Sea Fishing Report from Sørøya
Marc MacMillan, February 20, 2011
Surrounded by rich, cold water and carefully protected by the Norwegian fisheries, Sørøya is a sea fisherman’s paradise. The waters surrounding the northern island of Sørøya teem with cod, coalfish, haddock, halibut, wolf-fish and many more species that thrive in cold northern waters. Here’s a report about a trip I did with friends, Josh and Ed in Summer 2010…
We did not have to wait long before getting the first bite. A plump 3lb codling came to the surface on my rod, hooking itself within 2 minutes of dropping a line. Bites from a string of small cod and haddock continued for a while before we decided to move to deeper waters. The move paid off and in no time both Ed and I were pulling up double headers of 6-8lb cod, Josh on the other hand was content to watch and take in the beautiful surroundings as the evening sun hit the snow-peaked mountains on the mainland, letting his pirk dangle idly underneath our boat. With thoughts turning to dinner and the prospect of fresh cod fillets, we decided one more fish and we’d pack it in. Soon after making this decision, Josh’s rod arched over, forcing him to hang on in a battle against the fish. The screaming reel shattered the previously peaceful evening, and after a 25 minute fight, we hoisted a huge 35lb cod into the boat. After much cheering and photographing we headed back into the harbour, completing our first evening sea fishing.
Our initial plan to do battle with these enormous sea-creatures aboard kayaks was changed due to forecasted strong winds. Instead of fishing from kayaks we would now be fishing from an extremely comfortable aluminium fishing boat, equipped with 12-20 and 20-30lb boat rods and reels loaded with 50lbs braid. With substantial gear we set off on our second day to a mark outside the harbour of Hasvik. In anticipation of another good day on the water, we dropped our 500g pirks into the depths below. Having fished in Norwegian waters before, I knew the problem was not going to be finding fish to catch but instead stopping the smaller fish hooking themselves on your lure before the bigger ones could. To combat this we were using heavy pirks to reach the depths quickly and armed with 12/0 and 10/0 treble hooks in a bid to deter the many smaller fish hooking themselves.
Over the next couple days we caught several cod up to 30lb but not surpassing the giant we caught on the first night. We failed to glimpse a sizeable halibut, although Ed did manage to catch a nice 15lber. Between big fish the day was broken up with haddock up to 6lbs, redfish to 4lbs, small cod and torsk.
The forecast for bad weather prevented us from sea fishing for two days. We used this free time to recuperate and sample some of Hasvik’s fine nightlife and a trip to the “Pub” followed by a good night in the tiny town.
Our tactics were simple: We fished using heavy pirks combined with strong braided mainline. We positioned the boat over the deep shelving ledges that surround Sørøya, fishing mostly within 20m of the bottom in waters from 40m to 140m. The big redfish which Sørøya is famous for are found at depths below 140m. Although we were unsuccessful with the redfish, the several days on the water were outstandingly good – a credit to effective regulation by Norwegian fisheries and the fertile waters surrounding the island.