Being home for only 9 days before setting out again for Norway, you can imagine the preparation that was involved; with washing of clothes, making more flies, unpacking and repackaging the car and having to work on top of all that. But it was a really exciting week of preparation and we also had the added advantage of being allowed to leave some of our equipment up in Norway, so we had a little less to take, this time.
The next tour promised to be very different, very different indeed. For starters, they were a little older more experienced salmon fishermen. I, along with Laurits, had the most knowledge of the river stretches and local area. We traveled at the same time again to the ferry, a Norwegian company called Colourline. The service and food were again extremely good.
After docking in Larvik we, again, drove through the night. As 10 days had passed the night sky was very different and the darkness lasted a little longer. Not like the first time when I asked why every one was going to bed so early, because it was so bright, only to discover it was already well past midnight.
When we arrived back in Rønningen, we had breakfast, then Laurits drove the other 6 people around to show them the area and stretches of river, while I went straight for the river, with our good friend Arne Hansen from Copenhagen.
I was confident that this week I might catch a fish, but nothing was caught on the first day. But the next day, I understood something that I was always told about salmon fishing, "Never underestimate the luck of salmon fishing". It happened on Sunday evening around 10pm. Our friend, Arne, decided not to go fishing as it was very warm, but had decided to go for a walk along the river to meet and chat with some of the others. Down at the local campsite stretch, where two of our group, were fishing, Knud and Knud Erik, without any luck, but they had seen a few salmon. Arne, having learnt a new technique from Laurits on the double-hand, asked Knud if he could borrow his rod to try it out. He just wanted to test this new skill, but instead, after the second cast a 4.9kg salmon took the fly. That’s what you call luck.
The days were getting warmer and warmer. The very next day ended up with 30 degrees. I decided to go and try my luck, even though I was told that it was too warm for the fish to take any fly. But being the stubborn type, I was not willing to sit around doing nothing, so I geared up, drove off, leaving the 8 men sitting in the shade which was 29 degrees at that point, around 10am.
I went down the stretch of river and felt nothing. I decided, as always, to change my fly. On the 3rd change over of flies, I took all of my flies out and spread the boxes in front of me on a large rock. All I could see was a very ugly fly, one that I made, very badly and had never before used, when I first started making flies, for Put & Take fishing. It was a lime green with cerise pink streamer, number 6, single hook. So I decided, why not… My only thought as I walked to the start of our stretch was, what if I do catch a salmon on this, what will the others say. Should I lie about the fly or not!
I stood on the upper stretch and let the tippet float, I released a more line for my next cast, which was to land about 5 meters out and about 1meter in front of a large rock. Next cast landed exactly where I wanted it to and wham, I had my first Norwegian salmon and all I could do was wonder what I was going to tell everyone. I had caught a fish in conditions of over 30 degrees, at 11.30am, on a Put & Take fly. Everything contrary to what I had been taught or read and learnt. I landed the salmon by hand, catching it by the tail and putting it up on the boulders. It weighed 2.2kgs, with fresh sealice still alive, with their tails still attached to its scales, a sure sign that it had just arrived from the sea very recently. I was extremely happy with the result. I then decided to change my fly again, as it was the only one of it’s kind that I had made, needless to say and I did not want to risk the unforgivable by losing it. Nobody would believe me what just happened if I had.
I put the fish in cool shade and continued for another 3/4 hour, trying to time my arrival home, when I felt certain everyone would be back for lunch. My interest was not the same, my only thought was to get back to the house and show them what I had. So at 12.30pm I packed up and headed for home.
