LURE CHUCKER’S PARADISE
It’s another string to the bow of visitors to Norway
Discover another side of Norway.
Underwater mountains and ridges, with huge drop-offs and holes all around them that create whirlpools and sudden changes in tidal flow, are an ambush predator’s dream. Finding such a mark is also an absolute dream for shore-based lure anglers.
I fished such a mark during last year’s Tronix Fishing trip to Skarnsundet in Norway, when I had the pleasure of lure fishing with some top rods.
I’ve done a huge amount of lure fishing all over the world from boats, but very little from the shore, so I was really looking forward to chucking some plastic about with the likes of Adam Kirby, Mark Radcliffe, Martin Collison and father-and-son duo Chris and Paul Devlin, of Fishing Megastore fame.
While other members of the group were off drowning ragworms and a whole host of other baits in search of plaice, ghost sharks and the like, I followed the lure lads around for a day to find out how good the sport could be from the shore.
Our host for the week, Phill Dale, directed us to one of his favourite marks – Straumen – which is a short drive from the camp. I’d been past it in a boat half-a-dozen times on my way to the plaice hotspot in the lagoon.
WHIRLPOOL OF FEATURES
Before I delve into the tactics, I’ve got to tell you about this mark from a boat angler’s perspective. It’s one of the dodgiest pieces of water that I’ve had to navigate. The tidal flow can be immense at times, due to the huge amount of water rushing in and out of the lagoon through a relatively narrow passage.
At a guess, I’d say it was pushing at least five knots in places, with whirlpools and rips like I’ve never seen. As well as the sheer amount of water being pushed in and out, the underwater topography is, well, mental.
There’s a clear line detailed on the navigation chart, which you must adhere to when going through this stretch of water, because if you stray from that line, you will almost certainly run into submerged rocks.
The underwater mountains and ridges with huge drop-offs and holes all around them create whirlpools and sudden increases or decreases in tidal flow. This is why the shore fishing is so good. It’s almost impossible to fish it from a boat, which is why it’s so popular with shore anglers.
If you are going to make this passage in a boat to get to the plaice fishing, don’t be scared of it. It looks like hell on water, but if you get your approach right, keeping the revs on so that you’re pushing at least five knots through the oncoming water, or just a tad more if it’s following you in, you’ll be fine. And stick to the guided track on the plotter!
We arrived at the mark about an hour down on the ebbing tide, so the water was rushing out of the lagoon from left to right. It took half-an-hour before the lads could get on the rocks where they wanted to cast from, in order to hit the distance and fish the
drop-offs behind the underwater mountains.
You’ll see from the chart exactly where we were, and what I mean by ‘underwater mountains’. It goes from just a couple of feet deep to over 30ft in a matter of seconds.
As soon as they began to hit their mark, the lures were getting smashed left, right and centre, with cod to double figures, small coalfish and a few pollack.
Later that same evening, once we had returned from our session, the GAC lads, Paul and his son Chris, took the car and put in an evening session at Straumen. They were rewarded with double-figure pollack and loads of decent cod. It certainly seems that evenings are best for the bigger pollack here, which may have something to do with the lower light levels.
This particular mark takes no prisoners, and you can expect to lose a few lures while fishing it. These lads knew exactly what they were doing, and how to fish it, and even they lost a few lures between them. As the saying goes, though, ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it’.
You’ll need a reasonably beefy lure rod, something in the 8-9ft range with a rating of 20-60g. A decent 4000-sized fixed-spool reel loaded with 20lb braid will complete the set-up, and it’s advisable to use a short length of 20 or 25lb fluorocarbon leader, say 3ft, to give you a fighting chance against the rocks when you hook a fish.
The aim of the game is to use a relatively heavy lure, 20g-plus, to cast as close to the top of the underwater mountains as possible without actually hitting the shallowest part, then letting the lure drop quickly as the tide pulls it around. It’s then a case of timing it right to begin your retrieve before the lure hits the deck and risks getting snagged.
A few casts, and maybe the occasional lost lure, will soon have you getting into the swing of things, and once you start to hit the fish it will become second nature. Buckle up, make sure your drag is tight, and try not to give the fish an inch, or it will surely find somewhere to snag you. It’s real ‘hit and hold’, heart-inmouth stuff at Straumen!
Mark, Martin and Adam are all Tronixpro Fishing staff and, as such, they have lure boxes crammed full of HTO gear. They had a lot of success with both soft plastics and metals, namely the HTO Shore Jigs and Artic Eels. Pink or blue seemed to be the hot colours.
Basically, any weighted paddletail lure that ‘swims’ on its own as it falls through the water or gets pulled around in the tide will see you score here, like the Fiiish Black Minnow, SG Sandeel or Sidewinders.
I know Mark Radcliffe had a lot of success with the HTO Shore Jigs at this mark, and the ones
right on the doorstep of the camp, and at less than £3 a pop you can afford to lose a few if need be.
Straumen is just one of those marks that you have to fish while you are at Skarnsundet. It’s an experience all on its own. However, you don’t have to venture that far in order to catch double-figure fish. In fact, you can fish from the harbour wall right outside the apartments if you want. The best place is the rocky outcrop to the left as you look out of your apartment window. Simply follow the path for a couple of hundred yards and you’ll be there. Casting to either side of the island in front of you, you will catch cod, pollack and coalfish. Mark nailed a brace of double-figure cod there one morning, one after the other. Phill is a mine of information, and he will direct you to all the hotspots in the area – you really are spoilt for choice when it comes to lure fishing here.
Fish this size are ten a penny at Straumen
Mark Radcliffe playing yet another decent cod at Straumen
The harbour wall right outside the apartments is also a great lure-fishing spot
The HTO Shore Jig accounted for loads of double-figure cod for Mark Radcliffe
GAC’s Paul Devlin with one of the many doublefigure pollack he caught during the week
Chris Devlin with a decent pollack from another of Phill’s top marks