Reading the coast
Sea Trout Fishing
“Feedback from Thomas Rüttel”
Arriving at that morning’s spot, somewhere in Helnæs bay, I glared over the water and thought to myself that it looked nothing like what I saw on Google maps the night before.
The bathtub I expected to encounter, was a monotonous dark rim and way further out than expected. That hotspot I was after, should’ve started somewhere at the edge of the beech woods, a disencouraging walk from where I was standing.
Abandoning last night’s plan and already contemplating a plan B, I noticed a small stretch of dark patches in the sandy bay where I stood. The patches were grouped like a string and seemed to connect with the dark rim further out.
I decided to take a closer look and as soon as I layed eyes on the first patch, I saw that it was a mussel bed. This discovery, combined with other factors at that moment, made me go “one eighty” from disappointment to a solid conviction that seatrout were here.
This is the eleventh year that my father, my friend and I travel to Denmark for our annual seatrout fishing trip. We went to Als a couple of times but mostly we visit South Fyn. Spinfishing with bombarda and small lures was our game and during the years we caught our share of seatrout. The strategy was always to fish a stretch of coastline, the three of us next to eachother approximately 25 meters apart, combing the water from point A to point Z. Arriving at Z, we would stroll back to A while making some casts on the way back. Then we would drive to the next spot.
We fished hard but we lacked efficiency, so we learned later on. Three years ago, when driving back to The Netherlands from a Spring trip, I read an article in the magazine Fisk & Fri about Seatroutguide Fyn and the coarses they offer. One of them being “Reading the coast”. This coarse offered knowledge about identifying area’s with the highest probability of holding fish. For us, driving 1000 km to fish for seatrout, the promise of fishing more efficient sounded very appealing.
It was not long before I contacted Niklas Albrechtsen and arranged the course with him for next season. I wanted to do someting special for my father’s retirement so Niklas proposed a customized course, starting with some theory at the summerhouse we were staying at and after put it in practise with a guided tour.
Reading the coast -Sea Trout Fishing
Niklas connected as ‘one of the guys’ and taught us how to look at the coast from a seatrout’s perspective. With temperatures around freezing point (and well below at night), fishing was tough that day but the hardship added to the experience of fishing with kindred spirits, sharing a passion. That this day ushered in a change in the way I fish, I would discover a year later.
Something else I discovered over time is that fishing and especially fly fishing, can be an expensive hobby. With rod upgrades come new lines, after neoprene waders come breathable ones, boots, matching jacket and headwear and so on. Oh, and I tie my own flies… fellow fly tyers know what I mean. My gear makes me fish more comfortable and catching fish on my own flies, creates an extra dimension. But all these investments do not pay off when you fish where the fish aren’t!
… back to Helnæs bay and my string of mussel bed patches. In a trance like focus I was stripping line from my reel to prepare for the first cast over a patch. I did not think for a second about the fact that it was the first time that I took my fly rod to the coastline instead of my bombarda setup. Settling for far less distance than I was comfortable with and used to, was a big deal for me and restrained me for quite some time to really sink my teeth into fly fishing. It was Niklas who convinced me to go in for the full 100 and just take that leap. So I leapt and made my way across the patches, casting and rollcasting: laying my line everywhere my attention was drawn to. No longer I was thinking about my mediocre casting skills or distance; i was just fishing. In the following hour and a half I caught 10 fish and I haven’t touched my bombarda setup since.
Reading the coast
Sea Trout Fishing
I wonder if I would’ve made the same descision to fish the small patches if I was there with my bombarda setup instead of my fly rod. I believe the fly rod forced me to look at the coast more closely: to be more precise in where to place my fly.
Me being rewarded with a small bonanza however, was not because of my fly rod. It would’ve been useless if I did not know how to look and determine where the fish are: a thing Niklas taught me.