In April 2004 myself and Steve Humpherson became the first British anglers to fish at Skjervoy Fish Camp, which is located in the Troms district of Arctic Norway. I remember the weather during that trip was beautiful, with clear skies, hardly a breath of wind and brilliantly intense sunshine illuminating the amazing mountainous scenery that was covered in a thick blanket of snow. Fishing with local skipper Knut Arne Mikalsen aboard his commercial boat Skarungen, plus on our own aboard the camps fleet of small open aluminium boats, we caught plenty of cod to well over 30lb, along with the usual variety of other species.
The first article I wrote about that trip appeared a few months later in Sea Angler Magazine, and immediately the phone lines at Anglers World Holidays started to ring; and barely have they stopped since as Skjervoy has evolved into the most talked about and popular camp in Norway. Anglers World Holidays alone having sent many thousands of anglers to fish there.
Over the years the fleet of self drive boats gradually evolved from the original small ‘tinnies’ into larger alloy boats, and then the ever popular Arvors with their cabins and inboard diesel engines. Each year from April until the end of September these boats have been used and often abused, day in day out, by countless anglers, many of whom have no or little boat handling experience. Not surprisingly both the boats and the cabins eventually started to look a tad neglected, with some of the camp managers have been more efficient than others at addressing various issues as and when they occurred. Realising that standards were not as high as they would like the camp owners have recently appointed both a new manager and a permanent on site maintenance man, both of whom live locally. Each of the 8 main cabins and the apartments has or will have undergone a thorough make over by the start of the 2018 season, and that is not all.
Skjervoy Fish Camp has ordered 10 amazing Jeanneau Merry Fisher Marlin 795 boats, each of which is powered by an incredible 115hp Yamaha 4-Stroke outboard. I have long been a fan of the Jeanneau range, so much so that were I ever to consider buying another boat for my own use I would be surprised if I purchased anything other than a Jeanneau. All of the Jeanneau range I have trialled have handled beautifully in a wide range of varying sea conditions, and the Marlin range in particular are absolutely perfect for fishing from.
In October this year I made what I believe was my tenth visit to Skjervoy to see for myself how the cabins have been upgraded, and spend three days fishing aboard a Jeanneau Marlin demonstrator. As luck would have it the weather was perfect, allowing me to make the run out to a few favourite banks and reefs located off the mouth of the Kvaengan Fjord and off the northern shoreline of the neighbouring island of Arnoy.
The fishing I experienced was very good, especially considering this was past the end of the traditional season. We caught plenty of cod including several specimens weighing up to mid-twenties, plus a few other species including a mackerel: what was that doing over 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle in October? Other highlights included fine displays of the northern lights on two nights.
On our last but one day we bumped into Knut Arne Mikalsen at the local super market. Knut is now a Coastal Pilot assisting ships to safely navigate the tricky waters off the northern Norwegian coast. Luckily he was currently on leave and was very easily persuaded to join us for our last days fishing. It was the perfect end to a most enjoyable yet all-too-short trip to one of my favourite parts of the world.
Bookings for Skjervoy Fish Camp in the UK are made through Anglers World Holidays Tel: 01246 221717 or visit: http://anglersworld.tv/sea-fishing/norway/troms-region/ Here you will find plenty of information, including a couple of instructional videos we have made over the years.
Hi Dave.I believe that you must have followed us out to Skjervoy a couple of weeks after our trip,maybe with Martin from Anglers World.If so he no doubt told you of our hairy experience.
If not,briefly,we were fishing close in off the north east coast of Arnoy near the mouth of the fiord. The wind started to freshen so we decided to head for shelter.We attempted to start the engine without success & by this time we were getting close to the rocky shoreline.We made several attempts to contact the camp & the coastguard but the mobile phone signal was very poor & kept failing.The camp & coastguard knew that we were in trouble but couldn’t determine our waypoint due to weak signal.Fortunately after several attempts to restart the engine we clouted the starter motor repeatedly & the engine started,thus we were able to limp home. The engine would not restart once in harbour,so we consider ourselves very lucky.
The point i am making is that we used to have positional locaters on each boat upto this year & with the unreliable mobile signal in this part of the world I would have thought that this would be a pre requisite.Apart from that,the fishing was great as always,with several halibut upto 100lb,plenty of cod & lots of haddock upto 10lb.Our party included Andy Steele(Sea anglers match fishing chairman),Colin Flintoff (father of Freddie Flintoff),my son Stuart who you have met on the match fishing circuit,& myself who traveled with you to Namibia many years ago.Also pals of Paul Fenech.
Yes John I did hear about your incident, and this is exactly why the camp has invested in 10 new boats. Each new boat will be fitted with AIS and they are looking at the legality of providing VHF radios. At present at least once person on board a boat must have a VHF operators licence before a VHF can be used to transmit; hopefully they will find a solution.
Boats aside, you guys certainly;y had a great trip!
All best and say hi to your mates from me.