Shore Fishing Adventure in Northern Iceland

After two years of waiting I finally managed to organise five days shore fishing in the untapped waters of Dalvik way up in the north of Iceland. Here commercial fishing pressure is minimal and sea fish stocks are at levels most Europeans and British anglers can only dream of.

Every small port in the area has at least one built pier and these offer convenient but productive platforms to fish from. You can even fish with the car right behind you!

I set up with a Penn 525 reel loaded with 20lb line straight through and a 60lb shock leader. I decided to have two rigs ready and swap between the two. The first rig a simple three-hook flapper with size 1/0 Aberdeen hooks on for small baits, also a pulley rig with twin 4/0 hooks built Pennel style to take much bigger single baits.

Lugworm can be dug easily here, plus sand clam and huge mussels which all make good bait. However a commercial long-line bait called Bluey, this being an imported Saury fish from the Far East with a massive oil content, proves the real fish taker and will usually pick out the bigger fish.

Even though the piers drop instantly in to deep water it pays to experiment when casting out. Imagine you have a half circle shape in front of you. First cast left starting out at long range then dropping shorter to medium range. Do this gradually working across the whole half circle shape left to right until you’ve covered the whole ground in front of you, and also try casting short too. In this way you will identify little areas of rough ground, muddy bits, weed beds and other features that will hold fish. Inevitably you’ll find one or two small patches of ground that produce far more fish than all the other areas put together.

All the piers I fished produced incredible fishing. The biggest cod I had weighed 11lbs and was taken predictably on a big bluey bait, but there are much bigger ones waiting to be caught. The cod were averaging 5lbs plus with triple shots of cod common. Big dabs would often break up the triple shots and these were weighed to 2lb 2ozs, but again these can go much bigger. Triple shots of dabs were also a regular occurrence.

One pier in Olafsfjordur was haddock heaven. In six casts I recorded haddock of 4lb 6ozs, two of 4lb 9ozs, 4lb 11ozs and 4lb 15ozs breaking my PB four times in a row. I also landed a cod 8lbs 2ozs and a dab of 1lb 13ozs. The same pier also saw me catch a rare off the shore Long Rough Dab weighing 1lb 6ozs, my first ever!

To give you some idea of the quality of the fishing on one pier I was averaging 35 to 40lbs of fish per hour fishing just one rod. One single cast with a three-hook flapper rig produced a cod of 5lb 8ozs, a haddock of 4lbs 9ozs and a dab of 1lb 9ozs. Over 11lbs of fish caught on a single cast and three different species! The best cod I caught was 11lbs, but there are much bigger fish here early and late in the summer and especially through the autumn and spring.

There are also big coalfish and I took a SALT 10-Weight fly rod with me and a very fast sink line to target these. The knack is to cast as far as you can, then release free line in to the water to get the fly right down on the seabed. As you retrieve this brings the fly up at a shallow angler initially and this presentation will produce first cod as the fly lifts up off the seabed, then higher in the water (if the fly gets that far) big coalfish. The best cod on the fly was 3lbs and the best coalies a whopping 5lb 13ozs which took over 8 minutes to beat.

Without doubt fishing Dalvik in Northern Iceland is one of the most memorable shore fishing experiences I’ve ever had and the scenery you’re fishing amongst is incredible. I aim to go back there at the earliest opportunity!

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