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We went to the Copenhagen Zoo, took photos and videos.

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.

Like all island nations, seafood plays a major role in the diet of Danes. Sole, halibut, cod, salmon, eel, herring and mackerel are just some of the common eaten species, especially during the festive season. A glance through the window of a fish store is always interesting. Not only does it give you an idea what is available seasonally, it allows you to make comparison in prices with fish that are sold in Canada.

The items on the left side of the window are mostly eggs from various saltwater species. Cod eggs are regularly eaten over here. Tuna cutlets were available at 200 Kroners (CAD$40) per pound! 1 piece of atlantic salmon (approx. 150 grams) costs 55 Kroners (CAD$11)!! It’s not cheap to enjoy seafood here.

Yesterday we took a trip into Copenhagen. It’s a pretty routine trip really, because we are only ten minutes by train from Downtown. I took some photographs along the way.

The main modes of transportation around Copenhagen are bicycles, trains, metro and busses. If you live anywhere within 50km from Copenhagen, then you can get around with ease on a train. The waiting time is usually short, because a train goes by a station once every ten minutes on weekdays. Travelling time is in fact faster than a car, without the stress too.

The Central Station in Copenhagen was packed with travellers who were making their way home for Christmas. This is the main stop to all the small towns in Denmark as well as major cities around Europe.

As usual, a giant Christmas tree stands at the main square in front of the town hall.

Pigeons gathered on a statue, tucking themselves tightly for warmth.

Nyhavn is probably the most popular tourist location in Copenhagen. Its colourful buildings and old boats are too often featured in postcard photos, which tend to give people the perception that all of Denmark looks like Nyhavn. This harbour is filled with both locals and tourists in the summer, when canal boat tours and outdoor cafes are available. In the winter months, it is not as exciting. Christmas market runs in December, which is usually likely attended by locals, but it has its own charm.

One more day until the feast begins. Merry Christmas everyone!

Well, after three outings since our arrival last week with only a couple of tugs and a lost northern pike to show, it is getting rather discouraging. Temperature has been dropping, which means the little amount of fish around are even less active now.

We live in the central part of Copenhagen, where bakeries can be found at just about every corner. It is a sweet adventure for the taste buds everytime you step into one of these. The Danes take their baked goods very seriously.

Well, we ventured out to the fishing ground for the first time since we arrived in Denmark a few days ago. The weather was surprisingly mild, sunny and CALM. Persistent wind can really drive you crazy on this island nation at times. Today, we could cast in all directions without worrying about being blown around. The glassy water surface was also relaxing to look at. We visited a river where we have fished regularly. It produces sea trout, northern pike, european perch and a few other coarse fish species. Today, the target species are the three predatory fish mentioned above. Fishing can be good in the winter. The temperature is low, fish are not as mobile, so only big food items would tempt a strike.

Cost of fishing this river is much higher than what would cost to fish in BC. Beside the CAD$30 annual license, a day card that costs CAD$15 is also required.

Anyway, perhaps it was the nice weather, the fishing was not exactly spectacular. The first few hours were unproductive. Once the river was shaded in the afternoon, I managed to hook a small northern pike, which managed to wiggle itself into the weeds. I was able to pull it out, but the hook popped off when I carelessly horsed it to shore in the end.

We also explored a new section of the river, where I missed a few more good takes. Just when we were about to call it a day, I somehow foul-hooked a poor bream, which gave me some of its snot-like slime before I sent it back to the drink.

Beach fishing for sea trout tomorrow. Perhaps we will have better luck there.

Today’s announcement

Thomas at TNT Marine is looking to see what kind of interest there is in a jet boat association for the Fraser Valley and southwestern BC. As number of jet boaters grows significantly each year, there seems to be guidance needed for newcomers and people who have been boating for years.

Jet boating is becoming more and more popular each year, we have noticed that a lot of people are not only using their boats for fishing but for a little bit of everything. He will be having an open house at TNT MARINE on January 19th 2008 at 3:00pm.

This will be a trial to see how many people are interested in forming an association. You can email Thomas at thomasr@t-n-tmarine.com if you are going to attend, or just show up.

Our Nordic exploration has once again begun. Each winter, I spend December and January in Denmark to spend the festive holidays with Nina and her family. The food is usually the highlight. There will of course be some fishing for species that are not found in Canada. Stay tuned for future postings, as I will update throughout the trip when interesting places are visited, good food is eaten and fish are caught.

Our Lufthansa flight from Vancouver to Frankfurt was long but uneventful as usual. We departed and took our time to get through the clouds as snow fell in the Fraser Valley. We remained fairly low when crossing the Okanagan valley, so we managed to get some good shots between clouds.

Energetic passengers, prior to departure.

Flying over the coast mountain range.

Dinner arrived. We sat on the third last row, so sure enough we didn’t get a choice between two entrees and ended up with pasta.

Yum...

Nina did not seem so impressed.

I saw Northern light for the first time as we flew over Greenland. Too bad the camera could not capture the view.

Breakfast seemed much better.

Circling around Frankfurt before landing. It is one of the most heavily used international airport in Europe.

The landing of the big bird was smooth, despite of heavy wind.

Stupidity began once we pulled up to our terminal (second plane from right in the photo below). A SAS MD-82 (the tiny one hiding behind the our big airbus in the photo) pulled up beside our plane as we were getting off. That was our next flight to Copenhagen. It was so close, yet so far away. We were sent onto a bus that took us to the main tranfer area, where we went through passport check. We then followed the signs and ended up between two terminals, where I took the photo below. We continued to the terminal on the opposite end, then were guided to an underground tunnel that went below all the airplanes and took us back to the original terminal, where our next flight sat. The entire trek took over 30 minutes, leaving us hot and thirsty.

The second flight is always easy, because it only takes just over one hour between Frankfurt and Copenhagen. The pilots always seem to race through this route, the actual flight time is always much shorter than expected flight time.

Sea of clouds above the Baltic Sea.

A girl can always shop after travelling for 15 hours.

So here we are, crammed into a rather small apartment. Our first fishing outing will happen tomorrow. Perhaps there will be some catches to report.