I drove in expecting everyone to be still sitting around, like they did every other day before and after, but no, not that day, they decided to go driving to see another stretch of river a couple of kilometers down the road, every last one of them. I was gutted. I hung the fish up and let the blood finish dripping. Went and took a beer with a good book and sat in the garden waiting. It took all of 20 minutes before they returned. I tried to play it cool but I was so excited that for the 20 minutes of waiting I watched with one eye on every car that passed on the road in front of the house. With the other eye on the book, I kept reading the same line of the book over and over again and if you asked me what I read I could not tell you.When the men finally arrived back I never saw anyone get out of a car so fast. Needless to say there was a whiskey toast in celebration. I owned up to the fly, even showing them the fly I had actually catch the fish with. I won’t repeat some of the comments used by some of the other members of the tour…
The days continued to be extremely hot, so we switched to night fishing, going out around 3am. We did this again on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Laurits and I headed for Kvikne to see if we could land a salmon there. At 4am, I saw Laurits line bend and when I reached him, I found him fighting with a 4.2kg salmon. It took 25 minutes to land the salmon, the fish put up that much of a fight. Another salmon fresh from the sea, with sealice still on its scales.
Later that day I took another one of the tour members, Verner, down to the same stretch for him to try his luck. About an hour before we arrived at the river there were a few drops of rain and the skies were slowly getting cloudy and black. But we began to fish. Verner, going down the stretch first, but did not come into contact with anything. I tried next and about three-quarters of the way down I hooked another salmon. It was another grill from the feel of it. I was using a much smaller fly this time, another of my own patterns, with very different colourings, a brown and orange on a size 10 hook. I fought the salmon for about 3 or 4 minutes, but then lost it. Verner allowed me time to change my fly and go down the stretch again ahead of him. So, this time with another of my own patterns, a blue and orange size 6 double hook. About 15 minutes later I hooked another salmon. It weighed in at 2.7kgs but was a beautiful looking fish. Thunder and lightening started just as Verner landed the salmon for me. It was the first time I had seen an actual flying fish! We just had time to gather our gear, get to the car before the thunder and lightening, with torrential rain struck in full force. Getting back to the house this time, I was full sure that everyone was there. So, it called for another round of whiskey for everyone, thank you very much.
Those were the only 4 fish caught on this tour but there were some losses as well. And not just of fish.
On our last night we had decided to go out fishing again, as the rain had started the fish were moving and they were very aggressive now. So one half of the tour went out from 8 o’clock to around midnight or a little later and the other half were to go out at 3am.
We got up and made coffee and as we had rigged our rods earlier they were ready to go. As it was still a little dark and hard to see when you had to tie knots, we had left them at the door, as we thought in a safe place. But when we went out to put the rods on the cars, we were shocked to find them missing. We searched the place and they were no where to be found. The four of us that were going out now had had their rods taken, plus lines, reels and another rod belonging to one of the others, also a spinning rod and about 7 other Scierra rods as well. The total damage, it was unaccountable.
It was not just the rods that they took, but for me, it was the hard work and frustration of learning to get the right rod and reel to suit me. All of the rods stolen were unusual, as were some of the reels, which were life long friends to these fishermen. We drove around and found that no one else had experienced this on that particular night, even though they were much more accessible and open. The strange part is they left most of the rods behind, owned by the other members of the trip and just took our double-handed rods and not all of them either. One completely new XDA Scierra rod and reel bought a week before our trip was left completely intact, never touched. It is a fact of life I know, but who ever does this, should be seriously taught a lesson. It was a very bizarre theft. They left tire tracks and a flash lamp, but the lesson is never, never leave your fishing equipment open to theft, even if you feel 100% certain that it will be safe from these sorts of people. They had to drive up a private entrance, around a very large barn even to see our rods. So please by careful about where you leave your rods and equipment. But in saying all that I will go back up again, no problem, sooner rather than later.
I would like to thank everyone on both tours for such a wonderful time and for Scierra, in particular Bent Johansen, especially Henning Lodbjerg, Scierras, Jutland Sales Director based in Aarhus, Aarhus Stiftstinende and Grejbiksen for all the help and support that they put into these two tours.
But especially to Laurits Flowbinner, for the work and huge effort he put in over the weeks leading up to the tours and also in Norway. I have met some wonderful people and seen some amazing sights that I will remember for a lifetime and would like to thank them all for giving me such a wonderful experience. There are no other words to describe the fun, excitement and experience of a trip like this.
We do hope to be given the opportunity of repeating this tour again next year or doing another one similar to it. For further information and photos you can access the following sites on the Internet: