Lets leave tackle reviews aside for a few moments. It’s time for another Troutin’ Story, this time in the far north, the far end of Sweden, beyond the polar circle.
I never thought I’d go on such an adventure, at least not in the near future, but unstable as I and Stefan are, we somehow took the Bear Grills approach to a fishing trip. As extreme as we could find in a month and a half’s time.
After writing about 8-10 e-mails, and about 8-10 phone calls further in the future, we finally came across someone who would take us out fishing into the wilderness of Sweden after the 30th of August. That’s about when the fishing season ends for about everyone that far north, but that’s when we were both available for this trip, and we needed to find someone available to take us. Mikko answered our preyers, and booked us for a helicopter flight into the wilderness….
Do I even have to mention the next few weeks passed like they were days?!
28th of August, late in the night
Panic attack was setting in. I couldn’t collect my thoughts regarding all the items I’d pack. No matter how I’d pack them it seemed I would never be able to make them fit in my backpack. We needed to go as light as posible. But you know us anglers… you can never go to light when it comes to tackle. You’d rather sacrifice a few clothing items instead of that handfull of lures. That’s exactly what we did… We went as light as we could with our clothing, and squeezed more lures than normal in all our boxes, we both preferred jerkbaits, especially the sallow ones, and tons of spoons. Other than a backpack we had to drag with ourselves a big bazuca, packed with rods, and Stefan’s wet suit… he insisted we had to take that as well, even if I wasn’t totally in on it.
30th of August – departure day
5 hours and 3 planes later, Mikko was already instructing us on how to set up the Tentipi we rented, and was ready with our fishing passes and all the instructions we needed. We were leaving in about half an hour. It almost seemed unbelievable it was all happening. Did I forget to mention I never set foot in a heli before?… I guess not… how bad could it be?
We are loading everything in the helicopter. The bazuca with all our rods doesn’t fit… until Mikko finds the only way to make it fit… huh… that was a close call. As soon as the helicopter lifted we both knew there was no turning back. It was all or nothing. After a few miles flying just above the tree line, the pilot pulls the stick, and we start gaining some altitude, and perspective on the land in front of us: water everywhere you looked, large rivers, small streams, ponds, swamps… that’s how Lapland looks from above.
It didn’t seem much, but we got to our final destination, our camping site, a small patch of leveled earth, moss and stones, right on the river bank. This is it! All forms of contact are useless from now on. We only have a pick up date. If something goes wrong we’ll have to make due. It’s just us, nature, on our own “private” patch of land, “rented” for 8 days. Is it overwhelming? It sorta is, considering all the unknowns… we only know what’s around us from the map Mikko left us.
We set up camp, the tent is unlike anything we were used to so far, similar to an amerindian tipi. It had a ventilation hole that was controllable from a set of strings that were stretched down the mast of the tent. The vent would come in handy when we had to warm up or dry our clothes at night, with the kerosene warmer Miko gave us. After setting up the tent we wasted no time in organizing our luggage and the rest of the stuff, in and outside the tent. Next step, believe it or not was to set up our gear. We were going to fish today, until sundown. We were placed right above a 200meter long water fall, and from what we knew, upstream from the waterfall we would catch only trout, and arctic char, while downstream we will find lots and lots of grayling as well.
The salmonids season closes today, so if we caught any trout, we had to release them… grayling and whitefish were the only 2 species that we were allowed to retain for our dinner grill. That shouldn’t have been a problem… would it? Especially if fish was going to be our everyday dinner.
Jerkbaits were the preferred lures in the stretch of river we chose for this afternoon, but no grayling… it’s 21:00 and we’ve only caught trout so far. It’s frustrating considering we planned to eat fish every night. That’s how our food was portioned. But right on my last cast I miraculously manage to catch a grayling. If we would’ve planned it, this was almost impossible, but …. we have dinner … As Bear Grills always sais: “Food and fire are always good for moral!” ) If you haven’t tried baked onions and grilled fish… you have to… it’s impossible to describe how good that is.
31st of August 2011
5:00 Beat and tired, I truly can’t remember how we fell asleep last night. Stefan woke up first… his internal clock is like magic… and after waking me up as well, we established a game plan for today, and the days to come. Today we’ll explore the large lake formed on the river, right upstream the waterfall, trying to figure out a way to get across.
