Happy New Year everyone! Today I had the pleasure to fish with a few fine gentlemen from the Federation of Fly Fishers Denmark. The FFFD is an governing body that is close to 1,000 members strong. Not only does it assist those who wish to become better flyfishers, it spends considerable amount of time, effort and money on rebuilding stream habitat.

Henrik gave me a buzz on the phone a few days ago and suggested a trip to the Swedish Coast on New Year Day. Knowing that I would be incredibly tired from the celebration on the night before, I reluctantly agreed. The Swedish Coast is always closed for fishing from late fall until December 31st, so tackling it on opening day is always a good bet since the fish are not hook-shy.

As expected, the sky over Copenhagen lit up just after midnight with fireworks. In no other cities have I seen people who are so obsessed with fireworks. It baffles me that most people here are willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a few rockets that take less than a minute to blow up. I, on the other hand, enjoy watching all the explosions without spending a dime. Check out the view from our apartment at 12:30am.

With all the commotion outside, I could not fall asleep until 4:00am. At 7:45am, Henrik was ready to pick me up downstairs. Still recovering from a minor flu since Christmas, as well as lacking some serious sleep hours, fishing was certainly not on my mind for once. Nevertheless, I convinced myself to tag along because an opportunity to fish in Sweden does not come by often.

We met up with Lars, Svend and Jerk (pronounced York, or Yurk, so I have been told) at the usual meeting spot. Five of us squeezed into Lars’ wagon and over the bridge we went. The drive was actually less than one hour long. The Southern Coast of Sweden is just on the other side of the Baltic Sea. We picked a spot that has the high hills behind the beach to block the gusty Northerly wind. Getting ready on top of the windy hill was not fun. Still recovering from the wild parties, everyone sluggishly suited up.

By the time we made it down to the hill, I was feeling worse than when we left Copenhagen. I made a few casts once awhile, spent most of the time sitting and visualizing the warm bed. The section that Henrik, Lars and I picked to fish was rather dirty. Seaweed covered the shoreline and water was fairly coloured. After two hours, Jerk phoned from the other end of the beach and reported connection with one fish. The news of a catch always lifts the spirit. We packed up quickly and headed toward where Jerk, or the fish, was.

Miraculously, I seemed to have fully recovered by the time we reached the other end. Perhaps it was the 20 minute walk, or the fresh cold wind, or the news of a fish being caught, I was just glad that I could finally concentrate on the fishing. The water was much cleaner and the depth change from shore seemed to be bigger too. This is always a good thing because it means little or no wading is required.

To make a long story short, I once again did not connect with a single sea trout. Jerk, on the other hand, was able to get into four fish! He is after all the president of the FFFD. One of them was a big kelt while the other three were bright silver fish. These silver fish, still a year or two away from their first spawn, are known as grønlænders.

 

He decided to keep one of the fish since it had swallowed the fly completely. I was offered the fish, but I politely declined. I think my first kept sea trout should be the one that I catch, in the meantime pastries, pork and potato will have to do.

Beside Jerk’s sea trout, we also saw a couple of fish taken by two Swedish locals, as well as a 2kg Atlantic cod, which is always a bonus when fishing from the beach.

This winter Baltic sea trout fishing business will most likely take many more years for me to understand and appreciate. It pretty much takes the phrase “that’s fishing, catching is a bonus” to a new level. For an angler who has never experienced it, one would either admire the persistence of those who do it, or simply think they are out of their mind. It’s kind of like steelheading, except there are a gazillion times more water to cover.

Martin Joergensen of Global Flyfisher recently wrote a depressing, yet funny (to his readers), blog entry which pretty much sums up my frustration and curiosity.

“A bunch of good friends and myself have been logging all trips and catches since 2003. This log now contains information about 900 trips (1715 man trips since we were more than one person on most trips) that produced 2688 fish altogether. That’s 3 fish per day and 1.6 fish per person per day – on the average. We had 354 skunked trips in that period – a whole year worth of skunked trips in 5 years! One third of all trips were fishless! Yikes!”

Who on earth would want to wade across several kilometers of frigid water and be battered by strong Arctic wind while waving the feather stick for an extremely slim possibility of one tug? Apparently the Scandinavians would.

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