Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

What could we learn from the Scandinavian anglers who fish in saltwater for sea trout?

I wonder how many shore based lure anglers who fish for bass over mainly shallow ground are aware that in many parts of Scandinavia they are also fishing in similar ways - but they are targeting sea trout, indeed I think it’s fair to say that this style of shore fishing is a kind of religion in the right areas. Sounds a bit like bass fishing doesn’t it? Now it’s not as if I am massively up on this style of sea trout fishing - and of course they do a lot of it over in Ireland for example - but I have been aware of it for a long time now and it’s on my bucket list of shore based lure fishing to go and do…………….

I am pretty sure this is the only sea trout I have ever seen actually landed from the shore - so far……….

I am pretty sure this is the only sea trout I have ever seen actually landed from the shore - so far……….

And earlier this week I spent a bit of time with a fascinating angler from Scandinavia, and we obviously got onto the subject of how a lot of the sort of ground he is fishing over is remarkably similar to what I look for here in the UK and Ireland when targeting bass. Sea trout are sometimes referred to as the “fish of a 1000 casts” by anglers who target the big ones especially in saltwater, and a lot of the line-through lure concepts I believe were developed to try and keep more of these stunning fish successfully hooked up.

Anyway, so a lot of the Scandinavian sea trout fishing with lures and indeed fly gear from the shore is based around trying to cover as much often shallow, snaggy ground as possible. It is a bit of a generalisation, but a lot of their lures are either metals or something similar that are designed to cast well, cover a lot of water, and imitate similar prey species to what our own bass might eat. They need these lures to swim nice and shallow, often on a fast retrieve, and I am sure that plenty of bass anglers are already chucking various lures around that were indeed designed for sea trout fishing.


Like the Savage Gear Seeker which I have really switched onto over the last couple of years as a killer metal for surf based bass fishing (I have been assured that at some point we will get the 28g and 32g versions back on the market). I tend to fish a lure like this by doing little more than whacking it out and winding it back in at whatever speed I feel best suits the conditions, but were you aware of what the Scandinavian sea trout anglers call the “spin-stop”? It’s a big, big thing in sea trout fishing, and with a lure like the Savage Gear Seeker, ABU Toby and Kilty Catcher and so on, all you do is put say four turns on the reel handle, stop the lure dead on a tight line for a second or two or however long you can get away with as regards the water depth, and then retrieve again - and repeat and repeat. They so often get hit by sea trout just when you start to wind the lure in again. Stopping these kinds of metals dead and on a tight line allows them to flutter and shimmer away from you on the drop - a bit like a simpler, shallower version of how these technical slow-jigs fish that I can’t get on with when it’s windy?

And then I was shown a lure called the Savage Gear 3D Horny Herring, something I had never seen before but holy frigging cow these things look bloody nice in the water on a slowish straight retrieve - and by all means put a spin-stop on them as well. There are most likely plenty of other sea trout lures similar to this Horny Herring, but I haven’t gone looking yet, and the bloke I was talking to happened to have these particular ones in his lure box. There are two sizes of these lures - 100mm/23g and 80mm/13g - and they both cast really well and swim nice and shallow with the most stunning bit of action via nothing more than a straight retrieve. I also like that they are not remotely expensive and they obviously look like a few different baitfish that our bass like to eat - herring, pollack, mullet, blennies etc.


One trick I was shown with these Horny Herring lures is that for extra distance and to get them swimming even shallower, rig them backwards as per the photo above - notice that the sea trout anglers tend to like two split rings because the theory goes that it means the fish can get less leverage on the hook and stay hooked up more often. Sea trout are known for their acrobatics and throwing hooks!


I so love stumbling on simple looking lures that don’t cost much, and I am absolutely fascinated to see how these things might work for our bass. I went out at first light this morning because I wanted to take a bit of a punt on a new spot, and whilst I was essentially dead in the water with the amount of weed around, the only sign of life was when a great big bow-wave came right up behind the smaller 80mm/13g 3D Horny Herring and chased it down almost to my feet. The bloody bass turned away at the last moment and I found a frigging bit of green weed on the treble hook which I assume prevented the bass from actually hitting the lure, but that was my first ever go with this thing. You all have a good weekend, and may your brain be bouncing as much as mine currently is with stuff like this………………...

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