Posted on

More Than a Hobby

While now Im sitting in my couch, arm firmly wrapped in after shoulder surgery, I have time to think my salmon fishing career. As many of us maniacs, also I, started on a very young age. I still can remember my first touch to that fish that affected me permanently.

I was in River Teno with older guy from our family. He is a Teno-veteran over more than 50 years and one of the salmon anglers that I respect the most. He still do harling and fly fishing, even though he is 70 years old. Tough guy! Anyway, that time he did harling and we started our first run with three rods, all of them was rigged with traditional Teno flies, in one of the best pools in middle Teno. And it happened right away! Fish on and as I was a rod-guy I had a chance to play with the fish and reel it in. I was so happy when we got it in to the boat and she was laying in bottom of that beautiful wooden floor. It was totally fresh atlantic salmon around five kilos! I still could remember it like a yesterday even it happened 21 years ago, I was thirteen at the time. After that moment I was hooked.


Year after I got my very first salmon rod and reel. I had tied some flies during winter and was ready to go when season started. It was a hell of a job to learn to cast with long, double-handed, rod even though I had fished trout with fly for few years. That big rod had some balls and I loved to cast with it even I was really poor in it. I still love those 15 footers and only use them. I know, it would be maybe easier with shorter and lighter rods but I dont care, 15’s is my thing. Salmon fishing was really hard in those first years, and it still is, but I managed to land few fish. Not big ones but grilses and medium size salmons with my own flies and it was the starting shot to this madness.

Shortly after those very first years I started to fish some other rivers, mainly in Northern Norway and I  was deeply in love to this sport. It felt so special to go fishing trips with older guys, hear them telling tales from the old times and so on. I loved the nature up there and everything involved! In one of those early years I realized that salmon fishing is so much more than catching the fish. The more years have passed since the feeling is strenghtened!

Nowadays, after a long winter that feels longer and longer every year, its so nice to sit on the bank of some great salmon river and only enjoy the summer and relax. Salmon fishing had come more than a hobby, its a passion, a lifestyle! On winter time I spend hundreds of hours in front of my fly tying table, watching old photos and dreaming about summer. When it finally comes and you meet good old friends at the opening of season its like dream come true! Dream that come true every year, its very special.

Over these years I have been so lucky and privileged to fish in some of the best Atlantic salmon rivers in the world. Every of them are great on their own way. One way its refreshing sit on the bank of Royal Dee at beginning of February in middle of snow storm and on the other hand there is some magic those July nights in long river boats in Northern Norway when sun is shining all night long. As much these, I love the excitiment of opening night in River Orkla. Not to mention that feeling of what it is when I sit my own terrace after sauna, beer in my hand and listen and watching when big salmons are coming up in to the Mighty Teno!

This lifestyle have gave me a lot of great friends from different countries and social classes, not forgetting those guys whom I started. Even though it takes a lot of my time and almost all of my money, I wouldnt chance it for anything. By the way, I still fish in The Great Teno, every summer and nowadays I have own little paradise up there. Hopefully that majestetic river will return its former glory with new rules at the near future! Fingers crossed!

River Tay Spring 2010 016 2013-08-06-266 Orkla-Driva-Tana June 2010 091 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Posted on Leave a comment

Not a Smallest Chance

Sometimes when you hook a big Atlantic Salmon you know right a way you gonna have big trouble’s to land it. This happened to me at Alta this season…

I was fishing Elvestrand beat and Gammelplassen pool at best time of year. 10th of July. We had a group of three, Timo the license owner, John Vegar our friend, and me. We have had one round per guy one pool above and I knew it was my time to start when we drove down to Gammelplassen. Water level was 1.5 feet above zero so pretty good to whole Raipas. When boat glided over the pool I wasn’t so sure do we have a good chance here, water seemed to go little bit slow. John Vegar who is local and also guiding a lot in river said that Gammelplassen should work very well at this water level so I didn’t have reason not to believe him. He is usually right when speaking things like this.

I had just rig up new leader, quite a short one from Stroft Gtm 0.50mm and big 15cm Strömsö-tube fly. I was testing my new G Loomis line which have intermediate belly and sink 1 tip. Just a while ago it had worked pretty well in this kind of current. I started to fish from bank just where Gammelplassen starts. Stream isn’t  special in any way here but as many pool in this river, Gammelplassen is famous it’s big salmons.

Right away when I had enough line out I fell pull in my line but couldn’t hook the fish. Next cast and same thing. I was thinking what a hell! I test my brand new VMC-treble hook and it was razor-sharp. Hmmm.. Its only me fishing this pool and boys are enjoying their beers so I gonna take two steps upstream and try one more cast I was thinking. Next cast gave me small pull in same place, like a grayling but I release my loop and fish was on! And not a grayling! JIIIHAA!!!

Right a way fish took 20-30 metres long run to upstream and jump. Oh f… it was huge! Over 15, probably +-20 kilos and fresh straight from Alta fjord! It stopped and in same second I understood what gonna happen next. It will go to where it came from, to Arctic Ocean. And poor me, I was right. I tighten up my drag from K Rowland reel, which have very powerful cork drag, but salmon took longest run what I have ever seen. When I understood it will take all my lines I tightened drag one more time. Now I was able to give really hard pressure to that fish. But nothing happened it just swam downstream like a crazy and I was running after. I shouted to John Vegar that we have to follow it with the boat. He was ready and engine was running so it was all up to me was I able to run fast enough to the boat and have a chance to follow this monster. When I was close at boat John Vegar shouted to me: “ There is big tree in the water, don’t let salmon go there!” I was only thinking, what can I do if salmon want to swim to that tree. In this point it had 200-250m line out so I knew I don’t have any control to it.

So I ran and ran and swam a little bit between, heh heh, 100m distance to boat felt like a kilometer. When I was next to boat and ready to jump in I felt that which I was waited last minutes, everything was over. Nothing special happened, hook just went off. I was mad to myself when I was reeling in my running lines and backings. Second year in a row when I hook fish probably close to 20kg and lost it. But to be honest this time I wasn’t even close to land it. Salmon was driver and I was passenger.

As this short film from Timo Maunumäki shows, salmon fishing  is all about feelings. Joy, happiness, excitement and much more, sometime despair and sadness, hah hah. Now when Im writing this I can think back those nice moments at that sunny day with smile in my face. Alta gave some consolation prize’s to all of us later that night so have to be happy to that… This time 😉