracking plaice of 2lb 6oz caught by John Dunn from “The A Team”. Shaun Atherton who had been feeling under the weather for most of the day decided to venture out late afternoon at the back of his accommodation, a wise choice as he was rewarded with a cod of 9lb 9oz, a fish that stood him well for the overall competition.
Day four was a quiet day, with most anglers deciding to concentrate on either finding that larger cod or a good flatfish.
Two lads who had fished really hard all competition were Carl and Lee Donaldson, both great guys who had put a lot of effort into the week and were still waiting for that double reward they craved. As luck would have it, and it really couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of guys, day four was extremely lucky for them. All week Lee had wanted to fish a mark near Nordstraumen and finally he got this wish on the last day.
Fishing with a squid and blacklug combo bait Lee was the first into the fish landing a cracker of 11lbs 7oz followed by another of 10lbs 9oz with his brother Carl landing two outstanding fish of 12lbs 10oz and 10lbs 2oz moving Carl into 4th place and Lee into 6th place. You honestly couldn’t have met two happier people on the day, both were absolutely buzzing that their hard work and persistence paid off.
There were a lot of tired anglers at the weigh in that night, all ready for a days rest in anticipation of the final results and presentation.
The presentation night was held at the Zanzibar Inn, a delightful restaurant and Inn set on the waterfront at Lauvsnes. Greeting the anglers as they arrived was a welcome array of traditional Norwegian food including belly pork, salmon and a beef stew. All cooked to perfection and with plenty of it to go around.
After 42 hungry and exhausted anglers had worked their way through the mass of food, it was time for the presentation.
The first prize of £1,000 from Din Tur was Alan Hornsby with his cod of 13lb 9oz. The second prize of £500 went to John Dunn for a cod of 13lb 1oz. The third prize of a weeks holiday in the Flatanger Rorbuer accommodation went to Jamie Benton with his cod of 12lbs 15oz. The rest of the top ten anglers all received Penn Fishing reels donated by Penn, North East Tackle Supplies, Moonfleet Angling and World Sea Fishing.
As well as the overall prizes there were also three other prizes for heaviest halibut, best round specimen and best flatfish. Unfortunately during the entire competition there was no in size halibut caught so this prize was handed to the biggest plaice of the competition which went to John Dunn for his plaice of 2lbs 6oz. For his efforts John won a limited edition Century Kompressor SS.
The next two prizes went to the Officers Mess duo of Barrie Stowells and Bob Surtees. Barrie who had a haddock of 8lb 10oz earlier in the competition won the best round specimen prize with Bob bagging the best flatfish prize with a dab of 1lb 11oz. Both anglers received Penn Reels and Berkley Line.
The rest of the anglers from 11 all the way to 42 could pick from the rest of the prize table with prizes donated by Penn, Berkley, Sakuma, TronixPro, North East Tackle Supplies and Moonfleet Angling.
A very special prize was also awarded to Ian Ainsley, for services to angling in Norway – he is now the proud owner of an illuminating, ladyfish pink spinning rod. No doubt Ian will be battling many a Norwegian Pollack with this new beast.
Flatager is a municipality in the Namdalen region of Norway home to just over 1,000 people. It is has three villages of Lauvsnes, Jossund and Vik. Flatanger is also home to Hanshelleren, one of the largest climbable caves in the world.
Getting to the Flatanger region is relatively simply. I flew with KLM from Manchester to Amsterdam and then from Amsterdam to Trondheim. From Trondheim it is a 2 and half hour drive to Flatanger. Flights can also be arranged from other UK airports to Trondheim with either KLM or SAS.
All of the competitors stayed at the two Din Tur fishing camps in the area, Flatanger Rorbuer and Vik Brygge. As with all Din Tur camps they are well equipped with all amenities to ensure a comfortable stay. Both camps are within easy distance of a shop with Flatanger Rorbuer close to the main village of Lauvsnes, with Vik Brygge having a shop literally just up the road.
For those of you interested in shore fishing in the Flatanger region of Norway, or any other Norwegian fishing, you can contact Ian Peacock, UK Manager for Din Tur on the details below:
Phone: 01914 472363