NORWAY/ICELAND TACKLE GUIDE

Whenever I get together with a group of anglers it’s a fair bet that within a very short time we’ll be talking about fishing in Norway or Iceland, more specifically what tackle to use. With over 30 fishing trips to Northern Norway & a dozen to Iceland beneath my belt I feel I have got my own personal tackle requirements down to a fine art. All my tackle fits comfortably into one soft canvas holdall, and the overall weight is never much more than the 20kg allowance that is standard with most airlines.

I travel extensively and I detest having to travel with rod tubes, not just because almost all airlines charge for them these days, but also because they are a total pain the butt to lug around airports. Whenever possible I use my various Shimano STC, Shimano Travel Concept, multi-piece rods which come with a strong, light, protective tubes that can fit into my check in bags.

A brace of 35lb+ Icelandic coalfish, note the Storm Ultra Shad in the mouth of my fish.

A brace of 35lb+ Icelandic coalfish, note the Storm Ultra Shad in the mouth of my fish.

Occasionally someone will argue they are not convinced that these rods are strong enough to handle big cod or halibut. All I can say is that I have used mine to catch plenty of 100lb plus tarpon and billfish, countless sharks and yes, more than just a few big cod, coalfish and halibut. Further, the action on ‘good quality’ modern travel rods is the equal of any two piece.

Shimano Exage STC 20-30lb class doing it's thing!

Shimano Exage STC 20-30lb class doing it’s thing!

My first choice jigging rod for Norway & Iceland.

My first choice jigging rod for Norway & Iceland.

I always carry a spare rod, but I do this wherever I travel in the world, as I am more concerned about rods getting broken by ‘other means’, rather than big fish. Most good camps in Norway & Iceland will have loaner hire  equipment available on site, and many have a shop selling pretty much all of the tackle you’ll need, certainly lures, line and terminal gear. Local supermarkets or even the petrol station often sell terminal gear, so if you do run short of any items you will be able to replace them easily enough.

Rather than attempt to tell you what you should use, I am going to list everything I take, leaving you to decide what works best for you.

RODS: Shimano Exage STC 20-30lb class Ref: TEXAXBT2030. I have found rods rated 20-30lb are perfect, even for very big cod, as the softer action minimises hooks getting ripped out. Some anglers  prefer 30-50lb rods but as I said, all I am doing here is detailing the tackle I use.

REELS: For many years I used my tried and tested Shimano TLS 20’s and 25’s and these served me very well, the super smooth lever drags are perfect when playing fish with non-stretch braid, and the TLD range are very affordable. On the down side the relatively slow rate of retrieve of these reels make fishing in deep water hard work.

The new Shimano Torium 20HG, an outstanding reel for deep water fishing for big fish.

The new Shimano Torium 20HG, an outstanding reel for deep water fishing for big fish.

Consequently for the past few years I have used my Shimano Torium 16’s and 20’s. and more recently the newer upgraded HG versions of these excellent reels. With a rapid 6.2:1 retrieve they make light work of fishing in deep water, while their superb engineering and very reliable clutch makes them a joy to use.

Saragosa SW5000 fixed spool loaded with PowerPro, an excellent saltwater reel for targeting big fish.

Saragosa SW5000 fixed spool loaded with PowerPro, an excellent saltwater reel for targeting big fish on light tackle.

LURES: From experience I would say you don’t lose too many lures fishing in either Norway or Iceland,  I average perhaps one lost lure per trip. As a result I do not burden myself carrying loads of heavy pirks. I carry two 400g traditional, stainless steel ‘Norway style’ pirks, plus a selection of around half a dozen other pirks ranging from 150-300g. I particularly like those made by Solvroken such as the STING SILDER and perhaps my favourite, the 250g SØLVPILK, especially those in green.

Selection of picks, green Sting Silda on left, classic 400g stainless steel Norway 3rd from left

Selection of picks, green Sting Silda on left, classic 400g stainless steel Norway 3rd from left

You must ensure all hooks you use are strong, from experience I would say most hooks on shop bought pirks here in the UK are not strong enough. The exception being pirks bought in Norway made by Solvroken. Typically when I do change hooks I use quality VMC hooks, invariably increasing a size or two from what is fitted as standard.

