Published Jun 12. 1995 - 20 years ago

One summer night

Saturday evening was as Saturday evenings often are in the summer: kids playing outside, tidying the kitchen, having a cup of coffee and just looking out the window. Outside my kitchen window, I can see my 'wind tree'. My guess is that all Danish coast fishermen have a wind tree or something like it: a flag, a chimney -- something to judge the wind from. Force and direction.

Date: Mon, 12 Jun 1995 10:50:10 +0100 (MET)
Hi fellow listers,
Just a small report from the warm Danish summer night.

My wind tree

Saturday evening was as saturday evenings often are in the summer: kids playing outside, tidying the kitchen, having a cup of coffee and just looking out the window. Outside my kitchen window, I can see my 'wind tree'. My guess is that all Danish coast fishermen have a wind tree or something like it: a flag, a chimney -- something to judge the wind from. Force and direction.

"Go fishing, Martin"

My wind tree talked to me. Every leaf said "Go fishing, Martin. Nights don't get better than this". And the tree was right. Nights don't get better than this: sun is setting from a clear sky, a light southern breeze, no work getting up to in the morning. No, nights definitely don't get better than this.

Better go alone

Within half an hour everything was set: wife and kids okayed it and the gear was packed. I would go alone. I fish regularly with two different friends, but none of them could make it on such short notice. Well, better go alone than not at all.

Smooth as a mirror

I headed north. A light wind from the south will render the north coast water smooth as a mirror. Almost ideal for a flyrod at night. West coast would be better, but it's also a much longer ride. I chose a piece of coast that I know very well and that reads 'night fishing' when you look at it.
Deep water close to the shore, fair current, sandy bottom with lots of rocks and weed and a stony beach which even has some big piles of rock to secure the sand from being swept away by the current.

A hookup

I unpack my 9.5' 7 wt. and put on a fairly short leader. Fish don't spook and it's much easier to handle in the dark. Right now it's light as day, even though it's 9 o'clock. I start fishing a bit I know very well, and within a few casts I have a hookup. This is anticipated, and as expected it's no sea trout, but a small cod. The near shore water is filled with these fish: cod the size of a hand, some even smaller and a few up to 2 lb or more.

A bit of size

This is typical for the early summer season. These small fish are so numerous, that not hooking one can be a problem. It can be fun if they have a bit of size, though, and I use them as an indicator. If they take the fly, so will a sea trout.

There's trout around

And there is trout around. I see a couple leaping out of the water further out, and a guy who's heading home, tells me that he saw one out of the water quite close. He's the only person I see all night. Apart from him, I'm completely alone and when I come he leaves. I wonder why? The fishing starts now...

A shelter

Well, I concentrate, cast, move around a bit, but keep close to a big pile of rocks that form a shelter from the light current. There's deep water right in front of the rocks, and this place has been known to produce nice fish.

Loud 'plops'

I still get a lot of cod. They take any fly, but even so they seem to prefer a small tan muddler with black Arctic fox wing and two straws of flash as a tail. I stick to that one. The cod, how ever small, strike with a loud 'plop' as they break the surface. All around me the cod are working. No minute passes without several plops. I debarb the hook, because unhooking all these fish becomes harder as dark falls.

After midnight

The sun is long gone and it's after midnight. Still light is good. No longer sufficient to tie on a fly, but all enough to see the water and the rings. Suddenly the plopping stops. This can be a good sign or a bad sign. Either there is trout around or the conditions have changed in a negative way: too little light, current has turned or the like. No matter what I fish on, and concentrate on my little hole.

An 'uncodly' pull

The next fish doesn't take with a plop. It breaks the surface, but leaves a small eddy in stead of a ring. I set the hook, and is promptly awarded by a very 'uncodly' pull. A cod will normally shake it's head and seek down, this fish runs and stays in the surface. It's a trout, and even though it's not a big one, my system is already on full alert. I try to feel the fish: What size? A jumper? How is the hook set? In the dark every signal that goes through the rod has to be used. The fish rarely shows itself before it's
quite close.

Well hooked

The fish seems well hooked, and draws a bit of line out through my fingers. I press it and it runs outwards. I start spooling the loose line on the reel letting up the pressure a bit, and the fish decides that this makes for a change. It turns around and heads towards the shallower water... and me!

Strength to run

I stop spooling and retrieve line like h... in order to keep the hook set and have control. The fish comes closer and I lower my rod to one side and try to force the fish to change direction. It does. When it sees me it takes two frightful jumps out of the water and starts going right and left in front of me constantly pulling the line. I regain the last bit of loose line, and now have the fish on the reel. I try to get it closer, but it still has strength to run, and makes a couple of short but fierce bursts.

Bring in the net

It's tired now. I lift the rod to test it and start getting my net ready. The net is in the water beside me as the fish turns over on its side and slides toward me in the surface. I bring the net forwards and lift the fish out of the water. It's a nice, but small sea trout. Just over 2 lb. as expected. It's perfectly hooked in the corner of the mouth and even though the hook is debarbed I have to use my forceps to loosen it. The first night trout of the season regains its freedom and seeks out.

One more

The night brings one more trout of the same size and a lot more cod. I finish at 1:30 and head home. The first night trip of the season.
From now on it gets better every day... or rather night. I'm high on the feeling.

Martin

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