Steve Souter's Iceland Report

Steve with a wolf fish from the West Fjords region of Iceland.

The week began with a short internal flight to Isafjordur in the remote West Fjords region, followed by a short 15-minute journey on by road to our accommodation and fishing base at Sudavik. We had the use of a pair of Somi self drive boats and were provided with some fabulous expert help to pinpoint various hot fishing marks. Our German guide Matthias (or big schnitzel as he was christened for some odd reason) has fished this area of Iceland for many years and now works the whole summer season as a dedicated guide.
Previous experience told us that the local waters were wall-to-wall with cod of middleweight proportions. But, much as we enjoy filling up on cod, our main boat target was to catch good numbers of Steinbeissers or wolf fish/sea catfish. Matthias duly delivered, putting us on good numbers of these ugly-angry-dangerous beasties from the off. We did, of course, still catch endless cod, but enjoyed two full days of wolf fish madness. Best baits were squid presented on simple but heavy-duty two-hook paternoster rigs. Best wolf went 16 lb but we had loads in the typical 8 – 12 lb range. We also learned several important things about catching these bullish fish, which will be elaborated on in follow-up features. A short flight back to Reykjavik then soon saw all of us jammed into a minibus and back on the move for a seven-hour cross country road-trip to the Akureyri region in the north of the country, where we knew the shore fishing was excellent to the point of it being quite ridiculous. The drive might sound tedious… it was anything but. Spectacular mountain and coastal scenery, cutting across the lava-fields, views of spectacular waterfalls, rivers and wild countryside, will live forever in the memory… a truly uplifting, inspirational and unforgettable part of the trip through Iceland’s very heart.
After arriving safe and sound, our first day’s shore fishing saw us on a non-descript pier. But appearances really can pull the wool over one’s eyes, as the fishing was simply unbelievable. I’ll go as far as to say that it would be impossible to blank on this venue and probably just about everywhere else in Iceland. Multiple dab and codling mixtures came out cast after cast. I had never seen a dab over 2 lb, but that all changed as there was no end to the things on this venue. Cod to 5 lb and 2 lb dabs were truly ten-a-penny. More than once a three-hook rig returned three dabs for a weight in excess of 6 lb!!! My biggest dab flitted close to 2 lb 7 oz.
The next day we shot a film on a shingle beach, which quickly sloped away into 70 metres of water. We caught wolf fish, cod, dabs and plaice at all ranges. You might think you need fancy kit to plug into this kind of action, but that’s just not the case. Dave was hauling fish out on a boat rod and boat reel! Next we moved to another pier in the Dalvik area and bagged silly numbers of dabs and codling. One of our hosts, Peter Thain bagged a pile of good coalfish on the fly from here too. Watch out for this film on the ‘Tight Lines’ programme on SKY later in the year.
After another memorable drive back through the middle of Iceland the film crew departed for London, and those of us remaining went bait digging and then rock fishing close to the town of Keflavik. The plan here was to catch wolf fish and haddock from the shore… and boy did we. I should really say ‘they’ as I was confined to camera duty, which turned out to be hard work given the non-stop rain and brutally grey skies. Dave, Tony and Steve Mason caught some cracking wolfs, and Tony added a bonus lemon sole. Watch out for expansive shore features soon on Planet Sea Fishing Magazine and in Sea Angler.
The first in a series of four Icelandic sea fishing films will be screened on SKY SPORTS on the evening of Friday the 13th of June when a certain someone will also be the studio guest.