I use a lot of rubber shads in Norway, and always carry two or three Storm Wildeye Giant Jigging Shads. These superb lures are 9in long and weigh 13 11/16oz. Each pack comes with one jig head ready rigged with a rubber tail, plus two spares, green and orange are my personal favourites, but they all work and are in my opinion the very best large shads available.

Storm Giant Jigging Shads, proven big fish catchers. Each one tied to 4ft of 200lb mono to serve as rubbing leader

Storm Giant Jigging Shads, proven big fish catchers. Each one tied to 4ft of 200lb mono to serve as rubbing leader

Storm Ultra Shad's, deadly when fished on spinning tackle for specimen coalfish & cod.

Storm Ultra Shad’s, deadly when fished on spinning tackle for specimen coalfish & cod.

30lb+ coalfish caught on a Blue Romance/Saragosa 5000 spin outfit, with a 120g Storm Ultra Shad.

30lb+ coalfish caught on a Blue Romance/Saragosa 5000 spin outfit, with a 120g Storm Ultra Shad.

I also carry a few packs of Storm Ultra Shads in 80g & 120g, which I fish off on a medium size STC spinning rod. My favourite is the Shimano Blue Romance STC Shore Jigging Rod Ref: TBRSJ905080 matched with a Shimano Saragosa 5000 fixed spool loaded with 20-30lbBS braid. On some days when the fish are not aggressively attacking pirks, I have found a slowly worked shad up through the water column can be deadly, especially when the sounder shows fish are hanging at mid water. This technique is by far the most effective for targeting specimen coalfish.

Blue Romance STC spinning rod, Shimano Saragosa 5000 and a Storm Ultra Shad, deadly for big coalfish & cod.

Blue Romance STC spinning rod, Shimano Saragosa 5000 and a Storm Ultra Shad, deadly for big coalfish & cod.

Halibut caught on Storm Giant Jigging Shad

Halibut caught on Storm Giant Jigging Shad

Cod caught on Storm Giant Jigging Shad

Cod caught on Storm Giant Jigging Shad

LINE: My reels are filled to maximum capacity, as this ensures a maximum rate of retrieve and clutch efficiency. As standard I use 20kg, 44lbBS PowerPro. I tie a 20ft 50lbBS monofilament leader to the end of this, I use clear Suffix Zippy. I also carry a spool of 30lb mono for fishing the smaller shads off a flying collar, as mentioned above.

TERMINAL GEAR: My tackle bag has a small Plano tackle box containing a selection of good quality swivels, links, single hooks from 1/0-6/0-for bait fishing, some bait elastic, spare split rings, a couple of beads and booms and two or three plain leads from 6-10oz for fishing those smaller shads. I also carry a filleting knife and a pair of split ring pliers; and tackle wise thats it.

Big cod, small shad. Storm Wildeye Shads fished off a flying collar can be deadly

Big cod, small shad. Storm Wildeye Shads fished off a flying collar can be deadly

Regarding clothing, I take my salopettes, waterproof padded fishing jacket, boat boats, two hats-always have a spare, neoprene gloves and a full set of thermals. Many Norwegian fishing camps have flotation suits for hire, all SHOULD supply life jackets-wear them!

Wear your lifejacket, especially on the small self-drives

Wear your lifejacket, especially on the small self-drives

Cod caught on classic 400g stainless steel Norway pick

Cod caught on classic 400g stainless steel Norway pick

Needless to say on your first trip, like me, you’ll drag along heaps of stuff you don’t use, and just for good measure you’ll probably pay some excess baggage! But by means of a little experiment, when you get home empty your tackle box and make two piles, stuff you used and stuff you didn’t use, I think you’ll be surprised! Then on your second trip, because I assure you, you will go back, you’ll know just what to take.

20 thoughts on “NORWAY/ICELAND TACKLE GUIDE

  1. Mr Lewis,
    My name is John Locker, I won the sea angler yearly prize to Norway with you in 2012. I have been hoping to organise it as a trip for this easter. If I could have a chat with you at some point about what gear and tackle you would recommend for that time of year etc it would be brilliant. Thankyou. John.

    • Hi John

      We are almost ready to confirm dates for the trip, likely the first week of april. I suggest you contact AWH and they will give you the details.

      Looking forward to fishing with you.

      Dave

  2. Hi dave im of to norway for the first time on the 15th of may and i cant wait,ive read ur guide on what to take and have taken this on board. I am staying in skervoy and just wanderd about the plaice fishing here from the beach and if this is posible as never hear much about it, obviously will be on the boat evrey day but wouldent mind somthing diffrent to mix the week up?

