Every year for the last 11 years I’ve made the long journey to the Island of Uløya and our base at Havnnes Handelssted the most northerly trading post in Norway. Situated some 350 Miles into the arctic circle and steeped in a rich history of fishing and fish production, its a natural haven .
It’s pretty much a stunningly beautiful wilderness and an arctic paradise with the wow factor. The fish camp and accompanying businesses of stockfish and salted fish production and world fish export has been family run by the Giæver family for 100s of years and still is today.
Over the years myself and many fishing friends have experienced a lot of phenomenal fishing for large quantities of big cod, coalfish, haddock and Halibut to name a few. Many visiting anglers travel to Norway with high expectations of bagging big cod and other species that it’s famed for with little or no effort. It’s certainly possible to achieve some very high bench mark fish, but you have to work very hard at times to find those special fish.
When you find those special fish it’s imperative you are using the best quality and the most reliable terminal tackle available. A cheap swivel, swivel link or the line won’t last five minutes if and when you get stuck into a shoal or ravenously feeding cod, coalfish or a big Halibut. The fatigue on the low grade metal just gives in. I have witnessed this first hand.
For several years now, I’ve been using the Cox & Rawle stainless and brass rolling swivels, ballbearing swivel coast snaps of various sizes for every rig I make and use in Norway. They are incredibly strong reliable and very competitively priced and are of the highest quality and don’t suffer the same fatigue stress and weakening like many others.
A few may think I’m only saying this because of my involvement with the Cox and Rawle PRO-Team and that’s sort of understandable but the truth is, I’ve been using these products way before my involvement .
The same goes for the hooks. For over 10 years myself and my Norway fishing partners have been using the Cox and Rawle Meat Hooks for all our bait fishing for the Halibut with outstanding results. However this year with my involvement with the PRO-Team, I took out a few different patterns of hooks to try out on different techniques for many species of fish often overlooked in the arctic and there’s no better place to try out a hook to see if it’s worth its salt or not than in Norway .
While drifting bait over Halibut feeding grounds I always reach for a 8/0 or 10/0 Meat Hook; this hook is an outstanding strong and reliable hook! This year however my fishing partner and myself tied on a Cox & Rawle 8/0 Sea beast Hook and both landed Halibut to over 30lb on this hook. I now have a choice of two go too big fish hooks, two options is always better than one in my opinion! The sea beast hooks are strong, super sharp and are slightly lighter in weight if fish are being a bit weary and finicky.
One morning before breakfast we decided to have a little dabble on the shore, fishing for the local over sized dabs that live just off the quay. After a late night watching the awe inspiring northern lights and with blurry eyes I grabbed a two hook down running ledger rig, this rig is ideally suited for the deep water bank. Noticing the hooks needed changing I tied on a couple of 2/0 Uptide Hooks as they were to hand. Ideally I would of tied a Cox and Rawle 1/0 Aberdeen Perfect on , but being half asleep, I just went with it, not being my usual meticulous self . After baiting up with a couple of strips of fresh mackerel, I had a few casts around in search of a morning dab. On about the 4th cast a solid bang registered on the rod tip followed by the tip pulling round on the quiver tip, then all hell broke lose as the hooked fish made a bid for freedom taking line off the drag of my fixed spool reel. This wasn’t a dab I was sure of that. Was it a half tidy cod? After a few minutes of give and take and sported runs the fish approached the shore and showed itself, it was indeed a flatfish but not the target species. I wasn’t complaining as my friend plucked out a fine Halibut for me. The 2/0 Uptide Hook firmly hooked and wasn’t coming out . This is a positive testament to these hooks as a double figure Halibut will make short work of anything weak or inferior. Let’s be clear here, I certainly wouldn’t go targeting Halibut with a 2/0 uptide hook , but its definitely reassuring to know that they can handle a powerful fish if one was hooked while targeting something else. From that minute I decided the uptide hook is my go to UK winter Cod hook.
One morning before we headed up the Lyngenfjord to drift an area to target the big cod with big shads. We stopped off on the shallow banks to give the dabs another bash but this time from the boat. Two hook running ledger rigs armed with needle sharp Cox and Rawle Size 1 Aberdeen Perfect hooks baited with fresh strips of mackerel were soon cast away from the anchored boat. It wasn’t long before a steady stream of double and single shots of plump Norwegian dabs were coming aboard. It was a race to unhook and rebait the hooks as fast as we could to catch more of the obliging flatfish. During our manic flatly bash with a few codling failing to our baits as wellthese Aberdeen perfect hooks performed as the name suggests .. PERFECT ... These hooks are the perfect hook in small sizes for match fishing and pleasure anglers alike. Their needle sharp points just stick in on contact. Often with other brands of hooks in small size the points lose their edge but not these Aberdeen perfects.
To recap on a few essentials I would highly recommended to anyone planning on a Norway fishing break from the shore or boat. A selection of Meat Hooks and Sea Beast hooks in 8/0-10/0 for targeting the big Halibut and Cod from boat & shore. The Specimen Extra in 3/0 - 8/0 for general fishing and Aberdeen Perfects for the Plaice and Dabs that are on offer. Terminal Tackle for the rigs on both the shore and boat that I use and wouldn’t travel without and would also recommend highly are the stainless crane swivels, the Stainless Steel Ball Bearing Swivels and the Brass Ball Bearing Swivels with Coast Lock Snap - all theses items in my opinion are essentials when targeting big fish. The fatigue inflicted on these item can be intense so the highest quality reliable Terminal Tackle is required.
I’m now back in the UK and have had a few sessions on the Autumn Bristol Channel Codling using the Cox & Rawle Uptide Hook with great success, but that’s for another future blog.
Tight lines to you all, regards Craig.