Claus Eriksen, Orvis distributor in Denmark , describes his passion…
Fly fishing for sea trout is extremely popular in Denmark, but in contrast to many other countries where sea trout fishing is done in rivers, most Danish sea trout are caught in saltwater – either from the beach or boats. Denmark is made up (broadly speaking) of two large islands and a peninsular. Especially on Fyn, my home island in the middle of Denmark, sea trout fishing goes well together with fly fishermen!
Facts About The Saltwater Sea Trout
The Danish sea trout can be caught all year round, but the months March to June and September to October are definitely the best. This kind of fly fishing will appeal to the adventurous fly fisherman who has a lot of patience. You need to be able to explore the coastline, build up a list of your favourite spots, and often you have to fish many kilometres of beach and make hundreds of casts before you find the trout. Acting like an efficient predator, the trout will cruise through the shallow weed beds just off the beach in an attempt to surprise small bait fish and shrimps… Trout will either move singly, or more often in groups, so when you find them there should be an opportunity to cast to more than one fish.
Wind can be an important factor in choosing where to fish. The on-shore winds can be strong in Denmark – however, with Fyn being an island, it is not difficult to drive around the coast to find a sheltered spot. The average size of trout is about 3 pounds with fish of 4-6 pounds being fairly common. Trophy fish will be in the 10-16 pound range, but fish of that size are quite rare to be caught from the beach. Local fishermen, who fish at least once a week, rarely get more than one of these fish a year.
Fishing on the Danish beaches is free, when the National Licence of DKR125 has been paid. You can buy the licenses from any fishing shop, and this is also a good place for advice and to acquire a copy of “117 Fine Fishing Spots in Fyn ”. This short guidebook has good maps and directions. Why not start by reading more about seat trout fishing on this web site, which comes with English translation: www.seatrout.dk
Gear for Saltwater Sea Trout fishing
Rods: A powerful 9' saltwater rod is a necessity. On rough days with a lot of wind the Zero G or T3 9' 8-weight Tip Flex rods are an excellent choice. When the weather is fine, the same rod in a 6-weight configuration is a good supplement to the heavier rod.
Reels: The Danish sea trout do not fight like tropical saltwater fish do, so a reel like the Battenkill LA III or V reel has for many years been a favourite with Danish fly fishermen. 100-150 yards of backing is sufficient.
Line: A floating shooting head and running line is the right combination to give you the long casts that are necessary. Use a Mirage 9' leader with a 2x or 1x tippet.
Clothing: Waders are a necessity – the sea can be very cold around Denmark. Many fishermen still use 5mm neoprene waders in the months from October to April. Breathable waders are OK for the summer months, but make sure you have good fleece under wader wear. Boots can be all felt, or felt with studs, with some good ankle support like on the Battenkill Brogue. The Orvis Tailwaters XT or “No Sweat” wading jackets are a very good choice to wear all year round.
Stripping Basket: The Orvis Stripping Basket is a "cult" product among Danish saltwater fly fishermen. Nobody with self respect wil l fish without the "Orvis (Kitchen) Zink" by their side!
Flies: We use imitations of grey shrimp, sand eels, small herring and the big lug worms we see in the Spring. There are a lot of good local patterns to be had and still a lot of experimenting is going on by intelligent fly tyers. You really have to come into a shop to see the full variety of what is available…
A Fishing Tale
We are in the beginning of April and it is the top season for fly fishing on Fyn . Almost every customer in the shop can tell tales of catching many and big fish. It can be frustrating for me, because good fishing means that the shop is busy too! When your biggest passion in life is fly fishing, you must find a solution: In the Spring, my solution is short trips in the early morning before the shop opens. So, as the weather forecast one evening promises nice weather for the following day, I set the alarm clock to wake me three hours before normal…
The grey light of dawn is just beginning to come as I park by the beach the following day. It is only a short walk up to the little reef, which is one of my favourite spots this time of year. The weather forecast was right - a light off shore wind ripples the sea surface perfectly. I measure the water temperature up by the reef. At 4 degrees C I had hoped for a little bit higher temperature, but as long as the water is not below 2 degrees C the sea trout will be feeding and active. The air is about the same temperature as the water, so my fingers are cold and stiff when I start casting. I always start at a distance before the reef to get a good rhythm with the casts and to get some warmth in my body. After a few casts I feel the gear is working well. The light wind in my back carries the shooting head perfectly and the running line shoots time after time out of the stripping basket. The conditions are almost too fine for my T3 8-weight rod, the 6-weight would have been sufficient, but never mind. I have tied a homemade lug worm fly on my leader - which is a very effective fly in the beginning of the Spring.
As the fly swings up on the low part at the middle of the reef I see a bow wave rising behind the fly. I strip quickly three or four times, and then I stop. The wave changes into a heavy swirl in the surface and at the same time the line gets tight. The sea trout rolls once in the surface, before it heads out in the deep water on the side of the reef. I feel that it is a big fish, but I am pretty relaxed, because at this time of the year we often see big sea trout kelts at the coast. They are long, but lean and not good fighters. This trout behaves like a kelt. It moves deeply and on short runs. I put pressure on the fish and after a few minutes I have the connection between the shooting head and the leader in the tip ring. I can see the fish clearly out on the bottom right before me and I barely have time to think that it takes a lot of pressure to move the fish, when it suddenly turns away. As a rocket it shoots up from the bottom and breaks the surface right before me. A giant silvery sea trout is hanging freely in the air three meters from my rod tip, before it lands with a huge splash. This leap awakens both me and the fish! In a furious run it swims out along the reef, while I try to catch my breath and keep the running line clear at the same time. About forty meters out it jumps twice and all my thoughts about a kelt are completely forgotten. The fish is well hooked, and after another fifteen minutes I can beach 16 pounds of shining silver. That day it was me who told the stories and the customers who listened!
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