5:30 We got out of the tent, made our morning tea. Coffee was “banned” in our camp, and by the way… the tea we bought tastes like detergent. But that’s the tea we had, that’s the one we’ll drink, that’s the one we’ll learn to love.
6:30 The rain doesn’t seem to fold. It keeps on going, and we finally start fishing. Up to 50-150 meters from the shore, this large pool formed on the river, had water knee deep. We had to get where the fish were, and that meant at least waist deep water. We went thru jerkbaits like crazy, to find the best one to catch them no matter where we were throwing them. I finally find the ONE, Rapala X-Rap 08. 5-6 casts with this lure caught me the same amount of trout… WOW! WOW my ass… I realized I only had 2 of them , and the first one was lost after the first 6 casts. I cast the second one, and after 4-5 more casts, and the same amount of trout caught on it, another hefty one brakes my line… As soon as they felt they were cornered, they started hitting their head against the rocky bottom in order to escape the lure. These were no ordinary trout by any mean.
I had no more X-Raps… And this was only the first day of fishing. Stefan quickly realized on what I was catching them… X-Rap it was for him as well. He caught them one after another. He had 3 of them. Lost 2 in a matter of 40 minutes, but he still had one left. You can trust me he would guard this one, even if his life depended on it.
I was searching thru jerkbaits like crazy again, in order to find another one that was close to that efficient. I had to change my main line to braided, because I was loosing to many lures fishing with monofilament. I couldn’t control them very efficiently because of the elasticity of the line.
10:45 The excitement was cut short by Stefan. He sliped on a rock in knee deep water, and was already wet to the bone. In solidarity, you know what that means… get back to the camp site, make a fire, and change clothes, even if I would’ve preferred to fish some more.
Later We went further up, towards the end of this large basin, where the river was flowing in it again. As I expected, Stefan, in each spot we fished caught them one after another with the X-Rap, while I was still searching for the right jerk bait. I got the beating of my life… but in the end I had an idea. After struggling to catch a few ones with a Vision Q-Go from Megabass, I had the idea of getting the feathered treble from a popper and adapt it to a Lucky Craft Pointer 65 SP. As soon as I did this, I started catching again, not only that, but it caught me the largest trout of the day, after a nearly humiliating experience, while I was constantly looking at Stefan as he was catching them one after another… This was the last trout of the day. We had to get back to camp, and build a fire.
1st of Septeber
7:00 After the exhausting hiking, fishing experience of yesterday… we knew we wouldn’t get up at 5 again. Stefan woke up first… The rain was still pouring. We took our breakfast inside the tent today. Scrambled eggs, cheese and a hefty portion of hungarian sausages .
The plan for today is to hike up to where this large pool in the river ends, and try to cross the river. Yesterday it looked as we could do it, an if we did, we had a new areas of virgin open water just for ourselves…
Hiking in any direction was challenging. The 50cm moss covering everything, felt like walking on a giant sponge. The moss was only interrupted by shrub, rocky terrain and swamps, no formed paths, other than those created by reindeer. The trip would take the entire day, so we packed all we needed in our backpacks.
20:30 After an entire day of fishing, with out initial plan, a partial failure: we didn’t find any way to get across, but had the best fishing game, upstream of the pool, we explored yesterday. We’ve only caught large trout today. Unlike yesterday, this area wasn’t as ideal for the X-Rap, which dove a bit deeper than needed. We’ve found that Yo-Zuri Pin’s Magnet and Lucky Craft Flash Minnow 95MR were doing a much better job.
Trout are genetically born to swim all their lives… so you can imagine it’s hard to make them understand it’s time to stop, even for a few moments, but in the end they had no choice, their muscles had to fail sometime, but so did our arms, which were in need of a brake, after 2-3 of these giant river trout.
This was a day of extremes, exhaustion, and tons of big ass trout. Stefan felt the need to slip for the second time, and we had to withdraw to our “comfy” cabin again… I would’ve preferred more fishing, but we had a pact… and had to keep to it. It was to risky to be anywhere far away from camp alone… anything could happen… far away from, well…. everything.
Keep tuned for more wild adventures!