May 1, 2016.
Oh, stormy sunsets ’n silver.
When seawater temperature gets colder, sea run brown trouts are getting closer to the shore. In Finland that happens usually around november or a little before. Another season starts in may when flat, sandy banks start to warm up. Those are the times when you can try catching them on a fly from the shores.
In november I took a trip with my friends to a small island between Finland and Åland. It is and island surrounded by long rocky shores and shallow sandy bays which both are great feeding habitats for sea trouts. This island is also an important resting and nesting place for many migrating birds. There are few cabins on the island but they are usually booked for bird watchers all year around. We managed to book one cabin for us for the weekend, and after busy week of fly tying, we were on the ferry on our way to the island.
We arrived to the cabin at noon and blew up our stuff around our rooms. Guys were wondering if beer was as good as it was before (it was) and had some difficulties to find all their gear. Sun was going to get down already in few hours, so I took a walk alone to the other side of the island.
After a while of walking, I found a place where I had been before and seen some fish. There is a rocky shore where rocks are also out at the sea. There was not much wind, only slow, lovely rollers breaking against these rocks. I had mostly used very small 6-10 size flies for seatrout before. Now I tied a big cerise bucktail flatwing to the end of the leader and a very small copper mysis to the side leader.
Rocks formed a small bay-shape in front of me. There was a bit deeper in the middle of the ”bay”. I made my first casts and moved step by step towards the deeper spot. Water was very clear and there was lots of kelp moving seductively back and forth with the waves. I had made maybe eight casts when I made a longer one above the deep spot. First fast stripping and something pulled lines off my hands and made a big whirl in the surface! I took the line quickly from the water and made a strike but there was too much loose line to hook this one. I took the line in as fast as I can and made a new cast… Nothing. I used a bit bad language and made a new cast 5 meters aside. One strip and BANG this fish was on and jumped immediately. I guess it was more in the air than in the water during the fight. A very nice 59 centimeter sea run brown trout swam in to my net and was released after quick admiring.
That was my first sea trout I managed to catch in Finland. I sat down in the sun and my hands were shaking. I made a call to the others and they rushed to the shore from the cabin. After celebrating, few cigars and beers, we went back wading and fishing the shallow area next to that deep spot. There was maybe knee deep water next to the rocks where I made my fifth cast. Few strips and BAM again, shiny silver torpedo was on and acted at least as furious as the other one. This fight was a bit longer but after that I lifted a beautiful 61 centimeter trout from the net for the photo and let it go. I can’t remember much but my cerice flatwing was devastated and I just laid on my back in the sunset and thought that this weekend was already saved. I just enjoyed.
Next day a huge storm came from the west. We tried to fish persistently but the weather was too much. We could cast only one direction while the waves rolled over our shoulders and it poured at the same time. Next three days we spent celebrating these two fish, wondering the weather and exploring different kind of liquors at the cabin. (I caught also a terrible hung over from that island.)
Sea trout has been almost gone from the shores of Finland and few years back it was a unicorn-like myth for me. However, last years people have been catching trouts more and more from the coast of Finland and the the average size has been also risen. Even the direction is good, sea trout in Finland is still very endangered. We hope from all our hearts that this good direction won’t change. Please release all the finned ones.
Written by Mikko Kytökorpi.