There’s plenty of fish in the sea

I wanted to go fishing and made the estimation that it wasn’t that far to cycle to a good spot along the west coast. I packed minimal gear in my rucksack, warm clothes, a package of yoghurt (at this point my stomach was not in the most balanced condition) and I was off.

The eastern wind was pushing me and my bike westward towards the ocean with such speed that it felt like flying. The asphalt road beneath me was lined with rape fields that seduced me with their sweet smell, birds were chirping all around and the blue sky seemed never-ending.

After some borrowed smartphone magic, exploration (read wrong turns) and some more helpful people I shifted my direction towards Vikhög, an old fishing village in the middle between Malmö and Landskrona. I doubt there are many fishermen living there in these days though. The fancy houses speak of the social change that has swept throughout many (if not most) of the smaller fishing communities along the Swedish coasts.

I started exploring the coastline and discovered the ruins of and old pier which consisted of six concrete pillars standing in the ocean. Standing on top of these would not only give me the advantage of fishing in the deeper water, but also this side of the cove was sheltered from the wind. I waded out.

deserted-pier

After a short walk in the surprisingly “warm” water I climbed on to the fourth pillar and started casting. It was still very windy but again I had it in my back which actually created perfect casting conditions. There was a special fish that I was after. The Garfish (Belone belone), which migrates past the west coast every year around May. It didn’t take long for me to fall into a trance of casting and philosophizing. I had nothing with me to keep the time, and I think that made all the difference.

While the wind was beating my back, the sun warmed me from above. Once every know and then I heard the cry of a male pheasant, reminding me of the solid land that still lied behind me. After an hour of casting I still hadn’t seen any signs of fish and I started to get more interested in the windsurfers who cruised the cove than the fly I was retrieving.
Then it striked!

It’s silver-coloured body was dancing across the surface of the water and I did my best not to let my line slack. After a short but intensive fight I threw my rod in the ocean and grabbed the line with my hands and started pulling it toward me. Soon I held it in my hands and I killed it with a swift breaking of its neck. I filled a plastic bag with seawater and put the fish there to keep cold. I so eagerly continued fishing that I forgot to take a picture of it. This is what they look like.

fishing-rod

This strong wish to get another fish left me fishless from that moment and on. I did spot some fish spawning (it looks as if a small spot of the surface of the water is boiling) which helped me with my motivation. I don’t know for how long I stood there. Hours. I had some fish that bit my fly but unhooked themselves quickly. At one point I felt so hungry and then decided to go home. I had kept my eye on the windsurfers and was hoping I might be able to score a ride home with them. I was tired and wasn’t to thrilled about biking home twenty kilometres against the wind. When I turned to jump down from the pillar I saw them leave in their van. “Oh well”, I thought.

I made peace with the idea of cycling and I told myself that if I took it slow and steady It surely wouldn’t be to hard. I was packing up my fishing gear next to my bike when I was approached by a young man with a cap, Ray Ban’s and a thick, well kept red beard.

“Did you get anything?”, he asked me.

I told him about my day and where I had stood fishing. He had been on the other side of the cape and hadn’t caught anything. We spoke for a while and when he was leaving I asked him where he lived.

“In Lund”, he answered.
“Do you have room for a bike?”
“That should be possible”.

We loaded up my bike and made sure that my fish bag wouldn’t leak any smelly water in his car, and then we took off. We spoke about our day, about myths about the Garfish, about fishing in general. Although I’m not a fishing nut I really enjoyed the conversation. Sooner than I knew it we were back in Lund where I told him how grateful I was for the ride. I asked him for his name, and he told me it was Joakim. Then we went separate ways.

When home I stumbled in to a barbecue and after having a hamburger I proceeded to prepare the fish. With the help from my girlfriend, and after almost setting our wooden deck on fire, I had the fish gutted and cut in my small smoke-box and cooking. It tasted excellent.

smokersmoked-garfish

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