It’s cold. I’m wet. My fingers are numb. This is kak.

Day 6 in the upper Gaula without a touch. And it’s rained every day. A lot. This is salmon fishing. Why? Why is this the best thing I can do with my time? Why do I neglect my friends, my partner and other responsibilities to do this? Why is it one of my girlfriends says she hasn’t seen her husband in 15 days since the season opened on the 1st of June. I know my waders don’t leak, but my skin is essentially the same temperature as the 11-degree brandy stained water around me – you really have to enjoy suffering for this kind of fishing.

I also came in a bit hot. Having not cast a 15ft “zweihander” rod with a 650gr shooting head and a heavy tube properly in almost 2 years, it took a few sessions and many, many swear words later to get the cast back in (update: I am a casting weapon after a week back on the river). For those of you that don’t know, I’m guiding for Atlantic Salmon on the Gaula in Norway for Norwegian Flyfishers Club this year after I made it out of the quarantine hotel alive a few days ago. I’m a free man in Norway. Even though I’m casting like a total cheese, I know it will get better.

I’m fishing a prime pool on some of our upper water, the water level is 95-105m3 and the current after the tail out of another pool is very strong. There’s always that trade-off when wading deep, strong water of how far to go vs casting distance, the deeper you are, the harder casting gets. Me? I’m an idiot. A cognitive imbecile that goes 110% in. So well over belly button deep. There is always the inherent risk of taking a dip too.

Halfway through the pool. It’s unmistakable. Just one, solid pull on the loop of running line in between my fingers. Halfway through the swing, cheeky bugger.

Keep it cool and drop the loop Schwerdtfeger. I know this part, this is where it can all go pear-shaped. I drop the loop. The loop goes taught and a few more pulls on the reel. He knows now, he’s hooked. I raise the tip slightly, some line peels. I raise the rod completely. SET. Go baby! My 20m of green running line disappear very quickly. Then some backing. Then a bit more backing. This is a nice fish. And more importantly, a fish at all.

I’ll spare you the war story of the fight. It was good, a few runs and 15-20 mins later I had the fish in hand. Popped the perfectly in the scissors hook placement out, and boom. Cheer fish. And he goes home to harass some pretty Norwegian female salmon upriver.

Things have gotten better.



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