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 😉