    • Hi James

      Thanks for getting in touch, i’m sure you will have a great time. There is good plaice fishing all around the island, the problem you will most likely encounter is the amount of codling and haddock that invariably get to your baits first! Try fishing off the harbour breakwater, short walk from the camp, casting back into the harbour for plaice & dabs. From the boat fishing along the southern shoreline is good, drifting over clean ground. Best bait I’ve used up there is frozen black lug, you’ll have to take your own. Let me know how you get on. All the best. Dave

  3. Thanks Dave top man just 1 last thing so taking bait isent a problam in a cool box and is it worth taking any other baits. I will certinly let u know how we get on. kind regards James

  4. Hi Dave,

    Great advise on boat gear. I was wondering if you have much experience fishing from the shore with lures in Norway? Im going at the end of August to Reksteren and I was wondering what size and type of gear would be best. Any advice would be much appreciated!

    All the best, Andy.

    • Hi Andy

      Thanks for getting in touch. I am not familiar with the camp or area you are visiting, but from previous experience I can confirm lures work well from the shore around all of the Norwegian coastline. In the far north target species are mostly coalfish and cod, while from around Bodo south you can add pollack and mackerel. I use small metal casting jigs from around 20-60g, which cast very well and can be fished effectively in very deep water. Let me know how you get on!

      All best

      dave

  5. Dave

    I am off to Sandland Brygg in 2 weeks.

    Looking at various videos and reading articles on the web you don’t need to go far to catch the fish.

    What is the best method for Wolffish and the Red fish

    • Hi Chris

      To catch wolffish use bait or baited lures over rough ground, especially reefs that are close to shore. Most baits work, but from my experience squid is best. Redfish are mostly caught in deeper water, typically 200m+. A few are occasionally caught in shallower water, but usually the deeper the water the more you’ll catch. Offshore banks and reefs are productive marks.Pirks fished with two or three rubber squids rigged paternoster style above work well, baited or unbaited. Good luck & let me know how you get on.

  6. Hi Dave , this is Grizz Adams – Chris’s dad also going to Sandland. . Can we get squid in Norway ? or would you advise taking a box of frozen calamari with us.- also any other bait. or will we run into problems at the airport.

    • You can buy squid at some locations, usually supermarkets, try emailing the camp to ask. I know many anglers who have taken frozen sea bait to Norway such as squid & black lug, and not experienced any problems. Good luck. Dave

      • Hi. I have only just realised that my reply to many comments on this site have not been forwarded to the correct recipient! I can only apologise for this, and say if you have not received a reply from me please contact me again. Looking forward to hearing from you. Dave try: david.lewis21@hotmail.com

  7. Hi Dave, good blog!
    How does the STC shore jigging rd cope with actual casting under the 50g casting weight?
    I really want something for casting jigs from the shore and mainly in the 20-40g class and was considering the Blue Romance STC Stickbait rod but am concerned the soft tip may not make the pitches right.
    Any info you could provide would be gratefully recieved.

    Regards

    • Hi Lee

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      The Blue Romance STC Shore Jigging rod is rated for casting 50-80g, but as you read I used it with 120g with no issues. Not tried it with lures under 50g but guess it would be ‘OK’ with lures 30-40g. If you specifically want to cast 20-40g you would probably be better off with a rod rated for use in this range, there are many STC rods in the Shimano range, I especially like the BeastMaster models. Let me know how you get on…

      All best

      Dave

  8. Hi Dave
    I have read your article in Sea angler and was hoping you could help me source the orange demon shad at120g and the ayu shad
    I can’t find the correct weight anywhere on line
    Thanks Paul

    • Hi Paul

      The best suggestion I have is to Google these lures & see if you can locate them in the UK, or even Europe. The way the Euro rate is you might get a good deal from another Eurozone country. Good luck, Dave.

    • Hi Dave
      I have read your article in Sea angler and was hoping you could help me source the orange demon shad at120g and the ayu shad
      I can’t find the correct weight anywhere on line
      Thanks Paul

      • Hi. I have only just realised that my reply to many comments on this site have not been forwarded to the correct recipient! I can only apologise for this, and say if you have not received a reply from me please contact me again. Looking forward to hearing from you. Dave try: david.lewis21@hotmail.com

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